Sunday, January 25, 2009

Emanuel treats Obama as his Younger Brother

(iht).Earlier this month, Barack Obama was meeting with the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, and other lawmakers when Rahm Emanuel, his chief of staff, began nervously cracking a knuckle.

Obama then turned to complain to Emanuel about his noisy habit.

At which point, Emanuel held the offending knuckle up to Obama's left ear and, like an annoying little brother, snapped off a few special cracks.

The episode, relayed by someone familiar with the incident, underscores some essential truths about Emanuel: He is brash, has a deep comfort level with his new boss and has been ever-present at Obama's side of late, in meetings, on podia and in numerous photographs.

There he was, standing at Obama's desk in one of the first Oval Office pictures; there he was again, playfully thumbing his nose at his former House colleagues during the inauguration; there he was, accompanying the president to a meeting with congressional leaders on Friday.

Rasmussen poll:President Obama earns strong approval rating less then half of the nation

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Approval Index for Sunday shows that 42% of the nation’s voters now Strongly Approve of the way that Obama is performing as President. While that’s down a few points from a spike surrounding his inauguration, it is consistent with the level of strong support the President has enjoyed almost every single day since his electoral victory in November.

At the same time, the President’s negatives have risen a bit since he assumed office and 20% now Strongly Disapprove of his performance. The higher negatives give Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of +22, his lowest rating as President or President-elect since Thanksgiving.

Not surprisingly, partisan and ideological divides remain clear when it comes to evaluating the President. The number of political conservatives who Strongly Disapprove of Obama’s performance has increased from 29% on the morning of Inauguration Day to 38% today. Only 17% of conservatives Strongly Approve.

At the other extreme, 79% of liberal voters Strongly Approve of Obama’s performance to date while just 5% Strongly Disapprove.

Overall, 60% of all voters somewhat or strongly approve of Obama’s performance so far while 36% disapprove.

New N.Y. Senator Puts President Obama On Hold

Gov. Paterson's Choice Opts To Finish Remarks Before Leaving Podium To Talk To New Commander-In-Chief

After months of public and private dithering and a very public dis of Caroline Kennedy, New York Gov. David Paterson named Hudson County Congresswoman Kirsten Gillibrand to replace Hillary Clinton in the U.S. Senate.

Gillibrand, a relatively unknown, is 42 and the mother of two. She was surrounded by political poobahs from around the state, including Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi, he himself a contender for the job, and Congressmen Gary Ackerman and Nita Lowey. She vowed to work hard to let New Yorkers get to know her.

"For many New Yorkers, this is the first time you've heard my name, and you don't know much about me," Gillibrand said. "Over the next two years you will get to know me, but much more importantly I will get to know you."

There were some high points -- President Barack Obama called in the middle of Gillibrand's speech.

Gillibrand finished her remarks before she went to the side of the stage to take the call.

"He said, 'I look forward to working with you,'" Gillibrand said.