August 11th, 2009
10:33 AM ET

Rahm Emanuel shows his softer side

[cnn-photo-caption image="http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/03/24/lkl.emanuel/art.rahm.emanuel.afp.gi.jpg" Caption="White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel doesn't often show his softer side."]

Greg Clary

"I could tell you but then I'd have to kill you," White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel once told a CNN producer when asked about potential Executive Orders. He is a person most are not likely to envision reading to kids sitting on bean bags but that's exactly what "Rahm-bo" did Monday in Washington.

Emanuel took part in the Department of Education's summer reading initiative, "Read to the Top," an effort by the government to keep kids reading when school is on break. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Melody Barnes, director of the White House Domestic Policy Council joined Emanuel outside to read to elementary students from D.C.

Emanuel read, "Duck for President," by Doreen Cronin, a story about a farm duck who runs for farmer, governor, and then eventually President. In the tale, the Duck noticed all the farm animals registering to vote in the barn, to which Emanuel quipped, "It's obviously not in Chicago."

The Duck is victorious in his first election and Emanuel figures he has to make tough choices.

"Biggest decision? What do you think he has to make?" Emanuel asked the students. "Picking that Chief of Staff is tough, man. That is a tough decision, lots of choices. You can go real wrong and then it's just uphill after that."

Known more for shoving elbows with lawmakers than showing his softer side, Emanuel clearly felt a bit out of his element.

"How am I doing at reading here? It's hard man. This reading is hard work," he said as he accidentally skipped a page. Emanuel seemed to benefit from the reading in the end, saying he could learn a lesson or two from the Duck's campaign strategy.

"I'm going to have to bring this back to the White House," he said. "Is that ok with you guys?"

Filed under: 360° Radar
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Joe G. (Illinois)

    Self-gratification in Obama’s administration is to read children, just the same as to giving out “Free" $4,500 vouchers for Clunkers, or never renouncing the deeds of ACORN while at the same time shunning away from the true unadulterated voices of the common people at the Town Hall Meetings.

    August 11, 2009 at 2:10 pm |
  2. Aaron

    This just BEGS for an SNL skit. Duck from Chicago registering farm animals to vote via social media. And it's about time that the farm got universal vet coverage.
    It's a shame someone registered the horse to vote. He's got his own stall and his own vet. If only he could only see that having his own vet care is actually hurting him and everyone else...
    Does anyone smell something fishy?

    August 11, 2009 at 1:55 pm |
  3. Mike in NYC

    His "softer" side got more than enough exposure back in his ballet days.

    August 11, 2009 at 1:38 pm |
  4. JC- Los Angeles

    Rahm Emanuel, like his entertainment hack brother, is simply a connected Jewish guy who can raise cash at the drop of a hat from pro-Israel democratic backers.

    The problem for President Obama is that the deep pocketed, pro-Israel contingent wants pay back while Obama needs peace.

    Unless President Obama can placate the likes of Rahm and his separatist colleagues, he might be one and done like Carter.

    August 11, 2009 at 1:07 pm |
  5. Gilby-HI

    This administration has turned into a a very bad "B" movie. This conversation, I believe is the lowest level that Washington DC has ever gone. Both Nixon and Carter where like royalty compared to these low life bottom feeders.

    August 11, 2009 at 1:00 pm |
  6. Donna Wood, Lil' Tennessee

    Now that's cute! And yes, reading does make for a better human being. So Rahm Emanuel makes an effort. That's good. Of course Mr. Emanuel has a job where having or even showing a "softer" side might not be in anyone's best interest. His job is tough and demanding so it's good to know that the man can be very tough and demanding. I believe his job description demands that does it not?

    Donna Wood
    Lexington, Tennessee

    August 11, 2009 at 12:12 pm |
  7. Don, OH

    He never fails to put a smile on my face. Oh, that 9.5-fingered Rahm Emanuel. I'm always up to read a blog post on the guy! Mostly because I feel like his enemies, if they were Star Trek (:Wrath of Khan) fans, would clench their fists angrily and shout, "RAAAAAAHM" whenever he did something amazing.

    August 11, 2009 at 12:12 pm |
  8. Michelle, CT

    Oh I've read this book. It's horrible! Duck runs for farmer, gets bored, and runs for higher office. The pattern continues until he's finally president. Then he gets bored and quits! Finally power hungry duck goes back to the farm...only coming out for his book tour.

    August 11, 2009 at 12:09 pm |
  9. earle,florida

    Mr. Emanuel is a strict zionist Ashkenazi Jew that believes Israel is entitled to whatever land-grab the Isralites can muster against the neighboring Palestinian's. Sorry,but the man isn't fit to serve as the President's personal advisor for his mind is predjudiced to the country of his ancestors. I don't care for his high-strung political antics,which bt the way, are very similar to Mr. Cheney's,...!

    August 11, 2009 at 11:46 am |
  10. lisa

    I love that man. He takes no stuff from no one. Thats why the President picked him.

    August 11, 2009 at 11:35 am |
  11. Karen Gerbig

    This reminds me of a Spencer Tracey/Katherine Hepburn comedy from the 40's. I think it was called "Woman of the Year" and was about image shapers.

    August 11, 2009 at 11:29 am |
  12. meenas17

    Reading does lot of wonders. It makes you mature.It makes you patient. it converts you into a full fledged human. -Compassionate, practical and mature.

    August 11, 2009 at 10:45 am |
  13. Enough

    Oh.......this ought to be good. What could this man possibly have to say that anyone would or should ever listen to?

    August 11, 2009 at 10:41 am |