Within a day of his triumphant trouncing of Sen. John McCain, President-elect Barack Obama has already chosen a congressman as his chief of staff, a man who is very closely tied to Hollywood, Associated Press reported.
Obama picked Illinois Congressman Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) to head up his White House Office. As of Wednesday evening, Emanuel had not accepted the offer, but Washington pundits were clearly convinced he would.
Emanuel happens to be the brother of Hollywood agent Ari Emanuel, who is a partner in the Endeavor Agency and handles some of Hollywood’s biggest stars. Ari is also the model for the unctuous agent on “Entourage” Ari Gold.
That particular choice may be Obama’s strongest link to Hollywood and showbiz types. Unlike former President Bill Clinton — who had dear friends who were producers and Hollywood insiders in Harry and Linda Bloodworth Thomason — Obama clearly has no link to show business.
Agent Ari Emanuel had no comment on his brother’s good fortune.
With hundreds of jobs to fill and only 10 weeks until Inauguration Day, Obama and his transition team confronted a formidable task complicated by his anti-lobbyist campaign rhetoric.
The official campaign Web Site said no political appointees would be permitted to work on “regulations or contracts directly and substantially related to their prior employer for two years. And no political appointee will be able to lobby the executive branch after leaving government service during the remainder of the administration.”
But almost exactly one year ago, on Nov. 3, 2007, candidate Obama went considerably further than that while campaigning in South Carolina. “I don’t take a dime of their money, and when I am president, they won’t find a job in my White House,” he said of lobbyists at the time.
Because they often have prior experience in government or politics, lobbyists figure as potential appointees for presidents of both parties.
On the morning after making history, the man elected the first black president had breakfast with his wife and two daughters at their Chicago home, went to a nearby gym and visited his downtown offices.
Aides said he planned no public appearances until later in the week, when he has promised to hold a news conference.