Friday, December 12, 2008

Emanuel Stiffs Reporters: Dead Fish on the Way

Some people just say “no comment,” but President-elect Obama’s chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, is a little more inventive than that.

Staff reporters for the Chicago Sun Times, a pesky lot, caught up with Emanuel recently to ask him whether he was the Obama “advisor” named in the criminal complaint against Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

Blagojevich himself once used a higher-up contact at the paper – not named in prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald’s complaint – to try to ward off pesky reporters from the Sun Times. Here in Connecticut, the guessing game as to who this might be has already begun. Real Estate magnate Sam Zell owns both papers. Under Zell's direction the Tribune Company is on the point of declariung bankruptcy; if the company had banking functions, it could apply to the Obama administration and the incoming Democrat controlled US legislature for a bailout loan.

The Sun Times noted that “Emanuel was uncharacteristically absent from Obama’s news conference this morning. He was spotted two hours later in the lobby of Chicago’s City Hall. He was there to listen to his two children performing in a concert with their school, Anshe Emet.”

But Emanuel was not forthcoming.

“’You’re wasting your time,’ Emanuel said. ‘I’m not going to say a word to you. I’m going to do this with my children. Don’t do that. I’m a father. I have two kids. I’m not going to do it.’

“Asked, ‘Can’t you do both?’ Emanuel replied, ‘I’m not as capable as you. I’m going to be a father. I’m allowed to be a father,’ and he pushed the reporter’s digital recorder away.”

The reporters might possibly expect a dead fish to arrive in the mail shortly. Emanuel in the past has mailed out such messages to abrasive people, a warning that Obama’s major domo is not above resorting to tactics described by Mario Puzo in The Godfather.

This is, after all, Chicago.

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