Posts Tagged Rahm Emanuel

Our Congressman, Rahm Emanuel, sends Eli’s Cheesecake as his way to recruit Congressional Candidates.

All of us at Eli’s are proud to have Rahm Emanuel as our Congressman for the 5th District. Since taking office in 1993, Rahm has been a tireless advocate for the people of our district, the City of Chicago, State of Illinois and our country. We are very proud that he has been a strong advocate for business in our area as well as being a frequent visitor to and supporter of Wright College, including speaking at the graduation, bringing the Congressional District Art Fair to Wright and engaging the students of Wright with veterans.

We are also delighted that Congressman Emanuel has made gifts of Eli’s Cheesecake a trademark of his Congressional leadership.


Democrats try to seize the moment

By Jill Zuckman

Washington Bureau

November 13, 2005

WASHINGTON — Democrats desperately wanted Heath Shuler, a former NFL quarterback, to run for Congress from North Carolina, but he was worried about the time it would take from his wife and two young children.

So Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.), who is heading the Democrats’ effort to retake the House, enlisted former President Bill Clinton to call Shuler. He arranged for other House Democrats to talk to him and for their wives to call his wife. And finally, Emanuel called Shuler incessantly from his home in Chicago to show that congressmen do get time with their families.

“Every chance he was with his family, he would call and say `I’m just letting you know I’m with my family,”‘ said Shuler, who was heavily recruited to play college football. “I know all the angles that people use to recruit you. Nobody does it as well as Rahm Emanuel.”

Many voters focus only on the last stretch of a campaign, when two candidates are ferociously slugging it out. But for those responsible for winning campaigns for each party, perhaps no question is as important as who runs. And this is prime recruiting season.

As Democrats seek to
wrest control of the House from the GOP, they find themselves with an unexpectedly favorable recruiting climate. The Republicans are contending with an unpopular war in Iraq, high energy costs, the administration’s poor response to Hurricane Katrina, President Bush’s low approval ratings and accusations of corruption against GOP leaders such as Rep. Tom DeLay of Texas.

“In the real world, this is as good as it gets in terms of political environment for a Democrat,” said Democratic pollster Mark Mellman. “If you are a Democrat not willing to run in this environment, then you are not really willing to run.”

Shuler ultimately succumbed to Emanuel’s seductions and agreed to challenge Republican Rep. Charles Taylor. In the weeks since Katrina struck, Democrats have picked up several promising new candidates, such as New Mexico Atty. Gen. Patsy Madrid, who is running for the House. Democratic victories last week in gubernatorial races in Virginia and New Jersey seem to have further energized the

Republican leaders observed that the election is still a year away, and they pointed out that while most polls indicate that voters are angry with Congress in general, they like their particular representative.

“There’s not an anti-incumbent mood out there,” said Rep. Tom Reynolds (R-N.Y.), Emanuel’s GOP counterpart as chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee. He said that some prospective candidates have turned down the Democrats’ entreaties. “I just haven’t been impressed with their recruiting, despite all their talk about it.”

Carl Forti, communications director of the National Republican Congressional Committee, said that not all the Democrats’ candidates are top quality.

“There’s a big difference between recruiting someone and recruiting someone who can win,” he said. “Just putting a warm body into a race doesn’t mean that person has a chance in hell of winning.”

Arithmetic for control

To win back the House, Democrats need to gain 15 seats. With only 13 Republicans so far retiring, that will be tough because 99 percent of incumbents win re-election.

Emanuel, the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, hopes to field competitive candidates in 50 races, focusing on open Republican seats, districts with incumbents who face ethical troubles and districts with a Republican congressman where voters backed Sen. John Kerry over Bush in 2004.

Amy Walter, who analyzes House races for the independent Cook Political Report, said Democrats have managed to field candidates in 32 districts. Not all candidates need to be first-rate to win, she said.

“If the political environment is so awful for Republicans, then the quality of the Democratic challenger is not as important,” Walter said. “In a flat or slightly tilted playing field, only `A’ challengers beat incumbents. When the playing field is significantly tilted, that’s when `C’ candidates can win.”

That’s why Emanuel and other Democrats are giving tours of the Capitol to prospective candidates and wooing them with offers of advice and counsel should they decide to run.

They have created a buddy system, assigning each real or potential candidate to a House member who can provide support and guidance.

When one prospective candidate in Oklahoma asked whether he would be able to make it home to see his family 10 weekends a year, Emanuel sent him a schedule, showing that the House was likely to be in session 140 days this year.

“He was taken aback,” Emanuel said.

On a recent afternoon, Emanuel sat down in the congressional campaign committee’s offices, around the corner from the Capitol, to make calls to potential candidates. He has made dozens, perhaps hundreds, of such calls in recent months.

“What baby-sitting services do you need? What dry-cleaning services? I’m a full-time valet,” Emanuel jokingly said as he prepared to make the calls.

Chatting with Jim Marcinkowski, a former CIA agent who is thinking about challenging Republican Rep. Mike Rogers in Michigan, Emanuel offered encouragement to ease Marcinkowski’s evident anxiety.

“Everybody’s excited,” Emanuel told him. “I have already talked to members of the delegation about you. They are all on board to help you. The governor will help you, your delegation will help you and the DCCC will help you.”

In a call to Jack Conway, a former adviser to Kentucky Gov. Paul Patton who is considering a second run against Republican Rep. Anne Northup, Emanuel asked if he had received a cheesecake Emanuel had sent.

“You like the cheesecake? Which one did you get? Oh, that’s good. You know it’s Eli’s famous cheesecake from Chicago,” said Emanuel, who later said he is five for five in recruiting candidates who received the cheesecakes.

In the course of an afternoon’s calls, Emanuel talked to candidates about a variety of topics, including House ethics rules on outside income, whether working out can reduce breast and colon cancer and consumer confusion over the Medicare prescription drug benefit.

Despite the seemingly favorable climate, Emanuel did not promise that Democrats will continue to benefit from the issues that Republicans are struggling with currently.

“Would I rather be a Democrat going into this environment rather than a Republican? Yes. But you can’t run a campaign based on the fact that some wave is going to pick your surfboard up and take you into shore,” Emanuel said.

The 6th-year factor

Still, Democratic leaders believe that history is on their side, in part because the party that controls the White House in the sixth year of a presidency almost always loses House seats.

Republicans disagree. Rep. Deborah Pryce, a GOP leader who faces a strong Democratic opponent in her Ohio district, said she feels good about her re-election chances even though the country is in “poor humor.”

“I’m not nervous. I feel very confident in the hard work I have done for the district,” said Pryce. “I’m not Tom DeLay. I’m not Bob Taft. I’m not anybody but who I am. I think the voters are smart enough to know that,” she added, referring to the former House majority leader and the Ohio governor, both embroiled in scandals.

Even so, Democrats are targeting Pryce’s Columbus district because 49 percent of its voters cast their ballots for Kerry while re-electing Pryce with 60 percent of the vote.

Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), the Democratic committee’s recruiting chairman, said voters across the country are looking for a change.

“What we need to do as Democrats is hold the Republican majority accountable for the sense that mistakes have been made,” Van Hollen said. “They’re in charge.”

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Eli’s congratulates Congressman Rahm Emanuel and Wright College for the success of the Chicago World War II Oral History Anthology Project

Veteran opens memories for oral history


Lincoln Peters, 80, was among a
group of veterans interviewed last year by students taking part in the Chicago
World War II Oral History Anthology Project, last year.

About 45 veterans were
interviewed by students from Wright College and Northeastern Illinois
University. The Oral History Anthology, which specifically focused on World War
II,, was started by U.S. Representative Rahm Emanuel, D-5th, in March 2004. The
undertaking resulted in about 200 separate stories, and more than 20 hours of

Peters, of Chicago’s Gladstone
Park-Jefferson Park area, was one of three veterans featured on a program
produced by Comcast, “World War II: 60 Years of Memories,” which was broadcast
on the cable network on Veterans Day and throughout November 2004. Emanuel
planned to submit a videotape of the program, along with the video recordings of
all of the veterans who took part in the project, to the Library of Congress’
American Folklife Center. The recordings are to be added to the Library’s
ongoing Veterans History Project.

When Emanuel kicked off his Oral
History Anthology Project in March 2004, he invited Peters to the press
conference, and presented him with the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts which
Peters earned in combat 60 years before but had not received. Peters, a graduate
of Wright College, went back there late in 2004 for ceremonies where the Comcast
program was shown. He and other participants in the project were made honorary
members of Wright’s Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.

For Peters, a rifleman in the
41st Infantry Division, which fought in the South Pacific under General Douglas
MacArthur, talking about his war experiences was a relatively new

“I didn’t have that type of
experience to talk about,” said Peters. “You don’t know how children are going
to react if you tell them that you killed this guy or blew up this guy. You
don’t want children to hear things like that…. I found a Japanese flag in the
helmet of an officer that I shot. I had shot him myself. I remember when he fell
back; the helmet fell off his head.

“The flag is a family heirloom.
It had Japanese writing on it. I went to the Japanese consulate and they said,
‘We’ll do a search for the family.’ About a month later the consulate called me
up and they said, ‘We found no trace of this man’s family. They were all killed
in Hiroshima. There were no survivors.’”

One of the interviewers was
Filipino. He spent a lot of time in the Philippine islands during the war and
the interview of more than two hours, brought back a lot of memories. “It’s
something different,” Peters said about the effort, “and I think it will have
some lasting value.”

Peters had received the first of
his three Purple Heart medals during the war. It was mailed home while he was
recovering from a gunshot wound that shattered his knee. Peters was hit by
machine gun fire during an assault on a Japanese pillbox on the Philippine
island of Mindanao. He was later sent back to Mindanao, where his unit trained
for a proposed invasion of Japan, but Japan surrendered shortly after the United
States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Peters was sent to Japan as part
of the post-war occupation force. He recalled that recovery efforts were going
on while he was there.

“They were still finding bodies,”
Peters said. “We visited some of the hospitals. The hospitals were filled with
the injured. People were piled up in the hospitals, all suffering from massive
burns. From then on, I had a lot of sympathy for them, for the people who were
suffering and were hurt.”

In addition to his delayed
medals, Peters had received a Good Conduct Medal, the American Campaign Medal,
the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with a double Bronze Star attachment, the
World War II Victory Medal, the Combat Infantryman Badge 1st Award, the
Philippine Liberation Ribbon, and a number of other badges and

He was recommended for the Bronze
Star for two occasions where he was recognized for acting above and beyond the
call of duty. Peters was cited once for pulling a fellow soldier off the beach
at Biak, a small island located off the northern coast of West Papua Province,
on the eastern edge of Indonesia.

“He got hurt and couldn’t walk,”
Peters said. “I picked him up and carried him to the water. The other time was
when we had a Japanese night attack. They hit our perimeter. Seeing as I was the
only one with a machine gun, I stood there and I fired that gun all night. The
whole platoon was feeding me magazine after magazine. When we got up in the
morning there were six dead bodies. The captain said, ‘You stopped a
counterattack. If they would have broken that line, that perimeter, we all would
have been killed.’

“I said, ‘Don’t give me the
credit, these guys that loaded up my magazine should get it.’

“They said, ‘We’re going to give
you the Medal of Honor.’

“I said, ‘Give me a discharge.
That’s all I want.’”

Peters is the past commander of
Amvets Post 5, which meets at 10:30 a.m. on the third Wednesday of each month at
4950 W. Pratt Ave. in Skokie. The post has its own veteran’s history project.
They are in the process of recording the wartime recollections of each post
member. The recording sessions have become a regular part of each meeting.
Peters said the tapes will be submitted to the Library of Congress.

Members of Amvets Post #5 plan to
gather Memorial Day at 11 a.m. for a ceremony at a monument the post erected at
Elmwood Cemetery, 2905 Thatcher Ave. in River Grove.

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