One typically associates the role of White House media relations with the Press Secretary, and for this administration that man is Robert Gibbs. However, while Gibbs is sought after during his daily briefings and for on the record remarks, another prominent member of the administration, chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, is doing his fare share of media relations work, both on and off the record.
The Washington Post‘s Howard Kurtz writes: “Perhaps no White House chief of staff in modern history has worked the media as aggressively and relentlessly as Emanuel. Drawing on his long-standing relationships with journalists, Emanuel serves up on-the-record quotes, background spin and the sort of capital gossip that lubricates relationships. The former Chicago congressman also seeks their take on events and floats possible administration tactics.”
“A conversation with Rahm can be as little as 30 seconds…He calls, drops a few F-bombs, makes his point and hangs up,” CNN commentator Paul Begala told Kurtz. Said the NY Times‘ David Brooks, “With some people you just get the spin; he does go beyond that.”