Rahm Emanuel, former White House Chief of Staff and current Mayor of Chicago, has a reputation for being a bully. While his style was once described by Bloomberg as “take no prisioners,” there is a pattern of rather odd behavior that has earned him the nickname “Rahmbo.”
In 1997, The New York Times reported that Emanuel began stabbing a steak during a dinner in Little Rock, Arkansas, shortly after Bill Clinton was elected president. The Times recalled, “Emanuel grabbed his steak knife and, as those who were there remember it, shouted out the name of another enemy, lifted the knife, then brought it down with full force into the table.”
“‘Dead!” he screamed,” noted the Times.
Another example of Emanuel’s weird behavior was when he sent, according to The Daily Beast, a “dead fish in a box” to a pollster who was late delivering results. This story is frequently mentioned by conservatives talk show hosts, such as Sean Hannity, to show his ruthlessness.
But Michael Hastings, a reporter for BuzzFeed, got to see Emanuel’s strongarm tactics first hand. After a speech on November 8th of last year, Hastings asked the Chicago mayor about his role in fundraising for Priorities USA, the pro-Obama super PAC that ran an ad implying that Mitt Romney killed a union worker’s wife.
After Emanuel explained that he thought Obama was “worth re-electling,” Hasting said, “Yeah, we’ll see.” Emanuel apparently wasn’t pleased with that comment. According to the audio of the incident, Emanuel confronted Hastings, grabbed him. Emanuel’s staff also demanded that he delete the recording.
You can listen to the audio and Hastings’ reaction below:
Hastings, who just recently released an ebook on the 2012 election, explained that Emanuel’s behavior is reprehensible for a public official, adding, “I’ve interviewed terrorist leaders. I’ve interviewed dictators. I’ve interviewed a lot of politicians. I’ve interviewed a lot of angry people, but none of them have ever laid a hand on me.”
This sort of intimidation and downright odd demeanor may seem strange for the rest of us, but it is apparently the Chicago way.