10 Things You Didn't Know About Rahm Emanuel

Rahm Emanuel was named Barack Obama's White House chief of staff.

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Rahm Emanuel

1. Rahm Emanuel was born Nov. 29, 1959, in Chicago, and grew up in the suburb of Wilmette, Ill. He is the second son of Benjamin and Marsha Emanuel.

2. Rahm is the middle of three boys in the Emanuel family, they also have an adopted younger sister, Shoshanna. His two brothers have notable careers. His older brother, Ezekiel (Zeke), is an oncologist and chair of the Department of Bioethics at the National Institutes of Health. Younger brother Ari is a well-known Hollywood agent—he founded the Endeavor Agency, and he was the basis for the character Ari Gold on the television program Entourage.

3. While he was in high school, Emanuel cut his finger on a meat slicer while working at an Arby's restaurant. He delayed getting medical attention so that he could go to his prom, but the injury became infected and he nearly died. Emanuel recovered but is now missing half of the middle finger on his right hand.

4. Emanuel studied ballet seriously as a young man, and he was invited to study with the Joffrey Ballet. Instead, he chose Sarah Lawrence College, where he studied liberal arts and graduated in 1981.

5. After college, Emanuel returned to Chicago, where he worked for politicians like Paul Simon and Richard M. Daley. After earning a master's in communications from Northwestern University in 1985, he joined the staff of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

6. Emanuel joined Bill Clinton's campaign in 1991 as a fundraiser, and he later served as political director and senior adviser in the administration, working on issues like NAFTA.

7. Emanuel left politics for a few years and made millions as an investment banker but returned in 2002 when he won election to the House of Representatives.

8. Emanuel is well known in politics for his aggressive style, and his vocabulary can reflect that. Nancy Pelosi reportedly once said that the economic stimulus plan could be paid for if we "put a quarter in a jar every time Rahm uses a swear word."

9. Emanuel married Amy Rule in 1994 after they met on a blind date four years earlier. They now have three children: Zacharia, Ilana, and Leah.

10. In his free time, Emanuel enjoys swimming and competing in triathlons. He is also an avid reader.

Sources:

  • Associated Press
  • Chicago Sun Times
  • Chicago Tribune
  • New York Times
  • Roll Call
  • Washingtonian