Rahm to take lead from George W. Bush when handing over keys to mayor’s office

SHARE Rahm to take lead from George W. Bush when handing over keys to mayor’s office

Mayor Rahm Emanuel is planning to model his mayoral transition after the seamless handoff between George W. Bush and Barack Obama, for whom Emanuel was the first chief of staff. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Mission . . . not so impossible?

Sneed hears Mayor Rahm Emanuel is not only running the tape on his last days in office, he’s inserted a plan to pass his baton seamlessly.

And he’s going to do it like a former Republican president!

• Translation: Emanuel, a devoted Dem, is pursuing a plan to parrot the smooth transition between the outgoing administration of former President George W. Bush and the incoming administration of former President Barack Obama, who chose Emanuel as his first chief of staff.

• To wit: “During the Obama transition, President Bush’s Chief of Staff Josh Bolten and I were the designated contacts for the incoming and outgoing administrations,” the mayor tells Sneed.

“I was struck by the professionalism and cooperation, and I want the next mayor and HER team to be fully up to speed on the city’s projects so HER administration can hit the ground running and not miss a beat,” he said.

• Further translation: That power shift between the Bush and Obama administrations was considered one of the most successful transitions of the modern era following the shenanigans of previous administrations.

Obama’s team was very impressed with the transition plan set out by Bush’s team and they followed it closely when making plans with Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney’s transition team in case Obama had lost his re-election battle.

While that transition never took place after Obama won a second term, the exercise served as a practice run for Obama’s eventual departure from the Oval Office four years later.

“We worked hand in glove to ensure the new president could hit the ground running on day one,” Emanuel said.


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The mayor said the hand-off between Bush and Obama “was successful for three key reasons. First, we were in constant communication to keep each other updated and informed. Second, we were clear that there was only one president at a time. Third, despite the fact the global economy was in a meltdown, the Bush administration had the fortitude to make the transition a priority.

“I am committed to modeling the coming local transition on that successful national example. One reason transitions are critical is they help identify the unsung heroes who make the government work day in and day out.

“For example, while we were talking over lunch one day, Josh Bolten mentioned an individual at the Treasury Department who had, to my surprise, been a key player on the Bush counterterrorism team. That conversation alerted us to this unexpected asset. As a result, we kept him on for the Obama administration where he played a major role for years,” said Emanuel.

Sneed is told the mayor has directed all city departments and agencies to compile the status of pending projects, basic tactical info, and an overview of their accomplishments over the past eight years.

“The mayor understands that the next administration will have a transition that will be several weeks shorter than the very smooth handoff between the Daley and Emanuel teams. He has been clear with his staff that all resources and assistance will be available to make the transition a seamless one,” said a mayoral source.

And rest assured — there will be no damage or stunts like there was when President Bill Clinton’s staff handed things off to Bush’s administration and some “W” keys were ripped off computer keyboards!

Sneedlings . . .

Saturday’s birthdays: Celine Dion, 51; Richard Sherman, 31; and Mark Consuelos, 48. . . . Sunday’s birthdays: Christopher Walken, 76; Al Gore, 71; and Liza Koshy, 23.

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