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What Is Rahm Emanuel Talking About?

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Congressman Rahm Emanuel is chairman of the Democratic Caucus. Congressman, people out there are wondering why did they elect the Democrats to end the war in if the war is still going?

REP. RAHM EMANUEL, (D) DEMOCRATIC CAUCUS CHAIR: First of all, they elected - first of all, let’s go to the presumption of the question, Chris. They elected the democrats for a host of reasons, including the war but also to change things that were happening in Washington as it related to their economics.

The exit polls overwhelmingly showed the primary issues to be the war and opposition to Bush and Cheney. This was the clearest single-issue national mandate an election and exit polls and pre-election polls have ever shown.

So there were a host of things that led into this election. And I’m more than willing, and I don’t think you want to spend the time going through that analysis. The war was a key piece of it. So was people’s economic frustration, so was their anger at the way that Washington had gotten corrupt. So there was a lot that fed into this election.

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Second is, you know, the knowledge that you have today about what’s happening. Yes, the president asked for another $200 billion. The largest increase, the largest increase ever in his request is the largest request ever. And yet, we have always said, how can you say that children’s healthcare is excessive spending for 10 million children who don’t have healthcare, whose parents work full time, yet, you’ve asked for $200 billion of more debt for this war, bringing it right now to the total of $800 billion of requests and as you said, well on his way to a trillion dollars.

Exactly how many children have you obtained health care for? That was NEVER your intention. You told the Washington Post at the start of this year that you wanted to keep the occupation of Iraq going until November 2008. Do you have any idea how many times over we could provide every child with health care for the cost of what you're spending on war? You have known since November that any decent bill would be vetoed. Yet you push them, get them vetoed, and then brag about it. This is insane.

And we have said just two weeks ago he has another six weeks and he has to produce a report on a plan for how America would leave Iraq.

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No, wait. THIS is insane. You want ANOTHER report? From BUSH?? Cut off the f*cking money, Rahm. It doesn't take a bill to do so. You just announce that there will be no more bills to fund it. Got it? You act as if you've cut off a portion of your anatomy instead.

MATTHEWS: Well, let me ask you this. Do you really believe that the number one issue in this country is not the war in Iraq? Do you really believe that?

EMANUEL: That’s not what I said. You said that was the reason we won the Congress. I said there were a lot of reasons we won Congress, but number one is Iraq, and number two is healthcare. Beyond that is also energy independence. There are a lot of issues that relate to the challenges that aren’t being answered by this administration. I said that a lot of things led into what happened in November because people were tired of what was happening in Washington and they wanted a new direction and a change. Iraq was prima facie number one, but it was not exclusive of other things.

MATTHEWS: How are you changing the direction in Iraq?

EMANUEL: Well, I just told you, one of the things we did two weeks ago was pass a bill that said specifically if you’ve not going to set a date, you must produce a plan to present to Congress on the beginning of the reduction of the troops in Iraq that—it was a bipartisan, the first bipartisan vote to do that.

After 10 months, you address the number one demand of the electorate by asking the criminal for a report on how his crime is going? Sorry, Congress was doing THAT before the elections.

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Second, all this waste and fraud had gone unreported, undocumented and unenforced. And as you know, Henry Waxman has done a miraculous job on that committee going through contract after contract on the embassy, you saw today what happened with Dyncorp and other things, basically bringing in and somehow controlling how they basically are spending money.

Are you out of your mind? Waxman has sent subpoenas and had them ignored, and refused to back them up with impeachment, meaning that he has not saved a single Iraqi life. In fact, they're dying faster now than when Republicans ran the Congress.

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David Swanson is the author of "When the World Outlawed War," "War Is A Lie" and "Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union." He blogs at and and works for the online (more...)
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