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Transcript of Rahm Emanuel Monitor Breakfast

(Page 6 of 12)

The recession was not, by any means, as severe as we’re facing today. Which is one my points I’m bringing up is, president Clinton did not get the stimulus bill that was passed out of the House I think at 24 billion. It failed in the Senate at either 16 or 18 four months later. This president passed a 787 billion dollar recovery act in the first three weeks. And also a major expansion on healthcare.

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So, the world that they’re both – the world that they’re dealing with is fundamentally different. Uh, now, I think they are incredibly talented individuals, OK? They have different styles, they’re at a different time, they’re also at different ages in their – I mean their own biography, they’re at different ages.

I think that – I think President Obama has one of the most disciplined minds and styles I’ve ever seen. And I think of my – I exercise every day. I’ve been doing it for umpteen years. I read a book, one every three weeks, I think I’m personally pretty disciplined. This guy is incredibly disciplined. And not only, structured, but his mind is unbelievably disciplined.

Q: For instance?

RE: He goes into a meeting and he’ll have read the brief the night before, and have the crux of his argument written down that he wants to drive that discussion to basic points. And he goes right to either the assumptions, the presumptions of the case. Now, I mean, I loved, as you know, working for President Clinton, who had an unbelievably creative mind. And I think was, for a host of reasons, was a very significant president. I was honored to work for him.

Their contexts are different, so while every president has a domestic issue and an international issue, etc., I mean, President Obama has what President Clinton had, but, I don’t want to say, it’s not appropriate to say on steroids, but by a quotient of 10.

But he has handled – look, I’m going to just say this. First of all, I was honored to be on the trip to the Mideast. I think that Cairo speech will go down as one of the most significant speeches given by a president on foreign policiy. Equal to what Kennedy’s speech was, what Reagan’s speech was. And not just because you’re seeing results already in the Mideast. But I think he did 20 years’ worth of work, and it’s been noted by others in capitals around the area of the world, 20 years’ worth of work, both for advancing America’s interests and definition of America in that region.

We are no longer the issue of America – America is no longer the issue in that region of the world. Now, we have to use that opening to seek our national security. That is not our national security in and of itself. But it is a huge opportunity for advancing America’s interests. And I think that speech will be noted in history for what not – not as a speech, but as a galvanizing theory of the case in narrative for where we are. And he has done that in a way. He has, ya know, I think pursued, and he handled the foreign policy crisis, and you have one in the same way what’s happening in Iran now, and around, specifically, Iran, but also Lebanon, a change in the way of significance of – well, it’s playing itself out right now. For me to predict what it is I don’t think it would be smart.