Friends and enemies agree that the key to Emanuel's success is his legendary intensity. There's the story about the time he sent a rotting fish to a pollster who had angered him. There's the story about how his right middle finger was blown off by a Syrian tank when he was in the Israeli army. ..."A finger? Hey, watch this. [Embedded video replaced by link.]
Back to the old Rolling Stone piece:
And there's the story of how, the night after Clinton was elected, Emanuel was so angry at the president's enemies that he stood up at a celebratory dinner with colleagues from the campaign, grabbed a steak knife and began rattling off a list of betrayers, shouting "Dead! . . . Dead! . . . Dead!" and plunging the knife into the table after every name. "When he was done, the table looked like a lunar landscape," one campaign veteran recalls. "It was like something out of The Godfather. But that's Rahm for you."
The stories are all true, except that the finger was lost in a meat slicer and he wasn't in the Israeli army. (But he is the son of an Israeli immigrant.)
His younger brother, Ari, is a Hollywood talent agent who served as the inspiration for Ari Gold, the fast-talking agent played by Jeremy Piven on HBO's hit series Entourage....Ha ha.
"After about the sixth episode, I finally caught it," says Rahm... "I called Ari the next day and said, 'Hey, I finally saw the show, and you know what? I like that guy better than I like you.'"
ADDED: Here's today's NYT piece about Emanuel:
Mr. Obama has been close to Mr. Emanuel since arriving on Capitol Hill; Mr. Emanuel considers David Axelrod, Mr. Obama’s chief strategist, to be one of his closest friends. The three share a common policy view and would make a formidable triumvirate in the White House....
... Mr. Emanuel’s stint in high finance and his experience in the banking world opens him to some criticism of being too allied with Wall Street... Since he is part of the Daley circle, Mr. Emanuel’s appointment as chief of staff could also create the appearance of a White House that is too Chicago heavy. His manner can also create enemies, and Mr. Emanuel has ruffled the feathers of many on Capitol Hill, particularly black and Hispanic lawmakers.