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Archival footage: Barack Obama has a sense of humor! About Rahm Emanuel anyway

November 17, 2008 |  7:57 pm

Rahm Emanuel, the newly named White House chief of staff for President-elect Barack Obama, is known from Chicago's Loop to Washington's K Street as a mild-mannered, hilarious, exceptionally genial man for whom foul language is as rare as a Democratic victory in Cook County.

So it was shocking to come upon archival footage of a roast of Emanuel from three years ago to benefit research to cure epilepsy, which afflicts one of the children of David Axelrod, Obama's chief political strategist, who will also be entering the White House come Jan. 20.

There were a series of speakers that night, emceed by onetime Democrat strategist Paul Begala, another self-described laugh riot.  And there on tape -- and presented here for loyal Ticket readers -- is another side to Obama who, if he didn't exactly write his own bitingly humorous remarks, at least delivered them expertly.

Now, for instance, we know where he learned about using that middle finger.  So laugh along with the man who would be king before most of us realized that.

Amazing what can happen in just three years' time.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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