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It's confirmed: Rahm Emanuel is reaching out to Republicans

November 12, 2008 |  4:50 pm

Soon-to-be-ex-Rep. Rahm Emanuel of Illinois-- who even by Washington standards has stood out as a hard-edged, partisan in-fighter -- is making good on his pledge to take a different tack as he gears up for his new job as Barack Obama's White House chief of staff.Rep. David Dreier of California

Rep. David Dreier of California -- one of the Republicans who used to rule the roost on Capitol Hill -- told The Times' Faye Fiore that Emanuel reached out to him in a phone call Sunday.

“What Rahm said to me was, ‘You know me for who I am. I am no longer representing myself, I’m representing this president and he wants to work with you,’ ”  Dreier recounted. “He knew I had worked with Obama on issues before and I said I was determined to do everything I can to make him a good president. I’m an American before I’m a Republican.”

Dreier also mentioned another conversation he had recently -- with President Bush.

“I know he’s looking forward to leaving,’’ he said of the man who, in one poll released earlier this week, was declared "the most unpopular president in the six decades since presidential approval ratings were first measured."

Dreier admitted he had not envisioned the Bush presidency ending with poll ratings in the tank.

He praised the president for how "he’s dealt with the war against radical (Islamic) extremism" and said, “I’d like to think he’ll end up being not unlike Harry Truman" -- a president disdained by the public when he left office but one who's stock has risen dramatically with the passage of time.

Dreier also offered a coda to the recently wrapped-up political season that many other Republicans likely would echo: “Frankly, I’m just ready to move on. I’ve never been happier to have an election behind us.’’

-- Don Frederick

Photo credit: Associated Press