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For Obama and Emanuel, it's take a Republican out to eat day

January 27, 2009 |  7:02 am

This is Love-a-Gop Day around the White House.

The party that the Great Changer was sure the country didn't want four more years of is in big demand for now. The Democrats don't really need their votes in Congress to pass pretty much whatever they want in economic stimulus, even if it does include $200 million to stimulate birth control and make fewer consumers.

But a lopsided majority vote in favor would fit in with Obama's bipartisan theme and desired public relations sense of momentum for his first 2,922 days in office.

So today the president will take the ride back up (or down) Pennsylvania AvPresident Barack Obama's new White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel eats his own fist for lunch one day in the Houseenue without the cheering throngs and actually break bread with Republicans. No, really. They're gonna eat together, despite the atrociously conservative manners of the minority.

It'll be a new experience for them -- and him. Because both of Cook County's Republicans always seemed to be busy running for their lives when Sen. Obama was available for deli sandwiches in the Loop. And there's little need to reach out to the GOP in Illinois politics anyway.

But that's not the frosting. Tonight, Rahm Emanuel, the ex-Chicago machine gofer, ex-Clinton finance chair, old Blago pal, ex-congressman and current White House chief of staff, who's famous for his %$#*(&# language, is having about a dozen Republicans over to his boss's house for dinner. The good china and linens, all that.

That way Rahm won't have to do the dishes himself.

It's all part of what might be called the Rahm Reachout. In recent years with Emanuel playing a significant role, the Democrats took the GOP to the electoral cleaners in congressional elections. The diminutive Emanuel plays politics like the NHL, only without the rules and referees.

Emanuel made dozens of phone calls after his appointment and before the inauguration to Repubs saying that he'd be willing to forget what he'd done to them because it's a new day with a new boss who wants to work with Republicans for America at this crucial, crisis-strewn time in its history that happens to coincide with the start of a Democratic administration that needs some big wins early on.

So, it looks like 12 or so moderate GOP House members will get the royal schmooze. How much you want to bet the new boss happens to stop by for dessert and coffee?

We'll see what effect this has on their votes. And if some dissension develops among the other Republicans who didn't make the E-list this time, well, that's the price Emanuel and Obama are willing to pay. Josh Drobnyk over in the Swamp has more detail on today's soiree, which is Chicago for "guys night out."

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Rahm Emanuel gnaws on himself for lunch one day. Credit: Associated Press

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