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    3:31PM

    Mike Emanuel Reflect on His Career, and the Crazy People on His New Beat

    In his inaugural appearance on this show as the chief congressional correspondent for Fox News, Mike Emanuel provided some back story, beginning with his earliest memories of listening to Imus from the back of his parents station wagon in New Jersey.
     
    “I used to watch guys like Warner Wolf and Ernie Anastos in New York, and I thought, it looks like they have a pretty interesting gig,” Emanuel recalled. As a “young scrapper” in the television biz, he wound up in Texas: Midland, followed by Waco, followed by Austin. “When I got to Austin, a baseball owner named George W. Bush was running for governor, and the rest is kinda history.”
     
    When Bush moved to Washington, DC, Emanuel followed, and then covered the White House for Fox for four years, until his bosses made him the tantalizing offer of being the “chief” correspondent of something. “In a town like Washington, ‘chief’ anything is okay, even if you’re the chief tax collector,” Emanuel joked.
     
    But what if you’re chief of the House of Representatives, also known as Speaker John Boehner, and the Tea Party threatens to make you look, well, impotent?
     
    “He needs 217 Republican votes to pass his plan on the debt situation,” Emanuel said. “He’s been twisting arms, and told his Republican members yesterday behind closed doors to ‘get your ass in line,’ and to get those votes necessary to make this happen.”
     
    The Democrats, meanwhile, smelled blood. “The Democrats were thinking that Boehner’s own party might bail on him, and his plan might die today,” Emanuel said. It appears today as if Boehner has enough votes, but it remains to be seen if his plan will pass the Democrat-controlled Senate.
     
    “It’ll be interesting to see who blinks first after this vote in the House,” Emanuel added.
     
    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has a plan of his own, but he’s letting the House vote first, hoping, according to Emanuel, that Boehner’s plan would fall apart. Should the House hand Reid a piece of legislation that’s already been passed, Senate Democrats could be forced to compromise.
     
    The last few weeks in DC have been “remarkable,” Emanuel told Imus. “It seemed like every time we were getting close to something happening, something fell apart.”
     
    There is a lot of pressure for the Boehner plan to pass muster today, especially considering, as Emanuel reported, some of Reid’s staffers spent last weekend working on the legislation with Boehner’s people, until Obama changed his mind on that deal.
     
    “A lot of the stuff that’s in the Boehner plan, Democrats in Congress have signed off on,” Emanuel said. “Although it’s not popular for them to admit it.”
     
    Along with millions of other Americans, Emanuel hopes enough people in Congress abandon political theater in favor of pragmatism. In the meantime, he and Imus and the rest of the country can enjoy video of Senator John McCain reading from the Wall Street Journal on the Senate floor yesterday and calling the Tea Party “hobbits.”
     
    -Julie Kanfer

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