Emanuel: Obama Should Listen, Not Fight

Barack Obama needs to convince voters that he understands them and leave the dirty work to his surrogates, says Representative Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, who’s also chairman of the DCCC.

Before Obama accepted the Democratic nomination in Denver last night, I asked Emanuel, a famously bulldoggish veteran of the Clinton White House, if the Democrats were being sufficiently aggressive in going after John McCain.

“The best line was Hillary’s line about the Twin Cities, you know, frick and frack [McCain and Bush] over there—you can’t tell them apart,” said Emanuel, who was surrounded by aides on the floor of Invesco Field. “Al Gore just did it, Hillary Clinton did it, Joe Biden did it. I mean, I’m not in that league, but I’ve done it.”

Asked if Obama needed to do the same, Emanuel said, “I’m of the view that the most important thing Barack can do is not have people know about him, but have people walk away [thinking] that they know he knows them."

Emanuel added, "I want you to walk away thinking he understands you.”

I asked why Obama seems to having a hard time doing that.

“He is here because of a speech he delivered,” Emanuel said, adding, “I believe they have already made tremendous progress in this convention, and, I mean, he won the nomination against a Clinton in the Democratic primary. He’s made some communication work."

Emanuel: Obama Should Listen, Not Fight