Emanuel Calls Obama Speech ‘Visionary,’ Clinton’s Has ‘Edge’

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, a confidant and longtime adviser to President Barack Obama, said his former boss will give a “big, visionary” acceptance speech tomorrow at the Democratic National Convention.

Emanuel, who served as Obama’s chief of staff and also worked for President Bill Clinton, said at a Bloomberg News/Washington Post breakfast today that he expects a more political speech with “a little more edge” from Clinton when he speaks tonight in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Obama needs to tell the nation ‘this is where we’re going and this is how we’re going to get there” on how he would lead during a second term, the mayor said.

“I wouldn’t give a speech on the role of government,” he said later. “This is not a political science class.”

Emanuel, 52, suggested voters sometimes have a “hazy image” about the bipartisanship attributed to the Clinton administration, as the former chief of staff sought to reduce hard feelings about party bickering during Obama’s tenure.

“I don’t remember that bipartisanship,” he said, as he listed 1990s fiscal disputes that led to a shutdown of the government and fights over education and the environment.

Emanuel declined to predict odds for an Obama victory over Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, as he highlighted the closeness of the race and the “consequential” importance of three presidential debates scheduled for October.

The debates will be especially influential for the undecided, said Emanuel.

“They are going to hold out to the very end to make a decision,” he said of a sliver of undecided voters who remain on the sidelines, typically less than 10 percent in polls.

To contact the reporter on this story: John McCormick in Charlotte, North Carolina at jmccormick16@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jeanne Cummings at jcummings21@bloomberg.net

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