Emanuel endorses Obama

Rahm Emanuel, a former top aide to Bill Clinton who's now the House's fourth-ranking Democrat, announces his decision Wednesday.

Published June 4, 2008 4:15PM (EDT)

Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill., the fourth-ranking Democrat in the House of Representatives, has endorsed Barack Obama, Time's Mark Halperin reports.

Emanuel hasn't been in the House for very long, but he has a high profile that has been rising only recently. He was a senior aide to Bill Clinton both in Clinton's 1992 campaign for the presidency and later in his administration, and he headed the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee during the party's very successful election year in 2006.

Emanuel's endorsement couldn't have come at a better time for Obama. Emanuel is a religious Jew who served as a noncombatant volunteer in the Israeli army during the Gulf War, and Obama spoke on Wednesday morning to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the prominent Israel lobby group. Afterward, Halperin says, Emanuel accompanied Obama to a meeting with AIPAC's executive board.

Emanuel reportedly called Hillary Clinton on Tuesday to deliver the news.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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