Rahm Israel Emanuel (b. 1959) is a Democrat who is Chief of Staff to President Obama. He represented Illinois' 5th Congressional District in the House of Representatives 2003-2008. As chairman of the Democrats' Congressional Campaign Committee, he took credit for a sharp increase in Democratic membership in the House.
Prior to his election to Congress, he had worked in the Clinton White House from 1993-1998, first serving as Assistant to the President for Political Affairs, and then Senior Adviser to the President for Policy and Strategy. He also worked as a banker in Chicago, and is known for his highly aggressive style. Emanuel served on the board of scandal-plagued quasi-governmental mortgage giant Freddie Mac.  While Emanuel was on the Freddie Mac board, the SEC charged that organization with accounting fraud.
In the White House Emanuel's aggressive demands for a stimulus package won passage of the liberals' $789 billion bill in February, but alienated Republicans (only three of whom voted for it). His seizure of control of the Census Bureau from the Commerce department led Senator Judd Gregg, a leading Republican, to reverse himself and reject the job of Secretary of Commerce.
Emanuel has a Jewish background. He and his wife Ann have three children:, Zacharias, Ilana, and Leah. Emanual has a bachelor's degree from Sarah Lawrence College (1981), and a master's degree in speech and communication from Northwestern University (1985). Emanuel's father, Dr. Benjamin M. Emanuel, was born in Jerusalem.