Late Monday, Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.) removed his name from consideration to replace Rep. Bob Matsui as chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. His decision to pull out after being wooed by some members of Democratic House leadership appeared to coincide with the emergence of Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.), a former senior adviser to Pres. Bill Clinton, as the favorite for the post.
Emanuel, according to House Democratic sources, has already begun calling colleagues and marshaling support. “He’s the natural replacement for Matsui,” says a moderate Democratic House member. “He’s done the work. He knows Washington, and his Clinton years have given him access to national fundraising resources.”
Even before the passing of Matsui, Democratic leaders, including Minority leader Nancy Pelosi, were pressing Emanuel to consider taking the reins of the DCCC, after he served as a vice-chairman of the committee during the last election cycle. He apparently has wavered, hoping instead that he could somehow land a seat on the Ways and Means Committee. As it happens, Matsui served on that committee, meaning with his death a seat on Ways and Means has now opened up. Some believe that Emanuel is seeking to cut a deal that would get him Matsui’s seat in return for taking on the challenge of raising money for Democrats and recruiting candidates.
Bush Administration foreign policy types are not thrilled with the appointment of Mark Malloch Brown, currently head of the U.N. Development Program, to take over as U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan‘s chief of staff. That’s because Malloch Brown is viewed as a favorite of Clinton and Kerry political and foreign policy adviser Richard Holbrooke.
“You look at everything happening up there in New York, and the Clinton people are all over it,” says a Foggy Bottom observer. “Holbrooke is up there openly campaigning for Annan and the U.N. It’s like they think the election never happened.”
Holbrooke has emerged as one of Annan’s and the U.N.’s most ardent supporters in the wake of that body’s embarrassing corruption scandals and the overly politicized, anti-American tenor Annan is perceived to have engendered.
Holbrooke has been pressing a pro-Annan line with the U.S. foreign policy, in an attempt to build support for Annan to remain as head of the U.N. Malloch Brown, who is British, is believed to have been the hand-picked choice of a group of Annan advisers, including Holbrooke.
Holbrooke was thought to be at the least the second choice for Secretary of State, had Sen. John Kerry been elected.