President-elect Barack Obama will soon give the Democrats' campaign arm in the House $500,000 from his historic war chest, incoming White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel told colleagues on Tuesday.
Emanuel returned to Capitol Hill on Tuesday to briefly say goodbye to his colleagues in the House. During that visit, he announced he would be giving them a parting gift to remember him by: $100,000 from his own campaign account.
The combined pledge of $600,000 will be a nice start as Maryland Rep. Chris Van Hollen looks to erase whatever debt the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee racked up down the stretch. More importantly, it's also a sign of goodwill from the White House to congressional Democrats, now that the two sides will need each other more than ever.
During his remarks in the Cannon Caucus Room, Emanuel also addressed fears that Democrats would lose seats in two years and back-to-back wave elections, according to people in the closed-door session. The president-elect's new chief of staff pointed out that Democrats picked up nine seats in 1934 after picking up 150 seats combined in the previous two election cycles - 1930 and 1932.
"Now, our most marginal members are battle-tested," Emanuel said, according to the notes of one attendee. "If we do what we are supposed to do, 2010 will look like 1934 and not 1994."