Rahm Emanuel Barack Obama


Mayor Rahm Emanuel is the big-name, main attraction/host at a late night party this Monday—the day that will see Obama’s official swearing in, the parade, and the inaugural balls.

The Rahm event is described as a “Chicago-style afterhours.” It's not clear what that means, although the "special guests" of blues musician Keb’ Mo’, Buddy Guy and Ronnie Baker Brooks, both have deep Chicago roots.

Dubbed the “Midnight Underground” and slated for downtown DC’s trendy Hamilton Crowne Plaza Hotel, close to the White House, Rahm’s party promises to bear little resemblance to the two official,  formal, fusty inaugural balls. (Retired society/gossip columnist Diana McLellan recalled for the New York Times's Bob Morris the official ball of Jimmy Carter, at which the only food provided was peanuts. She described it as “like going to hell.”)

For starters, no one who attends the Midnight Underground” will be home at 9:30 pm to catch the news and be asleep by 10:30. The Rahm-hosted celebration starts at 11 pm, and, according to the invite, goes until 3 am.

Still, what makes Rahm’s party “Chicago-style,” besides the entertainment, remains to be seen. None of the party’s “co-hosts”—all Presidential Inaugural Committee co-chairs—could be classified as a genuine Chicagoan. What they do share: they raised lots of money for Obama’s reelection.

A selected few:  

Mathew Barzun, a New Yorker by birth and reared in Massachusetts, who lives in Louisville. Barzun serves as Obama’s reelection campaign’s national finance chairman, and bundler extraordinaire; he's a former ambassador to Sweden who is rumored to by vying with Anna Wintour to take over from Obama’s first-term pick for the Court of St. James, Chicago banker/bundler Lou Susman.

Eva Longoria, Texas born actress, philanthropist, Obama for American Campaign cochair, and major Hollywood bundler for Barack.

Jane Watson Stetson, the DNC’s national finance chair, granddaughter of IBM founder Thomas Watson, and daughter of Arthur Watson, who was once the US Ambasador to France.

(Other cohosts are Jim Messina, Julianna Smoot, Frank White, Patrick Gaspard, Rufus Gifford, Stephanie Cutter, and Jen O’Malley Dillon.)

Rahm will also be in DC on Saturday; he’ll speak at the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Watch for remarks on gun violence and, one can only hope, his thoughts for solutions to the escalating death toll in Chicago.


Photograph: The White House