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 Von Drehle also outlines how Emanuel's aggressive efforts – often at odds with his Democratic base – could prove to be a proxy for a broader fight nationwide over the identity of the Democratic Party.

Mark Seliger photographed Rahm Emanuel for TIME on the L train platform in Chicago for the cover.

Emanuel talks to TIME about clashes with the teachers' union and other powerful labor groups: "It’s not a strategy the old Rahm would have advised a candidate to follow." He has risked political backlash, he says, because he “will not shortchange our students.”

On the Benghazi, IRS and Justice Department scandals: "Congress has a job to do with oversight. But if your oversight becomes overly political, the public gets turned off. Not that this White House needs saving, but that’s where the Republicans are saving the White House."

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