President Obama’s former chief of staff delivered a defense of the president and went on offense against one Republican presidential candidate in particular. 

Rahm Emanuel left congress to work for Obama, then left the White House to become mayor of Chicago. He was the keynote speaker tonight at the Iowa Democratic Party’s annual fall fundraising banquet and Emanuel spent nearly half of  his 23-minute speech criticizing Mitt Romney. 

“Mitt Romney says he’s a man of steadiness and consistency and if that’s true, I’m a linebacker for the Chicago Bears,” Emanuel said.

Emanuel began his speech by criticizing the entire GOP field.

“I never thought I’d say this — I’m beginning to miss the wisdom of Sarah Palin,” Emanuel said. “Their debate was called the Thanksgiving Family Forum which is fitting because I’ve never seen a greater collection of turkeys.”

Emanuel reminded the audience of Iowa Democrats of the promises then-Illinois Senator Barack Obama had outlined in a speech at the same event back in 2007, mentioning first Obama’s pledge to end the war.

“That is the change we believed in, that is the change we worked for and that is the change our president delivered,” Emanuel said.

Iowa’s three Democratic congressmen spoke briefly to the crowd. Former Iowa First Lady Christie Vilsack spoke as well, for about two-and-a-half minutes. She hopes to challenge Republican Congressman Steve King next November.

Find the audio of the speeches from Emanuel and Vilsack here.