A rep for Congressman Steve Israel is denying a report of ugly backroom politics where White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel laid down the gauntlet and threatened that the Obama administration would essentially squash his campaign if Israel went ahead and challenged Kirsten Gillibrand in the Democratic Senate primary next year. The fascinating article in City Hall News said that Israel was "1,000 percent in" to run until meeting with Emanuel, who allegedly said that Chuck Schumer would steer big donors clear of the congressman and Obama was "prepared to barnstorm through New York’s black neighborhoods hand-in-hand with (Gillibrand)." The report says that the White House was doing a favor for a Democratic Senate trying to maximize 2010 funding in an effort to hold onto their current supermajority with some room to spare. A spokesman for Chuck Schumer admits the senator had "a friendly conversation" with the potential candidate before he called off his campaign last week. City Hall stands behind their piece, which also paints Emanuel and Israel as old friends who share a love of New York bagels.