“Welcome to the least suspenseful announcement of all time,” began the press statement of President Barack Obama, confirming what many had long suspected: Rahm Emanuel is leaving as White House Chief of Staff. The former U.S. Representative from Illinois has long been considered to be a candidate for mayor of Chicago, although no official announcement has been made.
“We’re losing an incomparable leader of our staff and one that we are going to miss very much,” Obama said. “I am completely satisfied with the job he’s done.”
Emanuel showed a different side to the Rahm that Washington knows, a strong-arm politico with a penchant for profanity. Fighting back tears, he said, “My grandfather and my father sacrificed so much to come here so that we could have opportunities.”
Earlier in his career Emanuel had sent a dead fish to a pollster he disagreed with. The gesture was from the movie The Godfather and symbolizes “sleeping with the fishes.” At a staff meeting Friday morning Emanuel’s staff presented him with a dead fish. “In Chicago, this is how friends say goodbye,” said Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.
Emanuel’s interim replacement is Obama senior adviser Pete Rouse, who was at the President’s side during the announcement in the East Room. The President’s firebrand, controversial Chicago confidant will return to the Windy City to run for mayor following Richard M. Daley’s surprise announcement earlier this month that he will not seek reelection.