Not even 24 hours after NBC broke the news of Rahm Emanuel’s departure, President Barack Obama opened this morning’s announcement with, “Good morning and welcome to the least suspenseful announcement of all time.”
The President came to praise his former Chief of Staff through his efforts on health care reform and leading the White House’s staff through these turbulent times. “We’re also losing a comparable elader of our staff and one who we’re going to miss very much,” the President said. “When I first started assembling this administration I knew we were going to face some of the most difficult years our country has seen in years.”
“In my mind there was no candidate for the chief of staff to meet the bill as well as Rahm Emanuel. That’s why I told him he had no choice to be the man, he had no way to say no.”
The announcement remained a cordial, yet sad, affair that brought out a different type of emotional response from the departing Chief of Staff. Pete Rouse, an aide to former Senator Tom Daschle and President Obama’s Chief of Staff in the Senate, will take over in the interim.
“There’s a saying around the White House. ‘Let’s let Pete fix it,'” said Obama. “And he does.”
Over at CNN, Ed Henry explains who Rouse is.
“Obviously these two gentlemen have slightly different styles. I mentioned for example, this was a couple of years ago, I pointed out Rahm when he was a kid had lost part of his finger in an accident–it was his middle finger. It rendered him mute for a while. Pete has never seen a microphone or TV camera that he likes. And yet, there’s something in common. As President you get both the credit and the blame for what happens around here. The blame is usually deserved, or at least I accept it for what happens around here. But the credit goes to the people that work in this building, the people like Rahm and Pete,” Obama said. “Let me take this moment to remind you how proud I am of you and how particularly proud I am of you, my outgoing chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel.”
As Emanuel took the podium, he almost seemed like the opposite of the man who received and sent an Asian carp from the White House staff according to the National Journal.
“Needless to say, this is a bittersweet day for me too,” Emanuel said. “I’m excited to be heading home to Chicago, which is the greatest city in the world.”
Through a surprisingly emotional thank you to the people within the White House to the press corps that’s covered him, Emanuel received a send-off that Andrea Mitchell noted “seemed fit for a head of state.”
“Mr. President, thank you. I look forward to seeing you all in Chicago,” Rahm said and left the podium to thunderous applause from the assembled press.