Photo: Rahm Emanuel
President Obama’s chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel stepped down Friday with praise from the president who called Emanuel “an incomparable leader” and said he would be missed by colleagues on this “bittersweet day here at the White House.”
Obama added, “It’s fair to say that we could not have accomplished what we’ve accomplished without Rahm’s leadership.”
While he did not mention his prospective campaign, Emanuel stepped down to run for mayor of Chicago as current mayor, Daley announced he is finished after the current year. In his speech, he praised the president for confronting what he called “some of the toughest challenges of out time.”
“You had the guts to make the tough calls that stopped the free fall and saved our country from a second Great Depression,” Emanuel said. “You’ve taken on some of the most powerful interests in this town to stand up for the American people. “
The now former chief of staff got emotional when he spoke of his family and immigrant ancestors, and received a standing ovation from the crowd.
“Thank you all,” he said. “I look forward to seeing you all in Chicago.”
Upon his departure, President Obama has named senior advisor Pete Rouse as Emanuel’s interim replacement saying he has already made many contributions, saying, “There’s a saying around the White House – ‘let’s let Pete fix it.’”
Low-key Rouse was present on the stage, but made no comments. Rouse had helped organize Obama’s presidential campaign and was his chief of staff during his time as Senator in Illinois.
Though Emanuel was choked up at times, he still expressed his close relationship with Obama with a joke saying, “I’m sure you’ve learned some words that you’ve never heard before, and assortment of combinations of words.” Referring of course, to his often-public profane and colorful language.