Obama bids farewell to Rahm, appoints Rouse in the interim

Holly Bailey
The Upshot

As expected, President Obama announced Friday morning that Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel is exiting the White House to run for mayor of Chicago. He will be replaced in the interim with longtime Obama staffer Pete Rouse. (Who is Rouse? Read our primer from Thursday.)

"Welcome to the least suspenseful announcement of all time," Obama joked, as he went before a roomful of staffers and Cabinet members in the East Room.

The president praised Emanuel as a "one of a kind" staffer, a "selfless public servant"  he had been able to count on "day and night." "We could not have accomplished what we have accomplished without Rahm's leadership," Obama said.

Obama did not use the moment to formally endorse Emanuel's bid for mayor. Administration officials have not said whether Obama will endorse or campaign for his outgoing chief of staff.

In introducing Rouse, Obama called him one of his "closest and most essential advisers." "There is a saying around the White House … 'Let's let Pete fix it,'" Obama said. "We have of a lot of problems to fix." During the announcement, Rouse stood to the far left of the stage, almost out of camera range.

It was not immediately clear how long Rouse will be in the job. Obama said he would serve "as we enter the next phase of our administration."

In his final staff meeting Friday morning, Emanuel was given the gift of a dead Asian carp wrapped in copies of the Chicago Sun Times and Chicago Tribune. (Check out the photo here, via the Chicago Sun-Times' Lynn Sweet.) The gift was a nod to the oft-told story of how Emanuel, in a move inspired by "The Godfather," once sent a dead fish wrapped in newspaper to a pollster who angered him.

(Photo of Obama and Emanuel: Susan Walsh/AP)