WASHINGTON-- President Obama praised mayoral hopeful Rahm Emanuel during a brief session in the Oval Office on Friday with four Chicago reporters.
"I think he would make an excellent mayor and he would bring an incredible energy to the job," Obama said in a meeting where the conversation was off the record except for a few comments about Emanuel. Obama met with the Chicago reporters shortly after he formally announced Emanuel's departure from his administration as White House chief of staff.
Obama's comment on Friday echoed words he used in an interview a few weeks ago when he was asked about Emanuel running for mayor.
The reporters who met with Obama In the Oval Office have covered him for years, including the Washington based Lynn Sweet, Washington Bureau Chief, Chicago Sun-Times and Christi Parsons, White House correspondent, Chicago Tribune.
Two Chicago based reporters who flew to Washington to report on Emanuel's departure in the Oval Office session were Charles Thomas, WLS ABC7 political reporter and Mike Flannery, Chicago Fox News political reporter.
OBAMA IN CHICAGO OCT. 7
Obama hits Chicago on Oct. 7 to headline a fund-raiser for Democratic Illinois Senate nominee Alexi Giannoulias, a long-time friend and basketball buddy.
While Obama is clearly hustling for Giannoulias--Oct. 7 will mark the second Obama visit to Chicago for him--don't take Obama's lavish praise of Emanuel as a formal endorsement.
At Friday's briefing, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs was asked if "the president (was) going to campaign for Rahm in Chicago."
Said Gibbs, I don't -- I don't believe any -- I don't have anything on that. I don't -- I don't know the answer to that, to be honest with you. I think -- I mean, obviously the president was -- you've heard what the president said over the past several weeks and what the president said today about Rahm and his next endeavors."