WASHINGTON--Chicago mayoral hopeful Rahm Emanuel, President Obama's former White House chief of staff, revealed Tuesday that throughout his campaign, he has talked to his former boss "regularly."
I know Obama is keeping tabs on the mayoral primary--the election is next Tuesday--and Emanuel during a campaign stop in Chicago told just how much they talk.
Last year, Obama and Emanuel mapped out a nonendorsement endorsement strategy--Obama gave Emanuel an Oct. 1 send-off from the White House where he spoke warmly about his top staffer. The event--orchestrated by Emanuel--gave Emanuel professionally staged audio and video for Emanuel to use in his campaign spots--and let Obama seem somewhat above the fray.
Emanuel was queried about Obama right after the president, during a press conference, was asked if he was making calls on Emanuel's behalf. There was interest in the matter since former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs dodged the question for weeks. Gibbs last briefing was Friday.
Obama on Tuesday morning never said yes or no, to the question, just riffed, "I don't have to make calls for Rahm Emanuel. He seems to be doing just fine on his own. And, you know, he's been very busy shoveling snow out there. And I've been very impressed with that. I never saw him shoveling around here."
Back in Chicago, Emanuel was asked about Obama's comment and said, "Well, you know, we talked last night, as we do regularly, and no, I think it's helped voters and it's helped me work...
"... I think the president, I know, appreciates this, this is for me to go earn. Fifty visits in fifty wards, making sure that the entire city knows that we're going to face our challenges together, we have tough decisions we're going to make, and they require somebody who's not afraid of being tough and is not afraid of making the tough decisions and leading people through some of those decisions. It's going to take a level of strength, resilience, and determination to see that through, and that's the character of the people of the city of Chicago.
"And I think, I agree with the president, to admit I'm fortunate to have worked with him, I'm fortune to have helped him usher in the changes I think the country needed, and I'm fortune enough to have to directly talk to the people of the city of Chicago what's important for our future here and I'm going to do that as I have done right now."