US President Barack Obama announced the resignation of high-profile chief of staff Rahm Emanuel to pursue a run for Chicago mayor on Friday in a prelude to a wider staff shake-up expected at the White House.
Obama replaced the blunt-spoken Emanuel as White House chief of staff with low-key senior adviser Pete Rouse, sticking with an insider for the time being with November 2 congressional elections coming up.
Obama gave star treatment to Emanuel, who helped shepherd through the Congress Obama’s $814 billion stimulus and his overhauls of US healthcare and financial regulations.
Obama used the expansive White House East Room for the ceremony, essentially giving Emanuel huge media attention as he leaves to seek to become mayor of the Midwestern city they both call home.
“He just brings an unmatched level of energy and enthusiasm and commitment to every single thing that he does,” Obama said of Emanuel.
Rouse, 64, is one of Obama’s longest-serving aides, working for him since Obama was a US senator from Illinois, and was previously chief of staff to Democrat Tom Daschle when he was a senator. Rouse is a relatively quiet operator compared to Emanuel, who is famous for his colourful language.
“Obviously these two men have slightly different styles,” Obama joked. “Pete has never seen a microphone or a TV camera that he likes.”