"Welcome to the least suspenseful announcement of all time," President Obama said as he took the podium in the White House's East Room, flanked by Rahm Emanuel and Pete Rouse.
"As almost all of you have reported, my chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, has informed me that he will be leaving his post today to explore"--Obama paused and gave the audience a knowing look --"other opportunities. This is a bittersweet day here at the White House. On the one hand, we are all very excited for Rahm as he takes on a new challenge for which he is extraordinarily qualified. But we are also losing an incomparable leader of our staff and one we are going to miss very much."
At no point during the announcement did Obama or Emanuel directly mention Emanuel's mayoral campaign in Chicago, though they referenced it obliquely many times. Rahm grinned throughout Obama's remarks and as he expressed his excitement to head home to Chicago. "I'm eager to see what I can do to make our hometown even greater," Emanuel said. "These are unprecedented and great times in Chicago, Mr. President--the Chicago Bears are 3 and 0."
Both men made the usual Rahm cracks--Obama telling the story of Rahm's injured middle finger rendering him "mute," and Emanuel telling his colleagues, "I'm sure you've learned some words you didn't know before, and an assortment of words."