Obama says White House chief of staff quits

11:28, October 02, 2010      

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U.S. President Barack Obama (R) applauds outgoing White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel (L), while Obama's new interim chief of staff Pete Rouse looks on, in the East Room of the White House in Washington D.C., capital of the United States, Oct. 1, 2010. (Xinhua/Zhang Jun)
U.S. President Barack Obama announced on Friday that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel would leave his job in Washington.

Emanuel's stepping down went into effect immediately after the announcement. He is expected to run for mayor of Chicago.

"It is fair to say we could not have accomplished what we accomplished without Rahm's leadership," Obama said at the White House. "He just brings an unmatched level of energy and enthusiasm and commitment to every single thing that he does."

Pete Rouse, Obama's chief of staff when he served in the U.S. Senate and currently a senior advisor to the president, will serve as Emanuel's interim replacement.

Neither Obama nor Emanuel made an explicit announcement that Emanuel will run for mayor of Chicago. But there's no secret that the 50-year-old Chicago-born Emanuel, who was a U.S. Representative from Illinois before he became White House chief of staff, covets the Chicago mayorship. The current mayor, Richard Daley, announced he's not running for reelection in 2011. His term ends May 16 next year.

"I'm energized by the prospect of new challenges, and eager to see what I can do to make our hometown even greater," said Emanuel.

Emanuel is known for his strong and aggressive personality that has earned him the nickname "Rahmbo." He is said to have sent a dead fish in a box to a pollster who was late delivering polling results. While Rouse, who has worked on Capitol Hill for more than 30 years, behaves in a more quiet and gentle style.

"Obviously these two men have slightly different styles," said Obama. "Pete has never seen a microphone or a TV camera that he likes."

There has been several announcements of departure among top officials in the Obama administration, including budget director Peter R. Orszag, who left in late July, and economist Lawrence Summers, who will leave his post as director of the National Economic Council at the end of the year.

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