Tales from the Trail

Rahm’s White House going away present – dead fish wrapped in newspaper

What do you get a guy who’s leaving the White House to run for Mayor of Chicago?

White House colleagues presented Rahm Emanuel with a dead Asian carp wrapped in Chicago newspapers at the morning meeting on his last day. fish

It was a symbol of two of the many political battles fought by the man who became President Barack Obama’s chief of staff — he once sent a dead fish to a pollster as a message of displeasure, and the other was his fight against the Asian carp threatening to invade the Great Lakes.

Our White House correspondent Steve Holland tells us that Austan Goolsbee gave it to Rahm at a senior staff meeting, saying, “I talked to the policy team and we wanted to give you a going away present—something to show how we feel about you but also shows we understand your new possibilities.  I was the natural go between—I voted for you all three times you ran for Congress and even in that first primary.  So here is your present.”

Emanuel opened it and said, “this is a dead fish!” And Goolsbee said, “to most people, it looks like a dead fish.  But to a future mayor of Chicago, it looks like a dead Asian Carp.  And you’ll be happy to know that it wasn’t easy to find one of these.”

Gibbs skillfully dances around Rahm question

The performance was worthy of “Dancing with the Stars.”

USA/Watching White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs waltz around the question  of whether White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel had decided to leave and run for mayor of Chicago was quite breathtaking.

Speculation was rife all week that President Barack Obama’s top enforcer would announce that he would leave by the weekend to run for Chicago Mayor, a job he’d always said he wanted.

All that remained was confirmation.

So when anonymous sources told reporters today that Rahm had made the decision and he was leaving, all anybody wanted was confirmation at the White House press briefing.

from Summit Notebook:

How do White House staff know when it’s time to leave?

SUMMIT-WASHINGTON/GIBBSIt's an age old question that even applies to senior staff working in the White House: At what point do you decide it's time to quit your job and move on?

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs predicted at the Reuters Washington Summit that some people working in the White House will soon decide they want to go back to a less hectic life. Especially those who worked on President Barack Obama's presidential campaign which lasted two grueling years.

"It's a tremendous privilege to come and work in that building each and every day," said Gibbs.