President Barack Obama turned to low-key insider Pete Rouse on Friday to replace high-profile chief of staff Rahm Emanuel. “Good morning, everybody, and welcome to the least suspenseful announcement of all time,” Obama quipped, with a smiling, winking Emanuel on one side, and a dour, bespectacled Rouse on the other.
“For nearly two years I have begun my workday with Rahm. I have ended my workday with Rahm,” Obama said, hailing Emanuel for his “unmatched level of energy and enthusiasm and commitment to every single thing that he does.” “I will miss him dearly,” Obama said, then noted the stark differences between the high-profile Emanuel and Rouse, a 62-year-old consummate insider.
“Obviously these two men have slightly different styles,” Obama joked. “Pete has never seen a microphone or a TV camera that he likes.” Rouse, who for now is serving on an interim basis, immediately proved Obama right, and made no remarks. Rouse, 64, is one of Obama’s longest-serving aides, working for him since Obama was a senator from Illinois. He was previously chief of staff to Democrat Tom Daschle when he was a senator, so influential that he was sometimes called “the 101st senator.” Rouse is a relatively quiet operator compared to Emanuel, a former congressman from Illinois who is famous for his colorful language.