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Emanuel Returns For Visit To White House

Emanuel And Obama

Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel talks with President Barack Obama in the White House, for the first time since Emanuel stepped down from his post as White House chief of staff to run for mayor. (Credit: White House Press Office)

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UPDATED 03/04/11 12:45 p.m.

WASHINGTON (CBS) – Mayor-elect and former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel was back in Washington Friday, to pay his first visit to President Barack Obama since the mayoral election.

As CBS 2’s Mike Puccinelli reports, from family and political strategy to the Blackhawks – who themselves will be coming to the White House later this month – the men had plenty to talk about. The content of their discussion was not immediately learned.

It was Emanuel’s first visit to the White House since he left in order to run for mayor.

Back in October, Emanuel resigned as Chief of Staff and left Washington after a very public send off ceremony. Although President didn’t endorse Emanuel outright, it was clear he had his support.

Obama called the office of mayor of Chicago one “for which he is extraordinarily well qualified.”

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Emanuel has said that he has remained in touch with President Obama throughout the campaign. His closeness with the first family was evident Thursday while talking about food deserts, as he referred to the First Lady by her first name.

“Because of bringing the attention that Michelle…” Emanuel caught himself, “the First Lady, has – I apologize for that – the first lady. Moment of familiarity.”

Emanuel will spend the next two weekends in the nation’s capital, where his children have to finish up the school year. He’s not set to be sworn in as mayor until May 16.

But that hasn’t stopped the politics.

On Thursday, Emanuel was forced to answer questions about a little known group called For a Better Chicago, which has been funneling money toward pro-business candidates that it believes will support the new mayor’s agenda.

The Chicago Tribune published an article Thursday about For a Better Chicago, which was created after Mayor Richard M. Daley announced this past September that her was retiring. Political Consultant Greg Goldner heads up the group, and told the newspaper his organization is “very supportive” of Emanuel, but has not been directly connected to his campaign.

Later Thursday, Emanuel said he is independent of the group.

“The candidates I’ll support will be candidates I’ll support because they endorse an agenda for reform and change, and the things that I laid out in the election, and I’m going to be doing that individually my way,” Emanuel said.

For a Better Chicago has donated more than $400,000 to aldermanic candidates it likes. One candidate who received $10,000 from the group now says she no longer wants the money.

Emanuel says the group should reveal who its donors are.

In his Perspective Thursday night, CBS 2’s Walter Jacobson also called for scrutiny of the group.