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Emanuel, Burke Bury Hatchet With A Gift, Embrace

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Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Ald. Ed Burke embrace at city council. (CBS)

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Ald. Ed Burke embrace at city council. (CBS)

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UPDATED 05/18/11 6:43 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — It was a day of firsts at City Hall, including the first face-to-face meeting between the new mayor and his arch aldermanic rival on the floor of the city council chambers.

And, nobody really knew what expect when Mayor Rahm Emanuel and veteran powerbroker, Ald. Ed Burke, walked into the room.

CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine reports that they said all the right things and made all the right gestures.

But whether this is a lasting peace–and the beginning of a true partnership– is too early to tell.

It was just after 11 a.m. when they buried the hatchet, with a gift.

Ald. Burke presented the mayor with a new gavel to call council meetings to order.

A few minutes later, Emanuel left the podium, and headed straight for Burke, as months of speculation about whether they’d be friends or foes ended with an embrace.

“I wanted to [personally show] appreciation for the gift, and the thought that went into it, but also for the spirit of cooperation as it relates to change,” Emanuel said.

Burke, for his part, also played the role of peacemaker.

“Chicago has too many problems to face and to solve, not to have everybody pulling the wagon in the same direction,” he said.

Burke had offered the olive branch as what he called “a gesture of good will” on behalf of his council colleagues.

Emanuel remained standing for the entire two-hour meeting. When we asked why, he explained that’s what the Speaker did when he was in Congress.

He was guided step by step by outgoing Corporation Counsel Mara Georges, and appeared relaxed, nodding, smiling, and occasionally venturing down to greet individual aldermen at their desks.

He returned their good wishes with praise of his own.

“I actually believe that by working together, being honest with each other, facing the choices we have to make, we can handle these challenges,” Emanuel said.

Ald. Ricardo Munoz is hopeful that Emanuel is willing to work with him.

“We will know in the next hundred days,” he said.

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