Updated 01/10/12 – 5:04 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — Mayor Emanuel, who was White House Chief of Staff before Bill Daley, says Daley can leave the White House with his head held high for a job well done.
However, WBBM Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports, the mayor acknowledges Daley had a difficult tenure.
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The mayor called the chief of staff post the toughest job in America.
He also had a pointed rebuke for so-called “Washington insiders” who might have targeted Daley, after he was asked about the common perception of friction between Washington insiders and Chicagoans brought in by Obama.
Adviser David Axelrod tried to downplay that friction in a conversation with CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine, which is why it was a bit surprising to hear what Emanuel – who’s a bit of a Washington insider himself – had to say.
In Tuesday’s “The Hill,” a congressional newspaper, an unnamed Democratic congressional aide was quoted as saying “you almost need to be a Washington insider to have that job or it just doesn’t work.”
That comment seemed to strike a nerve with Emanuel.
“It was a little self-importance in my view,” Emanuel said. “What you’ve gotta know is loyalty – not a strong suit for Washington, I’ll tell you that. You’ve gotta know how to have a president’s back – not a strong suit from Washington.”
“What you’ve also gotta know is policy,” Emanuel added. “And I’ll tell you this … when it comes to knowing how to reform government and the policy that goes with it, I’d rather it come outside of Washington than from inside. What you’ve gotta know is politics and I think Chicago can teach Washington something about politics.”
Emanuel also went out of his way to praise Daley’s work as Obama’s chief of staff.
“Politics, press and policy … you’ve got to be able to work at all three of them and Bill did a good job,” Emanuel said.
Daley resigned on Monday, saying he wanted to spend more time with his family. He also will play a role in President Obama’s re-election campaign.
Daley lasted just over a year in the job. Emanuel lasted almost two years.
Emanuel made a point of detailing, president by president, the number of chiefs of staff each president has burned through. He blamed the rigors of the job rather than the long knives in Washington for the short tenures of most chiefs of staff.
The mayor said he’s spoken with Bill Daley by phone. But sources said he won’t see him or Obama on Wednesday if Daley, as expected, accompanies the president to Chicago for a series of fundraisers.