WASHINGTON (CBS) — Mayor Rahm Emanuel visited the White House on Friday, for a chat in the Oval Office with his former boss, President Barack Obama.
CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine caught up with the mayor in Washington.
Emanuel often makes unannounced visits to the White House and Friday’s was one of them. They’re billed as meetings with government officials, but with this mayor and this White House, you know they’re going to include a meeting with the president.
Asked if the post-election has worn off, more than a week after Obama was elected to a second term, Emanuel offered his trademark grin.
“I’m not gonna … We had a good meeting … with my friend, our president, and we had a very good meeting, that’s all I’ll say,” Emanuel said. “You won an election, you won a second term; and since he’s motivated by making sure the middle class are strong going forward, as he said, there’s nothing but opportunity ahead to make sure that’s done.”
The president’s focus on the economy and upcoming battles over taxes and spending is obvious.
The mayor knows those battles well. Many in Washington remember him as Obama’s former chief of staff, and that connection to the president is undoubtedly his clout, which doesn’t hurt when lobbying for projects for Chicago with other government officials.
Emanuel also met with Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, and Energy Secretary Steven Chu; but the mayor declined to provide any details of what was discussed.
“We had good meetings, went over a number of items for the city to continue to build our infrastructure to make sure that we have a 21st century economy that’s running on a 21st century foundation,” he said. “We had a good, productive meeting.”
The mayor said the city’s ability to get federal funding for infrastructure projects would be essential to achieving those goals.
“We were talking about things important for the city’s economic future, and its economic competitiveness to create jobs back home,” he added. “We had a couple things that you will see – in coming months ahead – that will be helpful to the city. … It’s all about transportation and energy.”
Friday’s visit, just 10 days after Obama’s re-election, underscored something the mayor has said all along, about Chicago’s access to the White House and government officials: that they remain unmatched and invaluable.