Obama also jokingly praised Emanuel for his efforts shoveling snow in the wake of some massive recent snowfalls in Chicago. Emanuel has been seen around Chicago helping clear up the snow, something Obama said he never saw his one-time aide do in Washington.
Chicagoans vote for mayor on Feb. 22. It's Obama's hometown, and the president and his wife still vote there by absentee ballot.
The president spoke at a White House news conference Tuesday.