Watch CBSN Live

White House Staff Gives Rahm Emanuel Dead Fish as Parting Gift

Rahm Emanuel listens during President Obama's meeting with King Abdullah of Jordan, Tuesday, April 21, 2009. AP

Updated 5:55 p.m. ET

What a charming parting gift given to outgoing White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel at his final Senior Staff meeting this morning.

A dead fish.

Spokesman Robert Gibbs says it was presented to Emanuel by Austan Goolsbee, the new Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors.

"I talked to the policy team and we wanted to give you a going away present," Goolsbee is quoted by Gibbs as telling the morning meeting of top White House aides.

Goolsbee said the staff wanted to give Emanuel "something to show how we feel about you, but also shows we understand your new possibilities."

Emanuel unwrapped the present and immediately recognized what it was: "This is a dead fish," he reportedly declared.

Actually, it was more than that, explained Goolsbee.

The fish given to Rahm Emanuel, Oct. 1, 2010 Getty Images

""To most people it looks like a dead fish, but to a future Mayor of Chicago, it looks like a dead Asian Carp."

(a picture of the fish is at left.)

The Asian Carp is the bloodthirsty, voracious and irrepressible species of fish that Chicago is trying to keep from using its waterways to reach Lake Michigan.

"In Chicago," said Gibbs, "this is how friends say goodbye."

Or as Sean Connery famously said in The Untouchables: "That's - the Chicago Way."

More coverage:

Rahm Emanuel Out, Pete Rouse In - But Don't Expect Much to Change at the White House
Rahm Emanuel WH Departure to Become Official
Pete Rouse, Insider's Insider, Replacing Emanuel
The Inside Scoop on Rahm Emanuel
Former Bush Chief of Staff on Emanuel's Exit
60 Minutes: Katie Couric Interviews Rahm Emanuel

Mark Knoller is a CBS News White House correspondent. You can read more of his posts in Hotsheet here. You can also follow him on Twitter here:
View CBS News In