Emanuel: No friction with Obamas

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel denied there was friction between himself, President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama. 

In response to a report in a new book, Emanuel told the Chicago Sun-Times that he had a "great relationship with the president and first lady" while he was serving as Obama's chief of staff. Emanuel's comments come in response to The Obamas, which reported a rift between Emanuel and the president and first lady.

The book, written by New York Times correspondent Jodi Kantor, reported that Emanuel's relationship with Michelle Obama was "distant" and "awkward" at times.

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Emanuel added that he had recently been at a private holiday event with the president and first lady. He stressed that he and his wife, Amy, considered the first family close friends.

"I talked to the president just yesterday," Emanuel said, according to the Chicago newspaper on Sunday. "I know what I know, which is the truth. And I’m very proud to have worked for the president and the first lady, and Amy and I are very proud to call them friends."

The White House has strongly pushed back on reports in Kantor's book that describe the Obama White House as a site of high tension between the first lady and members of Obama's senior staff.

"I think the first lady and her staff worked very well when I was there with the West Wing," David Axelrod, former senior White House adviser and now a top Obama reelection campaign strategist, said Sunday. "She’s a sensational person."