Ward Room
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Emanuel Defends Friendship with First Lady

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Despite allegations from a new book about the Obamas, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said he has a "great relationship with the president and First Lady."

In response to reports about alleged bad blood between him and First Lady Michelle Obama, Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Sunday told reporters he's happy to call the Obamas friends.

"I know what I know, I know the truth," Emanuel said during an unrelated press conference. "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."

A book debuting Tuesday about the life of Barack and Michelle Obama, titled "The Obamas," alleges that then-Chief of Staff Emanuel tried to micro-manage the First Lady, often putting the kibosh on vacations and shopping trips to preserve the president's image.

But Emanuel disputed those allegations Sunday, saying he has a “great relationship with the president and First Lady.”

No tension was noticed last fall when Michelle Obama visited Chicago for the mayor's food desert conference. The First Lady appeared supportive of the city's initiative, in line with her own anti-obesity program.

Emanuel wrote off the allegations and said he doesn't read "those books."

"There's tension between me and the aldermen," Emanuel joked.

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