By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Two days after the mayoral primary, Mayor Nutter met at City Hall today with the man who hopes to succeed him, Democratic nominee Jim Kenney.

And Nutter formally endorsed Kenney, despite Kenney’s frequent criticisms of Nutter’s administration.

“I wanted to welcome my friend back to City Hall,” said the mayor, all smiles as he greeted Kenney.

Nutter — who stayed out of the primary — today formally endorsed Kenney in the general election.  In turn, Kenney offered dollops of praise to Nutter.

“His real legacy is the salvation of the city during the worst economic crisis in the world’s history,” Kenney said today.

But Kenney was a frequent critic of Nutter during the past seven years, and Nutter was asked today if it bothered him that Kenney emerged victorious on Tuesday.

“No,” the mayor replied.  “I’m sure I was absolutely known to be a major pain in the ass to the two mayors that I worked under (while) in City Council. It’s a free country.  Both of us have very strong opinions about a variety of issues. We come from very similar places in terms of focus and how we arrived at public service in the first place.” (Nutter and Kenney both attended St. Joseph’s Prep as teens).

Such clashes, the mayor said, are to be expected.

“You put two decently smart people together, and from time to time they’re going to agree on a bunch of a things, and sometimes they’ll disagree on some things, and sometimes disagree loudly. That’s the nature of our business.”

For his part, Kenney voiced a bit of regret of his often-heated criticisms of the mayor:

“Sometimes I was maybe inartful in my expressions to him,” Kenney admitted. “But the thing that I’ve learned over the course of this campaign is that discipline prevails.  Governing is never a perfect science.  It’s somewhat of an art form also.”

Kenney said there are some Nutter administration initiatives that he hopes to carry forward, and some people — including the current inspector general, Amy Kurland, whom he hopes to retain if elected in November.

And Nutter, with only a hint of humor, urged Kenney to continue one key practice: keeping reporters waiting.

“No matter what time you announce a press conference for, be somewhere between six to eight minutes late,” the mayor advised his likely successor.  Then, to the bemused reporters he added, “The councilman fully agrees with that policy, and I look forward to further discussions in that regard.”