Obama: Rahm Emanuel Would be "Excellent" Chicago Mayor

White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel listens during President Barack Obama's meeting with King Abdullah of Jordan, Tuesday, April 21, 2009, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) Gerald Herbert

White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel
Gerald Herbert

President Obama expressed support for a possible run for Chicago mayor by his chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, in an interview with ABC News that aired today.

Asked if Emanuel would have the president's "blessing" were he to enter the race to replace outgoing mayor Richard Daley, the president replied, "I think he would be an excellent mayor."

The president went on to say that Emanuel is an excellent chief of staff and is currently focused on his job in the White House. He anticipated that Emanuel would make a decision on entering the race after the midterm elections on November 2. (He would have to file to run by November 22.)

"He knows that we've got a lot of work to do," Mr. Obama said. "But I think he'd be a terrific mayor."

White House senior adviser David Axelrod said in an interviewwith CBS Radio News yesterday that Emanuel would be "a great mayor because he's a larger than life personality, a personality who loves the city. He's not afraid to make decisions and to tackle hard problems."

Daley's surprise announcement earlier this week that he would not seek another term immediately prompted speculation about a run by Emanuel, who said earlier this year, "if Mayor Daley doesn't [seek reelection], one day I would like to run for mayor of the city of Chicago."

Emanuel is reportedly testing the waters about a run, and he would be a formidable candidate thanks to his fundraising ability, $1.2 million war chest left over from his time in Congress, and ability to attract top-level staffers and intense media coverage.

But he will also be hampered, if he enters the race, by his current outsider status in Chicago as well as the less-than-warm feeling he engenders among many potentially-pivotal voting blocks.

"Emanuel has managed to infuriate national leaders of four constituencies critical to winning the keys to City Hall: blacks, Hispanics, unions and liberals," Politico reports. "All, in some form, blame him for personally thwarting their top goals, whether on jobs programs, immigration or the health reform bill."


Brian Montopoli is a political reporter for CBSNews.com. You can read more of his posts here. Follow Hotsheet on Facebook and Twitter.

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