Obama: Emanuel Would Make 'Terrific' Mayor

September 9, 2010

Rahm Emanuel. (AP/Charles Dharapak)


White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel hasn't officially announced whether he plans to run for mayor of Chicago. But he's already picking up high-profile support from Washington. President Barack Obama glowed when asked by ABC News if Emanuel would make a good mayor.

"I think he would be an excellent mayor," the president told ABC's George Stephanopoulos in a interview that will be broadcast Thursday.

But according to a transcript of the interview, the president quickly added he didn't expect Emanuel to make a decision until after the midterm elections.

"I think right now, as long as he is in the White House, he is critically focused on making sure that we're creating jobs for families around the country and rebuilding our economy," the president said, according to a transcript of the interview.  "And you know, the one thing I've always been impressed with about Rahm is that when he has a job to do, he focuses on the job in front of him."

Speculation as to Emanuel's next step has run wild since April, when he said in an interview that someday he'd like to be Chicago's next mayor. He later dialed back those comments, saying he would not run against Chicago Mayor Richard Daley if he chose to try for seventh term.

Emanuel issued an e-mailed statement Tuesday following Daley's announcement, saying it "surprised" him.  But he did not close the door on a mayoral run of his own.

 If, indeed, Emanuel does wait until after November's elections to make a declaration, he'd only have until February to sell himself to Chicago voters.