Reporting from Washington — President Obama acknowledged Monday that Rahm Emanuel’s time in the West Wing may be coming to an end, as his chief of staff moves closer to a run for mayor of Chicago.
"I think that Rahm will have to make a decision quickly,” the president said in an interview with NBC’s Matt Lauer. “Running for mayor of Chicago is a serious enterprise, and I know this is something he is thinking about.”
Obama said Emanuel has not communicated any decision to him yet but that “as soon as he does, I’m sure that we’ll announce it.”
Emanuel, a former Chicago-area congressman, has been meeting with other potential candidates in recent weeks, sharing private polling to signal his strength as a would-be candidate.
Asked if he would endorse Emanuel should he run, Obama said it was too soon to discuss that.
“I have said that I think he would be an excellent mayor, but until he makes a decision, I’m not going to be making decisions about how I’m going to approach it,” he said.
The filing deadline for candidates in the mayoral race is Nov. 22.
Obama's comments came during an interview otherwise focused on the subject of education, in which he touted his administration's Race to the Top program. He also announced a new goal of recruiting 10,000 science and math teachers in the next two years, saying nothing could be more important to the future of the nation's economy.