Rahm Emanuel will resign tomorrow as President Barack Obama’s chief of staff in preparation for a campaign to become Chicago’s mayor, people familiar with the matter said.
He’ll be replaced at the White House, at least on an interim basis, by Peter Rouse, currently a senior presidential adviser who was Obama’s Senate chief of staff, one person with direct knowledge of White House plans said.
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs refused to confirm Emanuel’s resignation, while saying Obama would be making two personnel announcements tomorrow.
Emanuel, 50, was the first major appointment Obama announced after winning the presidency and has played a crucial role at the White House.
“The president starts his day with a meeting with Rahm and ends it with a meeting with Rahm,” Gibbs said. “His leadership, his energy has helped us accomplish so much.”
Emanuel will be the fourth top-level adviser to leave the White House since July. The Associated Press reported plans for the resignation earlier today.
He would be seeking to replace Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, who said Sept. 7 that he wouldn’t seek re-election to a seventh term. The last day to file nomination papers for the Feb. 22 mayoral election is Nov. 22.
Emanuel said in an April 19 interview on PBS television’s “Charlie Rose Show” that running for Chicago mayor has long been an aspiration of his, though he wouldn’t run against Daley. The Chicago mayor’s office has been held by the current Daley or his father, Richard J. Daley, for almost 43 of the past 55 years.
Emanuel still owns a house in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood, where he lived while he was a member of Congress representing a district that includes parts of the city and adjacent suburbs.
He worked as a fundraiser for Daley and then on the campaign of former President Bill Clinton. Emanuel was a senior adviser in Clinton’s administration. After leaving the White House in 1998, he spent three years in investment banking before running for Congress in 2002.
Rouse, 64, served as Obama’s chief of staff when the president served in the U.S. Senate, and before that was chief of staff to former Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle, where he earned the nickname “the 101st Senator.”
Rouse worked on Obama’s presidential campaign and was co- chairman of the transition team after the election and became a senior adviser to Obama at the White House.
“Pete has been with Senator-elect, Senator, President-elect and now President Obama,” Gibbs said.
Gibbs said the president and others at the White House have “enormous” respect for Rouse.
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