Dem boss Mike Madigan touts Mayor Rahm Emanuel for president of the United States 2016 or beyond

House Speaker Mike Madigan, D-Chicago, smiles as he talks to a staff member in the final hours of session Saturday, July 24, 2004, at the State Capitol in Springfield, Ill. (AP Photo/Randy Squires)
September 4, 2012 2:49:20 PM PDT
At the National Conference of Mayors lunch there was no doubt: if you can run a big American city you've got the skills to be president.

"When you're mayor of New York, LA or Chicago, you're like running a country. We have economies the size of nations," said Antonio Villaraigosa, mayor of Los Angeles.

So when Mayor Rahm Emanuel speaks to the Democratic National Convention delegates as well as his fellow mayors will size him up for the party's national ticket, 2016 or beyond.

"Oh, I think clearly that Rahm Emanuel has the potential to be the president of the United States," said Rep. Mike Madigan (D) Ill. Democratic chairman.

Madigan points to the Emanuel resume: prolific fundraiser, senior adviser to President Clinton, U.S. Congressman, Democratic Congressional campaign committee chairman, White House chief of staff and mayor of the nation's third largest city.

"If he chooses to run for president of the United States, that clearly is a possibility for him," Madigan said.

"I wouldn't put it outside the realm of his interest level," said U.S. Rep Danny Davis (D-Chicago).

"I think he can do what he chooses to do. And if that's what he chooses to do let's see where it takes him," said Ill. Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie (D-Hyde Park).

Others say Emanuel, with a so-far intractable violent crime problem and teachers' union troubles in Chicago, has to prove himself as mayor before pursuing any national ambition.

"You can have a lot of the credentials but you have to prove up to the American people in order to make it up to the next level," said Ald. Will Burns, 4th Ward.

The 51-year-old father of three children insists he has no interest in returning to Washington. And many Chicago Democrats take him at his word:

"He loves the job. I don't believe he has national ambitions. I hope not. I hope he stays in Chicago as the mayor," said John Cullerton (D) Illinois Senate president.

And then there's Mike Quigley who took Emanuel's seat in Congress.

"As Rahm moves up, I tend to move into his place. So if Rahm wants to move up and become something in the future, vice president, The natural succession seems to be something that looks good for me," Quigley said.


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