Washington (CNN) – The smart money in Washington and Chicago, Illinois, says it's all but a certainty that within weeks Rahm Emanuel will throw his hat into the ring to replace retiring Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley. So the parlor game over who will replace Emanuel as White House chief of staff has already kicked into high gear.
I've been hitting the phones and working the BlackBerry since Daley announced his plans to step down, and a clear consensus has emerged among top strategists within the Democratic party: Two White House aides - Tom Donilon and Ron Klain - are the clear front-runners to take over Emanuel's office just steps from the Oval Office.
But also pay close attention to a name you have not heard much about yet, but that could end up being the surprise pick: Phil Schiliro. Schiliro doesn't grab a lot of headlines but has a huge fan in the president himself and could wind up shocking the political world by snagging the top job.