(CNN) - White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel has won the endorsement of a political heavyweight for his potential Chicago mayoral bid - President Obama.
In an interview airing Thursday on ABC, the president said his top aide would "be an excellent mayor."
"He is an excellent chief of staff," Obama said. "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."
But Obama made clear he expects Emanuel not to depart the White House until after the midterm elections on November 2, a timeframe that may leave the top White House aide with little time to lay the groundwork for a bid to lead America's third largest city.
The filing date to run is December 13 while the election will be held February 22.
Current mayor Richard Daley shocked Chicagoans earlier this week when he announced he would not seek another term. Daley has led the city since 1989.