(CNN) – President Barack Obama has a message for his chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel:
It's time to make up your mind on running for mayor of Chicago.
"Rahm will have to make a decision quickly, because running for mayor in Chicago is a serious enterprise, and I know this is something he's thinking about," Obama told NBC's Matt Lauer Monday morning, adding that his top aide had yet to tell him whether he intended to seek the post long held by Richard Daley.
Asked if he would endorse an Emanuel mayoral bid, Obama said it's too soon to make that decision.
"I have said 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."
Two people close to Emanuel told CNN's Ed Henry there is now a good chance the top White House aide will step down from his post as early as October to focus full-time on running for Mayor of Chicago.
There is some urgency to the situation because candidates must gather 12,500 signatures by Nov. 22 ahead of the Feb. 22 primary in the race. But the people close to Emanuel stressed to CNN that the chief of staff has not made a firm decision yet to run for Mayor, though these sources did indicate that the former Congressman from Chicago has all but decided to take the plunge
One person close to Emanuel added that the highly-respected White House
Deputy Chief of Staff Pete Rouse is the favorite to take over as chief of staff on a temporary basis in order to give President Obama more time to find a long-term replacement. But other people with knowledge of the situation said it is too early to determine who will replace Emanuel short-term or long-term because the process is so fluid at this point.