(CNN) – Rahm Emanuel left his post as White House Chief of Staff more than a year ago, but on Sunday the Chicago mayor waded back into presidential politics, saying his former boss’ reelection was far from a sure thing.
“There's no doubt there's a challenge politically because the economy is not where the American middle-class family needs it to be for their bottom line,” Emanuel said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Emanuel said the American people would hold President Barack Obama and other elected officials accountable for the faltering economy when they cast their votes in 2012.
“Everybody in public life, everybody in corporate life, is accountable for that result,” Emanuel said. “And corporate life, you deal with it, if you're a public company with stockholders. For the president of the United States, for members of Congress, also as you know, their ratings are low. They're facing challenges. You're accountable to try to get the results so the middle class can achieve the middle class gains.”
The Chicago mayor said despite the uphill battle, Obama is still making decisions with the goal of long-term success, rather than immediate political gain.
“I often advised the president about doing the quick, political thing, and he looked at the long-term,” Emanuel said. “And he rejected the quick, and political. Because it wasn't in America's interest. That's true of both financial reform, health care, the bigger decision. And he's never lost his fight for America. And he did make decisions that were in the long-term interest.”
Emanuel took square aim at the current GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney, predicting economic catastrophe should the former Massachusetts governor be elected president.
“There would not be an auto industry if Mitt Romney was president,” Emanuel said. “He would have said, let it go bankrupt.”