(CNN) – Former White House chief of staff and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel defended President Barack Obama's accelerated use of executive actions "1,000 percent," in an interview with CNN.
"Do you think Japan or China is able - or Taiwan looks to the future and says, well, let's see what the United States Congress does before we invest? So I'm proud that the President took executive action, because he can't allow America's future to be held hostage by a Congress that won't do anything," Emanuel said.
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Emanuel is in Washington to help the President promote new Defense Department-led projects that will invest hundreds of millions of dollars in private and federal funds developing manufacturing jobs in both Chicago and Detroit.
Chicago's hub, created by another one of Obama's executive actions, will pioneer "digital manufacturing," White House officials said.
"This is the Olympic gold. It brings brains and brawns together," Emanuel said.
The President has expanded his use of executive orders in 2014 to go around Congress in pursuit of his economic agenda. The Chicago mayor said Obama's pattern is no different than what previous presidents have done in the past.
"These are not equal but the Emancipation Proclamation was an executive action. Integrating the armed forces was an executive action. Doubling the national parks was an executive action," Emanuel said. "He has a responsibility to not let the future slip from our hands."
Republicans have attacked Obama's strategy of circumventing Congress as leading an "imperial presidency" in his second term. Emanuel, who once served in the House of Representatives and earned the nickname "Rahmbo" for his combative style, argued GOP lawmakers are just as capable of supporting local projects through the appropriation process.
"You don't want him to be an imperial President – put the money in the barrel. Go for it! Nobody is stopping you!" Emanuel exclaimed.
Emanuel left the White House just two months before the 2010 midterm elections, when Obama acknowledged he took a "shellacking" and lost the House of Representatives to Republicans.
The mayor said it's way too early for Democrats to worry about what will happen to Congress in the fall.
"The one thing I know about politics is anybody who tells you they know what's going to happen 10 months from now doesn't know what they are talking about."
As for 2016, Emanuel plans to back Hillary Clinton should she run for president.
"I think she would be very competitive. I've already said publicly, if she runs I will be a supporter," Emanuel said. When asked whether his support would change if Vice President Joe Biden jumped in the race, Emanuel didn't flinch in backing the former secretary of state.
"Hillary Clinton was a great secretary of state, great U.S. senator. She has a lot to offer the country. I've already said, if she runs, that's a personal decision she has to make. If she asks my advice, I'll give it. If she runs I'm 100 percent in."
Emanuel, a veteran of both the Obama and Bill Clinton administrations, insists he is not longing for life back in the White House.
"Are you out of your mind? I could not be happier," Emanuel joked.
"I'm glad I had the honor to serve my friend, my President and I can't be more honored to serve the people of the city of Chicago and have their confidence to do these type of things; have an investment that's a game changer for the economic future of our city."