September 22nd, 2010
12:20 PM ET
12 years ago

Emanuel's WH departure possible for October, Rouse may be acting chief of staff

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="There is now a good chance that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel will step down from his post, according to two people close to Emanuel."]

Washington (CNN) - There is now a good chance that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel will step down from his post as early as October to focus full-time on running for Mayor of Chicago, according to two people close to Emanuel.

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 close to 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.

Rouse served as chief of staff in Obama's Senate office and is known to have the President's trust. Democratic officials have told CNN that Rouse, who is known for not relishing the spotlight, has suggested he does not want the chief of staff post long-term. But it is expected he would be willing to help the White House get through a transition period and then have an influential role in helping to select the full-time replacement.

The people close to Emanuel confirmed a report in Time magazine, CNN's sister publication, that Emanuel could leave as early as next month in order to devote his full energies to mounting a bid to replace retiring Mayor Richard M. Daley. 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.

The sources familiar with the situation said that once Emanuel does make a firm decision the process will move very rapidly because the chief of staff realizes that he has a lot of work to do to get a campaign off the ground.

Emanuel is also very sensitive to making sure he leaves the White House in good hands given the critical midterms that are fast approaching, as well as other transitions expected to happen after the election. For example, the President's chief economic adviser, Lawrence Summers, announced Tuesday he will be leaving at the end of the year and the search for his replacement is under way.

A key date on the calendar to watch is when the Senate decides to adjourn before the election, according to people close to Emanuel, because he is heavily involved in pressing to get some of the President's initiatives on the agenda before the Senate leaves.

The Senate was originally scheduled to adjourn on October 8, but Senate Democrats say they may now leave as soon as the end of next week which would be the beginning of October.

But there is also a realization within the administration that is never a good time for a chief of staff to leave given the constant press of business, so Emanuel is going to have to leave sometime soon if he is to give a Mayoral run his full attention.

CNN has previously reported that possible fulltime replacements in the mix include top White House aides Tom Donilon, Phil Schilirro and Ron Klain.

Filed under: Chicago mayoral race • Rahm Emanuel • White House
soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. Eric

    I wonder how much money and Senate seats had to change hands in chicago to make this happen? How many legs had to be broken and how many dead fish sent via the mail?

    America is done, DONE, D.O.N.E. with this Chicago turd-word-nation type of politics. We are done with unions. We are done with Daleys. We are done with Democrats. And we are done with marxist (p)residents.

    Let the purging begin in November.
    I can see November from my house...

    September 22, 2010 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  2. Cindy, PA

    He can't run and hide. Change is coming and those in the Obama administration will be chainging clothes into prison orange.

    September 22, 2010 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  3. DerJunker

    Obama is a complete failure and a smooth talking fraud, the sooner he's voted out of office, the better. It's the economy stupid!!

    September 22, 2010 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  4. Pat F

    Rahm leaving, Larry Summers leaving – the rats are jumping off the Titanic as fast as possible.

    September 22, 2010 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  5. James

    Finally the SCAM is out of the bag and Top Obummer Officals are sprinting to the door to resign.

    Especially before it all goes down and they start being busted for FRAUD.

    When they start defecting this early, it is because they are wanting to get out early before the INDICTMENTS start coming.
    Same as the Bush officals,umbsfeld, Rice,Rove,Meyers and all the other crones.

    Now is the time for a full blown Federal FBI Investigation in to Corruption, Fraud,War Crimes and illegal Bribery called LOBBYING.

    The time has come that WE THE PEOPLE let Washington know we know your tatics and Fraud and WE THE PEOPLE are taking OUR Government back and the Prosecutions start.

    Prosecute them now.

    March on Washington November 2010

    September 22, 2010 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  6. Erik S.

    He's gone, another rat leaving a sinking ship...

    September 22, 2010 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  7. Me love you long time John McCain

    @Eric,you must be a red headed Wasp,hahahaha

    September 22, 2010 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  8. seebofubar

    We don't want him here in Chicago. Send him back to Israel.

    September 22, 2010 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  9. Angus McDugan

    This is a very "convenient" way of Obama removing a problem that he created.

    September 22, 2010 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  10. Ken in NC

    Cindy, Pa. and Eric, the two of you are living in a dream world. If you want to continue your dream, don't wake up for 6 more years.

    September 22, 2010 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  11. Snow

    Sounds like rats leaving a sinking ship or cock roaches running away when you turn the lights on. That is how it is in this moronic and inept administration.

    September 22, 2010 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  12. José

    I'd rather a Chicago Thug run this nation than a Know-Nothing Alaskan! Besides, it was BUSH WHO DESTROYED US!! Any reasonable person (read: non-Tea Partier) would certainly understand that it takes more than a 18 month battle between the obstructionist – "NO"- nothing (even at the expense of their own constituents) party trying to block everything Obama did. They wouldn't compromise, they want to GIVE OUR MONEY to the RICH, while CUTTING the ONLY pension 98% of us will ever know – Social Security. You can't invest money into a private account when all the jobs are OVERSEAS! There are roughly 3 million jobs, and 14 million job seekers. YOU tell me what we are supposed to do. Magic is still a fairy tale. We SHOULD TAX THE RICH AT 94%! That or send them to the guillotines French Revolution style!

    September 22, 2010 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  13. Fed Up

    Another rat deserting a sinking ship.

    September 22, 2010 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  14. Danel

    @Eric America was done long time ago, Bush just make it even worst.

    September 22, 2010 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  15. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Cindy, you are so misinformed or you have a bad case of memory loss. The Republicans are already wearing the prison orange suits; one for outing a CIA agent and went to prison for Cheney, two for money laundrying and so many others that are pending trials. And how could you possibly forget Bush/Cheney who lied us into war but have special priveledges to protect them from going to prison along with several others in that administration.

    September 22, 2010 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  16. mj

    One more jumps ship. Do you not see what is happening? Could it be that Obamas' appointed (or should I say anointed) want to just bail out? Now he is begging for money from those who, thanks to him, are losing their homes, jobs, and financial security. The most inadequate of all, unfortunately, is currently in charge. So sad.

    September 22, 2010 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  17. bill

    good riddence. now maybe president can get things done.he was not helping.and it was time to .

    September 22, 2010 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  18. Dyan, Minnesota

    Good riddance! Now, put in some real progressive voices and watch the excitment level in Obama's base sky rocket!!

    September 22, 2010 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  19. Peter s

    Cindy, PA and Eric where was your anger when the Republicans turned America to a Gestapo States?, Where was your anger when Dick Cheney sacrificed over 4000 innocent souls of brave men and women in uniform! where was your anger when the Republican tanked the economy. I guess the best thing for you to do is to go and buy yourselves brooms and start flying lessons with the flying witch in delaware!

    September 22, 2010 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  20. Expat American

    Change is coming and those in the Obama administration will be chainging clothes into prison orange.
    (?).......and what is your opinion on the GOP/Bush's 'Values' Genocide? Does it not matter because the victims are Muslim?

    September 22, 2010 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |