US & Canada

Ex-Obama aide Rahm Emanuel set to run for Chicago mayor

Rahm Emanuel
Image caption Rahm Emanuel was President Obama's right-hand man

US President Barack Obama's former Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel says he is preparing to run for Chicago mayor.

Mr Emanuel made the announcement in a video posted on his website, ChicagoforRahm.com.

The move was widely expected as Mr Emanuel has made no secret of his desire to one day run for mayor.

Mr Emanuel - who has a reputation for brashness - is a native of Chicago and represented Illinois' 5th district in Congress for six years.

Pundits have tipped Mr Emanuel to replace Richard M Daley, since the latter announced on 7 September that he would be stepping down.

'Glad to be home'

In the video, Mr Emanuel said: "I'm going to spend the next few weeks visiting our neighbourhoods (in Chicago) - at grocery stores, L stops (metro), bowling alleys, and hot dog stands".

"I'm calling this the 'Tell It Like It Is' tour, because I want to hear from you - in blunt, Chicago terms - what you think about our city, and how the next mayor and you, can make it better."

He said that "it was a great honour to work for" President Barack Obama, but he was now "glad to be home".

"Leading Chicago would be a great responsibility and a tremendous privilege," Mr Emanuel said.

Earlier this year, he admitted that "one day I would like to run for mayor of the city of Chicago."

"That's always been an aspiration of mine even when I was in the House of Representatives."

In his video, Mr Emanuel also paid to tribute to Mr Daley, his long-time political ally.

"Chicago's a world-class city today because of Mayor Daley's leadership. He deserves our appreciation."

Mr Daley - who has been mayor of Chicago since 1989 - announced last month that he would not seek a seventh term.

The mayoral election is due to be held in February 2011.

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