Rahm Emanuel 2016?
Rahm Emanuel is reportedly considering a 2016 presidential run. It’s a thin report.
Daily Beast (“Rahm Emanuel May Be Toying With 2016 Presidential Run“):
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is said by well-connected Democrats to be considering the idea of running for president if Hillary Clinton opts out of the 2016 race.
The 53-year-old Emanuel, who is busy raising money for his 2015 reelection campaign in the Windy City, has had discussions both over the phone and face to face in the past month with Democratic Party donors and fundraisers about a possible White House run, according to sources.
The rest of the story, alas, indicates that there’s no story.
It’s unclear who raised the subject—Emanuel or the donors—and the mayor’s press secretary initially didn’t offer clarity on who said what to whom. Hours after this story was published, however, Tarah Cooper emailed denying that the mayor “raised or entertained” the subject of a White House run. She also sent a photo of Emanuel’s scrawl on yellow legal paper vowing “not ever” to run “for another office” and reiterated his longstanding pledge that, in his words, he’s “not interested. Not going to do it. No. I’ll do it in Hebrew: lo.” (Emanuel, the son of an Israeli doctor, had dual citizenship until he was 18.) Others expressed skepticism that any such discussions between Emanuel and donors could have been serious.
“I talk to Rahm almost every single day, sometimes more than once a day, and he’s never said anything like that to me,” said Democratic strategist Paul Begala, a colleague and friend from Bill Clinton’s White House. “This is the first I’ve heard of it. That doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.”
Clinton loyalist James Carville, another friend of the mayor’s, echoed Begala’s dubious assessment: “I never have heard something like that, and it’s not like I don’t talk to Rahm all the time. And it’s not like people close to him ever brought it up.”
“He’s never going to kill the buzz,” said a campaign comrade-in-arms, noting that the hard-charging Emanuel is no shrinking violet and has always enjoyed the limelight. He was, after all, a ballet dancer in his youth. ”If people were encouraging him to run, he’d like that. But when he came back to Chicago to run for mayor [in late 2010], the plan was not then to run for governor and then run for president. In some ways, he’s a kid in a candy store as mayor.”
Begala argued that for Emanuel, who’d yearned to become Speaker of the House before giving up his congressional seat to work for Obama, being mayor of his hometown is the dream job. “Just being mayor, it’s the happiest I’ve ever seen him,” Begala said. “It’s certainly the most rewarding job he’s had. He’s really, really, really focused on it.”
So, what’s the deal?
Still, if Clinton decided not to be a candidate in 2016, Emanuel, along with Vice President Biden and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, would immediately be a first-tier prospect for the Democratic nomination.
“If Hillary doesn’t run, the lineup isn’t exactly impressive,” said University of Virginia political scientist Larry Sabato. “Who do the Democrats have? Cuomo, and a vice president who’s going to be 74 by Inauguration Day. Then there’s Martin O’Malley, the governor of Maryland? Brian Schweitzer, the former governor of Montana? Kirsten Gillibrand? These are not giants in a forest of redwoods.”
Emanuel, on the other hand, “would be regarded as a very serious candidate,” Sabato said, adding that his political and policy experience from tours in two different White Houses and Congress—especially as chairman and chief strategist of the campaign committee that helped sweep Democrats back into the House majority in 2006—would be difficult for other contenders to match. “Rahm running for president is not as farfetched as it might sound,” Sabato said. “He’s got an impressive résumé.”
In a nutshell, then, in the unlikely scenario in which Hillary Clinton chooses to decline coronation, Emanuel is a Democrat that people have heard of.