WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama says his chief of staff would be a terrific Chicago mayor, but he expects Rahm Emanuel to hold off on deciding whether to enter the race until after the midterm elections.
Emanuel has long expressed interest in the post. Then longtime Mayor Richard M. Daley announced unexpectedly this week that he wouldn't seek a seventh term, setting off a wide-open race to lead the nation's third-largest city.
Obama told ABC's ''Good Morning America'' that Emanuel was busy at the White House right now. The economy remains anemic and jobs scarce, and Democrats are scrambling to hold onto their majorities in the House and Senate with polls favoring Republicans in the Nov. 2 election.
''My expectation is, he'd make a decision after these midterm elections,'' Obama said. ''He knows that we've got a lot of work to do. But I think he'd be a terrific mayor.''
Prospective candidates must file for the February mayoral election in November. Emanuel, a one-time Daley adviser, represented Chicago in Congress before going to work for Obama.
Daley was first elected mayor in 1989, following in the footsteps of his father, Richard J. Daley. The next Chicago mayor will inherit a city run by a Daley for all but 13 of the last 55 years.
The Obama interview was taped Wednesday for broadcast Thursday.