Rahm Emanuel: I’ll Be in the West Wing as Long as President Obama Will Have Me

ABC News’ Karen Travers reports:

Despite increasing Inside the Beltway buzz and chatter, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel is laughing off suggestions that he is not long for the job and is planning a comeback in elected politics.

This morning on MSNBC’s Daily Rundown, Emanuel said he will stay in the West Wing as long as he’s welcome.

"I was pleased to get offered to do this job and I’m pleased to stay here as long as the president wants me to stay here,” Emanuel said. “And I plan on staying as long as he has me here.”

Over the last week, Emanuel has had to address questions about his tenure and whether he is eyeing a prominent and powerful political position back in his hometown of Chicago.

Politics Daily’s Lynne Sweet traces the rumor back to a since sentence in a column last week in the Washington Post.

“Emanuel is said to have told people that the chief-of-staff role is an 18-month job and that he is considering a run for mayor of Chicago,” columnist Sally Quinn wrote on Jan. 5.

“Because Quinn is a mainstream journalist -- and a figure in Washington society, a ranking hostess, married to former Post executive editor Ben Bradlee-and well connected, the sentence, as they say in the business, had legs,” Sweet writes.

This morning, Emanuel laughed off the buzz that he will throw his hat in the ring for mayor and reiterated his support of current mayor Richard Daley.

“As I said over the weekend, Rich Daley is a very very dear friend of mine and of [wife] Amy’s and mine,” Emanuel said. “I think he’s a great mayor of a great city…I would hope he seeks re-election because I want him to continue to be a great mayor.”

Emanuel also dismissed the notion that he wants his old seat back in the House of Representatives. He served three terms in Congress and was first elected in 2002.

“The reason I left Congress to join the president is because I think this is a historic time with great challenges,” he said. “No running for my old seat.”

The tenure of a chief of staff is usually around 2 years, due to the grueling pace and workload. George W. Bush had just two chiefs of staff over his two terms – Andy Card served over five years in the position and was replaced by Josh Bolten who took over in April 2006 and was there when Bush left office last January. Bill Clinton had four chiefs of staff over his two terms.

-Karen Travers

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