White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel has not yet confirmed that he will leave Washington in the near future to run for mayor of Chicago, but the writing is on the wall. An announcement is expected Friday, as ABC's Jake Tapper first reported Monday.
Whenever a high-profile government position opens up, the long-time Washington guessing game kicks into gear. Who will it be?
There are a host of names being bandied about as possible successors. Here is a look at the most often and most recently mentioned:
Current Position: White House Senior Adviser
The person most often discussed -- at least as the likely interim chief of staff -- is Pete Rouse. He was chief of staff to Sen. Tom Daschle, when Daschle was Senate majority leader. In that role, Rouse was so effective, he was often referred to as the 101st senator. He and Daschle were so enamored with Barack Obama, that when Daschle lost his reelection bid, Rouse went directly from the majority leader's office, to become chief of staff to the newly elected Sen. Obama. Those two years between Obama's election to the Senate and the beginning of his presidential campaign laid the foundation for Obama's rise to the national political stage. When Obama won the presidency in 2008, Rouse followed him to the White House and has helped the president navigate Washington and deal with Republicans on Capitol Hill.
Current Position: Vice President Biden's Chief of Staff
Ron Klain has a sterling resume as a Washington power player. And he's the only one on the chief of staff short list who has been portrayed by Kevin Spacey in the lead role of an HBO movie.
Klain went to Georgetown University and Harvard Law School and clerked for Supreme Court Justice Byron White . He was the top lawyer on the Senate Judiciary Committee during the Clarence Thomas Supreme Court confirmation hearings. His boss at the time was Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del, who is his boss once again. Klain's current job as the Vice President's chief of staff is a return engagement of sorts. . He held the same position under former Vice President Al Gore. And that led to his position as lead attorney for Gore in the 2000 Florida recount, a role which was immortalized in the HBO movie Recount, starring Kevin Spacey as Klain. In between his stints in government service, Klain has been a lawyer in private practice at the Washington firm of O'Melveny and Meyers and worked as general counsel at Revolution LLC, the investment firm founded by AOL founder Steve Case.
Current Position: Deputy National Security Adviser
Tom Donilon was also on Biden's judiciary committee staff. He also worked as a congressional liaison in the Carter Administration and got foreign policy bona fides working as chief of staff to Secretary of State Warren Christopher under President Clinton. According to Bob Woodward's new book "Obama's Wars " about President Obama's foreign policy, Donilon played a key role formulating the policy in Afghanistan, with a surge of troops this year and an open-ended drawdown beginning in the summer of 2011. Donilon's elevation could raise some griping among Republicans. He once worked for Fannie Mae, the mortgage lending giant that required a government bailout.
Current Position: White House deputy chief of staff