By MICHAEL FALCONE and AMY WALTER
Rahm’s Friday. White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel’s likely announcement that he is leaving the Obama administration to run for mayor of Chicago could come as early as Friday, ABC’s Jake Tapper reports, but “no final decision has been made because of family considerations.” White House officials have been hinting at Emanuel’s departure for weeks, and on Monday, the president said: "I think that Rahm will have to make a decision quickly, because running for mayor of Chicago is a serious enterprise.” So what’s the rush? More from Tapper: “Emanuel has to declare his intent to enter the race by Nov. 22, the filing deadline in Chicago. Candidates need to collect 12,500 signatures by that day to qualify for a Feb. 22, 2011 Democratic primary.”
The Chicago mayoral battle is already starting to take shape as candidates begin to jump into the race to succeed outgoing Mayor Richard Daley. One of the most recent to declare is Gery Chico, president of the board of Chicago City Colleges, who officially said he was running on Monday. Chicago City Clerk Miguel del Valle is also a declared candidate. Congressman Luis Gutierrez has been testing the waters for a possible run at the same time that he has criticized Emanuel’s position on immigration issues. Other members of Congress who are considering a mayoral run include Jesse Jackson, Jr., Danny Davis and Michael Quigley. All three have had personal meetings with Emanuel in recent weeks. Illinois State Senator Rickey Hendon as well as former Illinois Senate President Emil Jones have also expressed interest in the Windy City’s top job. It could be a crowded field, will Rahm clear it?
NOTED: The buzz about who might succeed Emanuel as Chief of Staff, at least in the short term, has focused on White House senior adviser Pete Rouse. Other permanent replacements being discussed include Vice President Biden's chief of staff Ron Klain, Deputy National Security Advisor Tom Donilon and White House deputy chief of staff Jim Messina. Or the president could go in a different direction, reaching out to a trusted political hand from the outside like former Senator Majority Leader Tom Daschle or David Plouffe, who managed Obama's 2008 campaign and has played a key role in midterm election strategy, have both been mentioned.
College-Bound. President Obama travels to Madison, Wisconsin today for a rally at the University of Wisconsin and Vice President Joe Biden heads to Penn State. Both events are aimed at turning out younger voters, who supported Obama in large numbers in 2008 but whose support is hardly a given this year. In keeping with the administration’s push to get young voters to the polls in November, Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will headline a rally today at the University of Maryland in College Park, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis will be at Cal State L.A., U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk will speak at North Carolina Central University and Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine goes to the University of Delaware.
The Governors. Though we’ve been keeping an eye on the balance of power in the U.S. House of Representatives as well as a handful of competitive Senate races this election season, ABC News will be taking a closer look at key governor’s races around the country.
In the first story in our series, ABC’s Devin Dwyer focuses on New Mexico where as Dwyer notes national party organizations have been spending big to keep “control of a governorship that has been in Democratic hands since 2002.” More from his report: “New Mexico is one place women are poised to make history this election season, with either Democrat Lt. Gov. Diane Denish or Republican district attorney Susana Martinez likely to become the state's first female governor. It is only the third time in U.S. history two women have gone head-to-head for a state's top job. The Oklahoma gubernatorial race this year is the fourth. But who voters choose in New Mexico on Nov. 5 may be as significant as the milestone itself, signaling just how deep anti-incumbent, anti-establishment sentiment runs among voters this election year. Denish, who's served with Democratic Gov. Bill Richardson since 2002, is running in a state where Democrats have a 50 to 32 percent edge over Republicans among registered voters. President Obama carried New Mexico with 57 percent of the vote in the 2008.”
California Debatin’. It’s going to be an interesting week for politics in the Golden State as both the candidates for governor and U.S. Senate meet on the same stage for a round of debates. First up are California gubernatorial candidates Jerry Brown and Meg Whitman who square off tonight at UC Davis. Whitman, the GOP candidate and former eBay CEO, crossed the $100 million mark in campaign spending from her own bank account, is in locked in a tight race with Brown, the Democratic former governor. Republican Senate hopeful Carly Fiorina and Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer meet on Wednesday to take part in an afternoon radio debate. NOTED: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is going on the air with a new television ad attacking Boxer. “Barbara Boxer. She’s been in Washington for 28 years. Twenty-eight years voting to add trillions to the national debt, piling up record deficits, raising out taxes,” the ad’s narrator says. “Twenty-eight years making America less competitive and driving away California jobs.” The Chamber said the ad is part of a "significant" buy and it will be broadcast statewide, especially in the Los Angeles media market, over the next two weeks.
ON TODAY’S “TOP LINE”: Speaking of pivotal governors races, ABC’s Amy Walter and Rick Klein talk to Democratic Governor Association Executive Director Nathan Daschle today to discuss the state of play out in the states heading into November. They will also sit down with New York Times elections prognosticator Nate Silver. Watch LIVE at 12:00 p.m. Eastern.
THE NUMBER: 3%
The margin of Connecticut Senate candidate Richard Blumenthal’s lead against Linda McMahon in a new Quinnipiac poll out this morning. Blumenthal, the Democrat, once had a double-digit advantage against, McMahon, his GOP rival and the former WWE CEO, but is now out in front, 49 percent to 46 percent. "Blumenthal has to be concerned about Linda McMahon's momentum. He can hear her footsteps as she closes in on him. Usually debates don't make much of a difference, but in a race this close next month's debates could be a game changer,” Quinnipiac pollster Douglas Schwartz said.
Booing In the Ballroom? Did Sarah Palin get a less-than-warm welcome last night when she made a cameo appearance on ABC’s “Dancing With The Stars”? There were some boos in the audience when Palin stopped by to show support for her daughter, Bristol, a contestant this season. Jimmy Kimmel asked “Dancing With The Stars” host Tom Bergeron about the apparent slight but Bergeron said the audience was actually expressing their displeasure with the score of another contestant, Jennifer Grey (of “Dirty Dancing fame). When Kimmel asked Bergeron if he was "sure" that they were booing Grey’s score, he replied with a laugh: “Mostly.” WATCH the video and see for yourself.
Cover Story. Obama gets the “Rolling Stone” treatment in “Obama Fight’s Back” by the magazine's Jann Wenner. Here’s an excerpt: Wenner: "What do you think of Fox News? Do you think it's a good institution for America and for democracy?" The President: “It's a point of view that I think is ultimately destructive for the long-term growth of a country that has a vibrant middle class and is competitive in the world. But as an economic enterprise, it's been wildly successful. And I suspect that if you ask Mr. Murdoch what his number-one concern is, it's that Fox is very successful."
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