How Will Chicago Welcome Rahm Emanuel Back?

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Rahm Emanuel is resigning from his position as White House chief of staff in order to announce his candidacy for mayor of Chicago. Host Scott Simon talks about the city's mayoral race with Carol Marin, political columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times and political editor for NBC5 News.

: a dead fish wrapped in two Chicago newspapers. Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told him: In Chicago this is how they say goodbye.

But can a man who once famously told the prime minister of Great Britain, Don't foul this up - and he didn't say foul - come home and be elected mayor of the city that is to politics what Paris is to croissants?

Carol Marin, political columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times and political editor of WMAQ-TV, joins us from WHAD in Milwaukee.

Carol, thanks so much for being with us.

CAROL MARIN: Hello, Scott.

: I counted 30 possible names just in my head. So can I toss a few at you?

MARIN: Absolutely.

: First, for our national audience, can we rule out Bill Daley, the mayor's brother, former commerce secretary?

MARIN: I think so, if we trust what Bill Daley told me a couple of weeks ago, that it isn't that he wouldn't like to be mayor, it just comes too soon on the heels of his brother leaving. And it's just not the right time.

: Can we, for very different reasons, rule out Representative Jesse Jackson?

MARIN: Right now I think the answer is yes. Jesse Jackson, Jr. is a wounded soul on a couple of fronts - his name being cross-referenced inside the Rod Blagojevich trial and will be in the retrial. And revelations about his personal life recently - this isn't looking like a good time for Jesse Jackson, Jr., though he certainly would have wanted to do it if he could.

: But what about his wife, Sandi Jackson, who's alderman of the 7th Ward?

MARIN: Thinking about it as well. And she hasn't ruled it out. But I'm not quite sure that that is as lively an option as it once was.

: What about Tom Dart? He's the sheriff of Cook County, gotten a lot of publicity for refusing to evict people defaulting on their mortgages, and filing lawsuits against Craigslist.

MARIN: He's smart. He's young. He's a good retail politician. He would be, Scott, I think one of the chief contenders here.

: Jim Houlihan, the assessor?

MARIN: Jim Houlihan, the assessor who's retiring, was thinking about it, but he's out.

: Congressman Luis Gutierrez? Now, he's reportedly been under investigation, that's always not a professional drawback in Chicago politics.

MARIN: No, it is not an insurmountable obstacle, as we learn again and again. And Luiz Gutierrez has been a very strong voice in immigration and a critic of the Obama administration and not a fan of Rahm Emanuel's.

: Am I overlooking anyone?

MARIN: Oh, my goodness. State Senator James Meeks. He runs a huge African- American mega-church on the south side of Chicago. Carol Moseley Braun, former U.S. senator and former ambassador. We've got a raft of people. All of which bodes, in some ways, well for Rahm, because the guy with the greatest machinery and the biggest amount of cash and someone with some really wily political skills can possibly drive this home. But it still is likely to go to a runoff in April anyway.

: Well, and that brings us to maybe a full assessment, because obviously a national profile, an encouraging pat from President Obama. And I've certainly been told he's already got several millions committed for the race. But what does he have to overcome?

MARIN: He has to overcome Washington. He's the guy, the strategist who encourages candidates to run as the outsider. Well, being the insider right now in a midterm that isn't looking pretty with an electorate that's awfully angry is a negative. And even in Obama-loving Chicago, Rahm Emanuel is not necessarily going to have a cakewalk.

: Carol Marin from Chicago, but in Milwaukee this week.

MARIN: Take care, Scott.

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