Pelosi Backs Emanuel’s Bid for Chicago Mayor

Posted September 30, 2010 at 3:00pm

Updated: 5:39 p.m.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday she supports Rahm Emanuel’s bid to be the next mayor of Chicago, adding he “enjoys a great reputation and … affection among his former colleagues in the House of Representatives.”

President Barack Obama is expected to announce Friday Emanuel’s departure as White House chief of staff to run for mayor. Emanuel represented Illinois in the House until he was tapped by Obama for the top White House staff position.

“He can do anything he sets his mind to and we all wish him much success,” Pelosi said of Emanuel at a news conference.

The California Democrat also had high praise for Pete Rouse, who is expected to fill Emanuel’s White House position, at least on a short-term basis. Rouse is a senior adviser to the president and was his chief of staff when Obama was in the Senate.

“The only issue that matters there is, does the chief of staff have the confidence of the President of the United States,” Pelosi said. “Pete Rouse certainly has the respect of those in Congress who know his service to our country well, and as the President’s choice we salute him and offer him cooperation.”

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Thursday that Obama will make a “personnel announcement” at 11:05 a.m. Friday. Without saying what the announcement will be, he praised Rouse as someone in whom the president has “complete loyalty and trust.”

“Pete’s strategic sense has played a big part of the direction of virtually every big decision that’s made inside of this White House,” Gibbs said. “So I think the type of trust that the president and others throughout this administration have in Pete is enormous.”