02/15/2013 01:28 pm ET

Rahm Emanuel Presidential Run? Rumors Over A 2016 Run Fly As Chicago Mayor Plays Down Interest

If some reports are to be believed, Rahm Emanuel's reign in Chicago could be shorter than expected.

A Feb. 14 Daily Beast column got the political rumor mill working overtime, yet again, with news that Emanuel "may be toying with a 2016 presidential run."

The Daily Beast cites unnamed sources, only calling them "well-connected Democrats" who believe the Chicago mayor's talks with donors and fundraisers means he may throw his hat into the ring if Hillary Clinton — currently believed to be the field-clearer on the Dem's side — opts out of the race in the next cycle.

Despite the spotty sourcing, the interesting part of the Daily Beast's claim, according to NBC Chicago, is that the rumor refuses to die even as Emanuel himself has thrown cold water on the idea in the past.

The Sun-Times points to Emanuel making a show to reporter Fran Spielman in May 2012 when he signed a note reading “I, Rahm Emanuel, will not run for another office — EVER.”

Emanuel spokesman Sarah Hamilton recently trotted out the same line to the paper — “He’s not running for president” — that has been used to deny past rumors of an Emanuel presidential run.

Various reports also point to the mayor's agenda of late, including what could be seen as power plays like hosting a major post-inaugural bash in Washington and helping prop up his former boss' agenda by hosting a tele-town hall staged by President Obama's non-profit group “Organizing for Action.”

In late January, the Chicago Reader zeroed in on a mayoral Freudian slip during a press conference: The former White House chief of staff joked that a Chicago high schooler was ready to "primary me in 2016." Oops? The Chicago 2015 mayor race doesn't have primaries — but the presidential race the following year does.

Several outlets seem to agree that whatever Emanuel or his people say (or write on a sticky note to City Hall reporters), the best evidence that the mayor could be serious about a presidential run is his very denial. For Rahm-watchers, the current narrative is a familiar one.

In 2010, the Washington Post reported that "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," but his spokespeople quickly sprang into action to douse the rumors. Ten months later.



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