Is Rahm Clearing the Field?

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Reliable (if cryptic) sources say that former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel has raised $3.6 million in the two weeks since he announced his run for mayor of Chicago. And word from the city tonight is that several major potential challengers are expected to drop from contention. (Not everyone who needs to be on board is yet on board.)  

Ben LaBolt, a spokesman for Emanuel, says the money figure is not correct.

"Rahm is working hard to earn the support of every Chicagoan -- day after day, he's been out at L stops, diners, and work places across the city. It has been many years since the race for Mayor has been an open seat and he has said before that he expects a wide field and competitive race," LaBolt said. "He believes that the candidates who are running and those who are considering running are capable public servants and he welcomes them to the dialogue about Chicago's future."

Emanuel's first post-White House interview with the Chicago Sun-Times was vintage Rahm. Note his relatively weak answer on how much he knows about Mayor Daley's patronage machine. On the other hand, it's Chicago, so providing this as his answer to a Blagojevich question is pretty much acceptable: "That's a characterization. They're prosecuting the governor, correct? Am I [being prosecuted]?"

And this is just plain untrue: "I don't think anybody in Washington would see me as an insider."

But it's Rahm. It's Chicago. Apparently, one can get away with such things.

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Marc Ambinder is an Atlantic contributing editor. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.

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