Although Rahm Emanuel has pulled well ahead of challenger Chuy Garcia in the Chicago mayoral race (the last poll had him with a comfortable 15 point lead, but still without the 50% necessary to win), with a whopping 18% still undecided and a quesstionable debate performance last night, nothing is guaranteed – which might explain why the President seems less sure about his post-tenure plans. Without his former advisor in charge, there’s no guarantee he’ll be showered by the love and affection he expects from his waiting public.
According to reports, the fact that the Obama library still hasn’t landed a permanent location points to an unsettling rumor that the Obamas will be trading their precious palace in Chicago for a home in midtown Manhattan.
Columbia’s bid on the library — and the notion of the Obamas in New York — has been widely viewed as a kind of courtesy to the Big Apple, with the universal assumption among even the Obamas’ inner circle that the couple would move back to Chicago in January 2017. But sources familiar with the process said their thinking has changed in recent months, the result both of messy Chicago politics and a personal craving for a new beginning when they leave the White House for the last time as residents. The first family fears the Chicago they left is not one they want to return to, and a source close to the family said the long-shot New York library bid has emerged as a serious alternative.
“It’s real,” an administration official told BuzzFeed News.
I’m not sure what they mean by the “Chicago they left is not one they want to return to,” though it probably has something to do with Rahm’s recent inability to transact his affiliation with the President into a spot as mayor for life. As I’ve noted before, the President’s record has reflected poorly on Rahm, not positively, and perhaps the Obamas are worried that if they come home to a Chicago that hasn’t miraculously turned around under the firm leadership of an acolyte and friend, life will be more difficult than, say, if they take up residence in the firmly liberal paradise of New York City, where their neighbors will be willing to believe and accept almost anything.
He also won’t have to go far to do press, as Buzzfeed notes. And if he plans on hanging courtside with celebrities, there’s really no better place.
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