WASHINGTON -- White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel has commissioned his longtime pollster, Stanley Greenberg, to survey Chicagoans about a potential mayoral bid. Meanwhile, former Sen. Carol Moseley Braun will accept a mayoral "draft" at a Monday news conference in Chicago.
Sources told me that polling calls for Emanuel were being made over the weekend and that Emanuel has activated his Chicago network of pals to reach out to political figures in Chicago on his behalf. While Emanuel backed out of a Chicago visit this past weekend, I'm told he will be in Chicago by the end of the month.
While Emanuel mulls a bid -- and handles a crushing work load in the Obama White House -- backers of Moseley Braun huddled Sunday with her to map her political comeback under the "Carol for Chicago" banner.
Moseley Braun -- a one-term senator, New Zealand ambassador, Cook County recorder of deeds and state representative who runs an organic food company in Chicago -- has been out of politics since she ran for president in 2004. She was the first female and African American senator from Illinois.
Emanuel's poll was first revealed by NBC5 political reporter Mary Ann Ahern.
On Monday, I found Kathy Posner, Chicago civic leader, who was called by Emanuel's pollster on Saturday.
She told me the 20-minute survey asked about Emanuel; Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd); David Hoffman, the former city inspector general who lost a Democratic Senate primary bid; Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart and state Sen. James Meeks.
Posner said there was a query about Daley's job rating and what city issues are important: jobs, police, etc. After running through some positives about Emanuel -- his congressional career, his work as Obama's chief of staff -- Emanuel tested some potential negatives: his onetime friendship with former Gov. Rod Blagojevich and how Emanuel made millions as an investment banker with City Hall connections. There was also a question about Emanuel and convicted political fixer Tony Rezko.
Obama last week praised Emanuel -- the president said he would make an excellent mayor -- but that won't necessarily translate into helping Emanuel win the crucial Chicago African-American vote.
Ironically, working for the nation's first black president means almost nothing to the political powerbrokers in the African-American community who are exploring whether they can coalesce around one consensus African-American candidate.
Racial and ethnic politics -- and crosstown rivalries -- are still very much in play in this early stage.
Emanuel already knows one thing without taking a poll: A week has passed and no one in his old congressional district, a potential base, has led a call to draft him.
While pondering a decision to run, Emanuel, Moseley Braun and the others have two calculations to make: how to survive the Feb. 22 nonpartisan primary and then how to form the coalitions that will be needed to win the April 5 run-off.
Valerie Jarrett nixes chief of staff bid
Senior adviser Valerie Jarrett said she has no interest in replacing Emanuel if he leaves the White House. On the couch Monday with the women of ABC's "The View," Jarrett was pressed several times by Barbara Walters about her interest in replacing Emanuel.
"I love my job, and I'm so fortunate, really, to have the responsibilities that I enjoy that take me out and engage me every single day with people," Jarrett said.
Walters tried again for an answer. On her third try, Jarrett said, "No -- I'm just saying, I want to do what I'm doing. I don't want to change jobs. I love my job."