Inside the Beltway: A new interest in Rahm Emanuel for 2016?

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The recent Conservative Political Action Conference provides a forum for big names. But it’s also a platform for the murmurs and asides from political strategists who’ve been everywhere and done everything, and like to speculate. Such is the case when the potential presidential candidacy of Hillary Clinton was parsed by a pair of insiders.

Would she run? Maybe, if her health and vigor remain strong. But is she holding a place for someone else? Could be. The take-away suggestion: Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is seriously being groomed as a White House contender.

“Maybe in the lead role, maybe the running mate. Hey, he’s already been in the White House anyway,” one strategist said to the other.

Indeed, Mr. Emanuel, 54, was senior policy and strategy advisor for President Bill Clinton, and appointed White House Chief of Staff by President Obama. Similar rumors have surfaced about Mr. Emanuel for three years, and from major news organizations. He has so far dismissed the idea he’d run. Then again, so has Mitt Romney.

It would be ironic and fascinating if the pair ended up opposing each other in the 2016 race.

Meanwhile, it is interesting to note that Mr. Emanuel is now being showcased in CNN’s gritty new weekly documentary series “Chicagoland,” which is produced by Robert Redford and began Sunday.

“I have a high regard for Rahm Emanuel. It is not an easy job. To manage a city like Chicago with so many disparate parts to it is not an enviable task. I think that he is as qualified as anybody, but boy, it’s like being the president of the United States,” Mr. Redford said in an interview with the network before the series began.

“President in 2016? Perhaps Emanuel is angling to be Hillary’s 2016 vice presidential running mate. A Hillary-Rahm ticket?” asks William Kelly, a conservative blogger and strategist based in the Windy City.

“This series could have all the makings of a national political rebrand,” he adds.

Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass has also broached the idea of “Vice President Emanuel,” though he envisions the mayor in the role of manager for Mr. Clinton — his old boss — who would be known as the “First Gentleman.” should Mrs. Clinton win the White House.

There’s more to come. Along with billionaire Sam Zell, Mr. Emanuel is one of the featured speakers at “Reinventing America,” a summit organized by Steve Forbes, chairman of Forbes Media. The two-day event is scheduled for late March, with much talk about the “heartland” and an agenda that pushes cheap energy, plus innovative manufacturing, finance and job creation — all noteworthy planks for a potential political platform.

AN INSTA-POLL

Sure. Why not have another Republican presidential straw poll? That is exactly what PJ Media’s “Instapundit,” Glenn Reynolds, did, complete with 24 contenders, and drawing more than 15,000 votes. The winner: Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky with 26 percent of the vote, followed by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (21 percent) and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas (20 percent).

Among the other results: Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Sarah Palin each drew 5 percent, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal each garnered 4 percent. Condoleezza Rice captured 3 percent; Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, Allen West and Mitch Daniels, 2 percent. Eleven of the choices — including Donald Trump and Mike Huckabee — drew less than 1 percent. And in last place? That would be Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, who drew 8 votes.

THEY STILL HATE CONGRESS

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