Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel endorses Hillary Clinton. Big deal?

Even though Rahm Emanuel worked in the Clinton White House, he declined to endorse Hillary Clinton in 2008. Now, he says that next early month, he’ll speak at two Chicago-area fundraisers for the Ready for Hillary 'super PAC.'

By , Staff writer

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    Mayor of Chicago Rahm Emanuel arrives at the public unveiling of Motorola Mobility global headquarters in Chicago, April 22, 2014. Mayor Emanuel says that next early month, he'll speak at two Chicago-area fundraisers for the Ready for Hillary 'super PAC.'
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Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel thinks Hillary Rodham Clinton should sit in the Oval Office. He’s said that in the past, but now he’s turning up the volume on his support for a 2016 Clinton presidential bid.

Among other things, Mayor Emanuel says that next early month, he’ll speak at two Chicago-area fundraisers for the Ready for Hillary "super PAC."

“I’m proud to make my support for her official, and I’m even prouder to join more than two million Americans encouraging her to run,” Emanuel said of the ex-first lady and former secretary of State.

Recommended: How much do you know about Hillary Rodham Clinton? Take our quiz.

Why is this important? Well, Emanuel used to be President Obama’s chief of staff, if you remember. Even though he worked in the Clinton White House, he declined to endorse Ms. Clinton in 2008, instead officially backing Mr. Obama just a few days before she dropped out of the race.

Thus his enthusiasm for Clinton now represents something of a connection between the current Democratic administration and Clintonland. Sorry about that, Joe Biden.

“Joe’s a good friend personally. He’s obviously worthy of being considered.... I just indicate where I stand,” Emanuel said in an interview with Jim Avila of ABC News.

That he does. And that is another reason the Emanuel move is important: He’s a political force of nature, and if you’re a Democrat, it’s much better to have him inside your tent than outside it, looking for weak points.

In Washington, he’s renowned for speaking in phrases replete with short Anglo-Saxon words that can’t be repeated in a family publication. Of the many Emanuel anecdotes in circulation, our favorite involves a 1992 celebration dinner in a Little Rock, Ark., steakhouse following Bill Clinton’s first presidential win. The table began chanting the names of political enemies and turncoats. At each mention, Emanuel raised his knife and stabbed the table while shouting “dead!”

Finally, this shows the 2016 presidential race is well under way as party officials and fundraisers vet candidates in the “invisible primary.” So please stop with the high-mindedness about how it’s too early to write about it, how it’s like giving the 10-day weather forecast for next February.

Yes, we know Jon Stewart used that phrase this week. We agree with political scientist Jonathan Bernstein, who writes that for once, the Comedy Central star is wrong, wrong, wrong.

“I never get tired of saying this: Cut it out, whiners. The press isn’t wrong to be covering the 2016 nomination contest,” writes Mr. Bernstein on his Bloomberg blog.

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