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Rahm Emanuel: expected departure could lead to West Wing shakeup

In the past, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel has expressed an interest in being mayor of Chicago. The position will be open in 2011. If Emanuel leaves, it could have a knock-on effect.

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White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel speaks with President Obama as they watch the World Cup match between the US and Ghana on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Toronto on June 26. Obama said in an interview aired on Thursday that Emanuel would make a 'terrific mayor' of Chicago.

Charles Dharapak/AP/file

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The expected departure of White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel in the next few months, possibly to run for mayor of Chicago, could open the way to a larger reshuffle of personnel in the West Wing.

Nearly two years into the Obama presidency – marked by a stubbornly slow economic recovery, two wars, and a big policy agenda – exhaustion levels are running high. And some top staff have made no secret of the fact they view themselves as short-timers. Mr. Emanuel has made clear in the past that the Chicago mayorship interested him, though there is still no word yet on whether he will resign soon and throw his hat in the ring before the Nov. 22 filing deadline.

Senior adviser David Axelrod, never a fan of life inside the Beltway, reportedly wants to rejoin his family in Chicago. Spokesman Robert Gibbs has long been rumored to be heading for an off-screen role as a presidential counselor, away from the nattering nabobs in the press room.

Speaking to reporters Wednesday on Air Force One, Mr. Gibbs didn’t speak to his own future, but suggested that a personnel shakeup was inevitable when asked about possible staff turnover.

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