A day after the Illinois Supreme Court reinstated Rahm Emanuel on the Chicago mayoral ballot, his campaign released a radio ad featuring President Obama praising his former White House chief of staff.
Obama has not officially endorsed Emanuel, but that may become a distinction without much of a difference. Obama hosted a lavish send-off for Emanuel at the White House East Room on Oct. 1, and his comments about Emanuel's role as chief of staff are highlighted in the spot.
"I needed somebody at my side who I could count on to help get the job done. There was no candidate for the job of chief of staff who would meet the bill as well as Rahm Emanuel. And that's why I told him he had no choice in the matter. He was not allowed to say no."
The Emanuel campaign hopes that his connection to the nation's first African-American president will help him win votes among Chicago's black voters. Voting in Chicago often, though not always, falls along racial lines. One of his chief rivals, former Sen. Carol Moseley Braun (D-Ill.), is depending on black votes; other strong black candidates, Rep. Danny Davis (D-Ill.) and state Sen. James Meeks (D-Chicago), dropped out in order to let Braun leverage the black vote.
Early voting starts in Chicago on Monday. If no one wins more than 50 percent in the Feb. 22 non-partisan primary, the top two vote-getters face off in an April 5 general election.