Illinois Congressman Rahm Emanuel, a key member of the Democratic leadership in the House of Representatives, has accepted President-elect Barack Obama’s call to serve him as chief of staff, party officials said on Thursday.
Choosing Mr. Emanuel was one of Mr. Obama’s first decisions after becoming President-elect in Tuesday’s election.
The hard-charging fellow Chicagoan accepted the job after struggling over family and political considerations. By moving into a top White House job, Mr. Emanuel will have to put aside hopes of becoming Speaker of the lower chamber.
He was a key figure in the administration of the former President, Bill Clinton, where he was known for his blunt management style. His selection is a shift in tone for Mr. Obama, who chose more low-key leadership for his presidential campaign.
Mr. Emanuel’s quick rise to a party leadership position in the House underlines his political acumen, and choosing him points to the President-elect’s preparations to move quickly on getting his legislative agenda through Congress. He will have a major role in facilitating and selling Mr. Obama’s plans.
Mr. Emanuel was a political and policy aide to Mr. Clinton before he turned to investment banking. He then won a Chicago-area House seat six years ago. In Congress, he moved quickly into the leadership. As chairman of the Democratic campaign committee in 2006, he played an instrumental role in restoring his party to power after 12 years in the minority.
Mr. Emanuel maintained neutrality during the long primary battle between Mr. Obama and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, not surprising given his long-standing ties to the former first lady and his Illinois connections with Mr. Obama.
Mr. Obama and his wife, Michelle, will visit the White House on Monday at the invitation of President George W. Bush, aides said.