Since the Chief of Staff job is so huge, the administration does not have plans in place if there were to be opening.
As for Pete Rouse - likely to be named interim White House Chief of Staff if the need arises - the senior White House official notes Rouse has been Chief of Staff to Senator Barack Obama, so it makes sense for Rouse to be called on again.
Finally, this official notes Emanuel's family has just moved to Washington. Emanuel's children started school in the Washington area just three weeks ago, so it is legitimate to believe there are serious family concerns involved in this decision.
White House sources say it is possible White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel could leave the White House as early as October. The sources say the bottom line is Emanuel needs to make a decision, and if it is to run, then things will move very quickly.
Sources say Pete Rouse is the most likely possibility to serve as an interim chief of staff if Emanuel decides to leave. The chief of staff job is so significant -- it is vital they get somebody in there who can keep the White House moving forward if the current chief of staff leaves in the coming weeks.
Senior Advisor Pete Rouse's bio:
Peter M. Rouse is Senior Advisor to President Barack H. Obama. He was a co-chair of the Obama-Biden Transition Project, a senior adviser to President Obama's campaign, and chief of staff to then-Senator Barack Obama.
Known as the "101st Senator" for his extensive knowledge of Congress, Rouse served as chief of staff to members of the United States Congress for more than thirty years. Before joining President Obama's Senate office in 2004, he was chief of staff to former Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) for 19 years. He also served as chief of staff to then-Rep. Dick Durbin of Illinois (1984-85) and Lt. Governor Terry Miller of Alaska (1979-83).
Rouse received a B.A. from Colby College, an M.A. from the London School of Economics, and an M.P.A. from Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.
A source close to Rahm Emanuel told me Tuesday night that the White House chief of staff is still in the evaluation process on whether he'll run for mayor of Chicago. The source describes it as a two-step process: 1) make a decision; if yes, 2) figure out the timing.
Regarding timing, the source notes Emanuel has $1.2 million in his federal campaign account from being a congressman, so he does not have the immediate fundraising pressure other potential candidates may have. The source notes as a former member of Congress, Emanuel has a network of people who could help him get a campaign rolling quickly. With that said, this person also notes Chicago politics is very local, and would require him to sell his candidacy on the ground to key constituencies.
Some complicating factors: Larry Summers leaving his economic post at the end of the year leaves a major role on the Obama team open; there is an important election in six weeks, and the source says Emanuel may feel some loyalty to working with members of Congress he has had close relationships with over the years down the home stretch of this campaign.
Bottom line: this person says Rahm Emanuel is a decisive person, and if he decides to run (which most expect), then things could happen very quickly.