Rahm Emanuel and Barack Obama AP
President Barack Obama gives outgoing White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel a hug after Emanuel announced that he will be stepping down to run for Mayor of Chicago, Friday, Oct. 1, 2010. Photo by AP
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Former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel announced in an online video posted on Sunday that he was running for mayor of Chicago, urging residents to tell him in "blunt Chicago terms" how to make the nation's third-largest city better.

The candidacy had already been considered a given, especially since Emanuel, 50, resigned as White House chief of staff in a ceremony on Friday.

He said in the video he is embarking on a "Tell It Like It Is" listening tour of the city.

"As I prepare to run for mayor, I'm going to spend the next few weeks visiting our neighborhoods, at grocery stores, El (train) stops, bowling alleys, and hot dog stands," said Emanuel, shown seated at a desk with a jacket and open-necked white shirt.

"I'm calling it the 'Tell It Like It Is Tour.' I want to hear from you, in blunt Chicago terms, what you think about our city and how the next mayor, and you, can make it better."

He joins what already appears may be a crowded field of candidates to replace six-term Mayor Richard Daley in the Feb. 22, 2011, election.

Candidates need 12,500 petition signatures by late November to get on the ballot.

If no one wins a majority, the top two vote-getters will square off again on April 5 for a four-year term.

The election is nonpartisan, but Democrats have dominated the city's politics for decades.

Emanuel will have an edge in terms of name recognition, and a head start in fund-raising with $1.2 million left over from his congressional campaign fund, political analysts said.

Whoever occupies city hall will face a steep e650 million budget deficit, and Emanuel said there will be "no sacred cows" in bringing the city's financial house in order.

Emanuel, who political experts have said owes much to Daley, went out of his way to praise the mayor's stewardship in the video address.

A former congressman representing the North Side of this city of 3 million, Emanuel grew up in a Chicago suburb. His political career also included stints with President Bill Clinton.

Emanuel's website, www.ChicagoforRahm.com, invites viewers to connect to a link to his Facebook page. Under biographical details, the page lists his political views simply as "Liberal."