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***Update, 11/6 4:50 pm***
Both Emanuel and Obama have released statements on the selection.
From President-Elect Obama:
"I am pleased to announce that my good friend, Congressman Rahm Emanuel, has agreed to serve as my White House chief of staff. I announce this appointment first because the Chief of Staff is central to the ability of a President and Administration to accomplish an agenda. And no one I know is better at getting things done than Rahm Emanuel.
"During his seven years in the Clinton White House, Rahm was the point man on some of the most difficult issues, from the passage of landmark anti-crime legislation to the expansion of health care coverage for children. In just six years in Congress, he has risen to leadership, helping to craft myriad important pieces of legislation and guide them to passage. In between, Rahm spent several years in the private sector, where he worked on large and complicated financial transactions. That experience, combined with his service on the committees on Ways and Means and Banking, have given Rahm deep insights into the challenging economic issues that will be front and center for our Administration. Though Rahm understands how to get things done in Washington, he still looks at the world from the perspective of his neighbors and constituents on the Northwest Side of Chicago, who work long and hard, and ask only that their government stand on their side and honor their values. The son of an Israeli immigrant, Rahm shares a passionate love for this country, and has devoted much of his life to its cause.
"His decision to accept this position is a wonderful reflection of that commitment, for it is not easy to give up the significant position he holds today as chair of the House Democratic conference. The post he has accepted also will require more time away from Amy, and their children, Zach, Ilana and Leah, which I know is painful and difficult.
"I appreciate his friendship. And I, and all Americans, should be grateful that Rahm is once again answering his country's call," said President-elect Barack Obama.
From Rep. Emanuel:
"I know what a privilege it is to serve in the White House, and am humbled by the responsibility we owe the American people. I'm leaving a job I love to join your White House for one simple reason - like the record amount of voters who cast their ballot over the last month, I want to do everything I can to help deliver the change America needs. We have work to do, and Tuesday Americans sent Washington a clear message - get the job done.
"I have loved the time I spent in the House, both the successes and the setbacks, and I am grateful to the people of the Fifth Congressional district who sent me to work on their behalf. I was proud to serve on a leadership team with Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Majority Whip Jim Clyburn. They have taught me invaluable lessons--even a few lessons in humility, believe it or not.
"I want to say a special word about my Republican colleagues, who serve with dignity, decency and a deep sense of patriotism. We often disagree, but I respect their motives. Now is a time for unity, and Mr. President-elect, I will do everything in my power to help you stitch together the frayed fabric of our politics, and help summon Americans of both parties to unite in common purpose.
"It has been almost 150 years since Americans turned to a proud son of Illinois as their President. Early in his first term, Abraham Lincoln said, "The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew."
"Today, once again, our country is piled high with difficulty, and Americans have put their trust in President-elect Barack Obama and Vice-President-elect Joe Biden to think and act anew. And Mr. President-elect, I promise that your White House will do everything in our power to rise to the occasion," said Congressman Rahm Emanuel.
Hard-charging Illinois Rep. Rahm Emanuel has accepted the job of chief of staff under Barack Obama, the Huffington Post has confirmed.
Emanuel, who served as a political and policy aide in the Clinton White House before running for Congress, weighed the family and political considerations before accepting. He will have to resign his seat, relinquish his position in the House Democratic leadership and put aside hopes of becoming House speaker.
More on Emanuel in this slideshow:
Democratic officials who disclosed Obama's acceptance did so on the condition of anonymity to avoid angering Obama's team; it had not planned to announce the chief of staff position on Thursday.
In offering the White House post to Emanuel, Obama turned to a fellow Chicago politician with a far different style from his own, a man known for his bluntness as well as his single-minded determination.
House GOP leader John Boehner of Ohio called Emanuel "an ironic choice for a president-elect who has promised to change Washington, make politics more civil, and govern from the center."
Before accepting the job, Emanuel told Chicago's WLS-TV that he was honored to be considered but needed to weigh the impact on his family.
"I have a lot to weigh: the basis of public service, which I've given my life to, a career choice. And most importantly, what I want to do as a parent," Emanuel said in an interview aired Wednesday. "And I know something about the White House. That, I assume, is one of the reasons that President-elect Obama would like me to serve. But I also know something about what it means to a family."
Emanuel combines political instincts, White House experience and a Chicago tough-guy attitude -- traits that he's likely to need as chief of staff.
His combative style as political director in the early days of the Clinton administration earned him the nickname "Rahmbo." He didn't always produce results, though. Emanuel lost that job but stayed on as a senior adviser and oversaw some of Clinton's top initiatives, including NAFTA and an assault-weapons ban.
After a lucrative stint in banking, Emanuel was elected to Congress in 2002 and quickly became a major power. He wound up overseeing the party's House election efforts in 2006 and won a majority for Democrats through tireless fundraising and candidate recruitment.
"He's a good tactician. He's a creative thinker. But I think what probably makes him most successful is that he has the will to follow his convictions," Rep. Danny Davis, D-Ill., said after the 2006 victory.
Emanuel grew up in the ritzy Chicago suburb of Wilmette, the son of an Israeli doctor who moved to the United States. His brother, Ari, is a Hollywood agent and the inspiration for Ari Gold, the Type-A superagent on HBO's show "Entourage."
His start in politics came after college, when he worked for Paul Simon's 1984 Senate campaign and Richard Daley's run for Chicago mayor in 1989.
Then he went to work for a little-known Arkansas governor who wanted to be president. Story continues below
Emanuel's fundraising skills are credited with helping keep Bill Clinton's campaign afloat during some rocky times, particularly the scandal over whether he slept with Gennifer Flowers.
In 1999, Emanuel left the White House for Chicago to work in investment banking. The firm he joined was soon sold and Emanuel made millions, giving him the financial security to get back into politics.
When he was tapped to oversee the 2006 campaign effort, Emanuel led a record fundraising effort, bringing in far more money than four years earlier. The single biggest source of money was other members of Congress, which irritated some members who faced fierce pressure to contribute.
The additional money allowed House Democrats to expand the field, going into districts that hadn't been considered competitive before. That sometimes meant recruiting more conservative candidates, an Emanuel strategy that generated some complaints.
But his success in electing a Democratic majority soothed most hard feelings and confirmed Emanuel as a major force in the House -- perhaps even a future speaker.
Related: Complete coverage of Rahm Emanuel.