Rendell muses about White House job

HARRISBURG - Gov. Rendell says replacing Rahm Emanuel as President Obama's chief of staff would be "the only government job I'd take" after leaving Harrisburg, but is firm in his belief that he'd be the last person the president would pick.

"If I were president," Rendell quipped Friday, "I'd be the last person I'd choose. I'm not the right person for it. I'm too much of a free spirit."

Rendell made his remarks during a telephone interview shortly after an interview with Bloomberg Television's Political Capital with Al Hunt, which will air this weekend.

In the TV segment, Rendell said that the chief of staff position is "the only job" he'd be interested in, although he acknowledged his tendency to speak bluntly and "mix it up" did not fit the Obama administration's modus operandi.

Asked to explain those comments later, the governor said that he was joking around and that landing the chief of staff job "isn't in the realm of possibility."

"You might as well say I'll be pitching for the Phillies," he said. "It's not going to happen."

So what will Rendell do come January, when his second and last term ends?

He will continue to write his book of memoirs from his long career in public office (Philadelphia district attorney, Philadelphia mayor, Pennsylvania governor). He said he would teach more (he now teaches a political science class at the University of Pennsylvania). And he will do more sports TV (he's been a fixture on Comcast's Eagles Postgame Live show).

He also said he'd continue to cochair Building America's Future, the coalition he founded with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California, and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg to promote U.S. investment in infrastructure.

"None of which will pay the rent," he said, adding that he'd probably "hook up" with a law firm so he can do so.

Given his near daily presence on the political talk-show circuit, is there a television show in the works?

"I've heard the rumors," the governor said, "but there's nothing concrete. Would I like to do that? Sure. It gives you a platform to affect the public dynamic."


Contact Inquirer staff writer Angela Couloumbis at 717-787-5934 or