Rahm Emanuel leaves President Obama’s campaign to raise money for super PAC

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, President Obama’s former chief of staff, has stepped down as a cochair of Obama’s reelection campaign to focus on raising large donations for a super PAC supporting the president’s reelection, according to news reports.

Emanuel is a highly regarded fund-raiser and was one of the first members of Obama’s team to suggest that Democrats should establish a strong super PAC to aid the president, according to a recent e-book by Politico reporter Glenn Thrush. Obama -- a vocal critic of super PACs, to which donors can contribute unlimited sums of money -- rejected the advice.

In February, Obama begrudgingly announced that he would encourage supporters to donate to Priorities USA Action, a super PAC formed by former aides.


“With so much at stake, we can’t allow for two sets of rules in this election whereby the Republican nominee is the beneficiary of unlimited spending and Democrats unilaterally disarm,” Obama Campaign Manager Jim Messina said in a statement at the time.

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So far, Priorities USA Action has failed to compete with its conservative counterparts, raising only $25.5 million. Restore Our Future, a pro-Romney super PAC, has collected almost $90 million and another conservative super PAC, American Crossroads, has pulled in $47.3 million.

At the same time, Mitt Romney’s campaign has begun to consistently outraise Obama’s, prompting Democrats to worry that the president could face a significant disadvantage over the final two months of the campaign.

Callum Borchers can be reached at callum.borchers@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @callumborchers.