Rahm Emanue, Amy Rule l
Charles Rex Arbogast  /  AP
Chicago mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel, left, and his wife Amy Rule acknowledge the crowd during inaugural ceremonies on Monday in Chicago.
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updated 5/16/2011 5:14:56 PM ET 2011-05-16T21:14:56

Rahm Emanuel was sworn in Monday as Chicago's first new mayor in two decades, a historic power shift for a city where the retiring Richard M. Daley was the only leader a generation had ever known.

The former White House chief of staff took the oath of office in Millennium Park, a signature accomplishments in Daley's efforts to transform Chicago from an industrial hub into a global tourist destination.

"It is time to take on the challenges that threaten the very future of our city: the quality of our schools, the safety of our streets, the cost and effectiveness of city government, and the urgent need to create the jobs of the future," Emanuel said in his inaugural speech.

BLTWY: 10 fun facts about Chicago's new mayor
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Emanuel inherits a city with big financial problems. His transition team predicted a $700 million budget shortfall next year.

In his speech, Emanuel showed that he would not be shy about wading into national politics, referring to efforts in nearby states to eliminate union rights for many public employees.

Video: Rahm Emanuel becomes Chicago mayor (on this page)

"I reject how leaders in Wisconsin and Ohio are exploiting their fiscal crisis to achieve a political goal. That course is not the right course for Chicago's future," he said.

Emanuel represented Chicago in the U.S. Congress before he went to Washington to become President Barack Obama's senior aide.

Obama also came to Washington from Chicago, where he was a member of the Illinois legislature before representing the state in the U.S. Senate.

For a time it looked like Emanuel might not be able to run, as he found himself in a legal battle over whether he was a resident of Chicago. Once that issue was out of the way, Emanuel simply steamrolled over his opponents.

Armed with a $14 million campaign war chest that dwarfed those of his opponents, the only question in the last weeks of the race was whether Emanuel would get enough votes to avoid a runoff.

Emanuel, who kept his temper and his famously profane vocabulary in check during the campaign, ended up collecting 55 percent of the vote. In his last election campaigns, Daley was accustomed to collecting more than 70 percent.

Emanuel seemed to allude to his reputation when he spoke about school reform.

"As some have noted, including my wife, I am not a patient man," he said. "When it comes to improving our schools, I will not be a patient mayor."

Video: Emanuel: ‘Relieved for the voters’

Once elected, Emanuel wasted little time putting his administration together, bringing with him a number of people from his days in Washington.

For key posts, he went far outside the city. He hired a schools chief from New York State and a police superintendent from New Jersey. His press secretary comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington.

In a mark of Emanuel's continuing ties with Washington, Vice President Joe Biden attended the inauguration, as did Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geitner and two other cabinet secretaries. Also there was Obama's new chief of staff, William Daley — Emanuel's replacement and the outgoing mayor's brother.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Video: Rahm Emanuel becomes Chicago mayor

  1. Closed captioning of: Rahm Emanuel becomes Chicago mayor

    >>> is now the new mayor of chicago . the former congressman and white house chief of staff was sworn in to replace richard daly, who resigned after more than two decades in office. jim moran is an nbc contributor and chicago columnist for "the new york times" and joins us now. good to see you. this is a big change for chicago , which is our country's third biggest city. rahm emanuel now the mayor. and it comes at a time when chicago is facing real challenges, right?

    >> couldn't help but thinking the last two minutes that if donald trump claim his passion is business and mr. strauss-kahn's passion is allegedly passion, we're lucky to have someone whose passion is clearly government. he's got a big road to hoe as he made clear in the speech, which ended 20 minutes ago and as he did during a brilliantly executed campaign. the priorities will be huge deficit, mediocre schools at the very, very top and, like a lot of big cities , crime rate that is way too high.

    >> i want to tick through some of the challenges facing chicago that mayor emanuel now inherits. a projected 2012 deficit of somewhere between $587 million to $700 million. the school system that there is something like a 40% dropout rate and a $700 million deficit in the schools. how does he tackle those challenges?

    >> well, the schools, which are separate taxing body may be the number one priority. he gave that the most play in the speech that just ended, about a $720 million deficit. more important, judging -- it depends what figures you look at, but you may be right that the dropout rate of kids that get to freshman year and never finish may be somewhere in the 40s. there is no shortage of kids in the ninth grade and school system here who have fourth and fifth grade reading levels, even though richard daly, the departing mayor, built some of the most amazing elite high schools which now outperform those in the suburbs. the first thing rahm emanuel is going to do and it has been given to him on a silver platter, the state legislature last week, he's going to extend the shortest school day and school year in the united states by at least an hour. i have a kid in first grade, it is a scandal how short this day is here.

    >> no doubt. rahm emanuel is a powerful figure. was here in washington as the president's chief of staff and will no doubt want to make a big impact on the city of chicago for years to come. we'll be watching jim moran . good to see you.

Timeline: Rahm Emanuel

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