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Emanuel sworn in as Chicago's new mayor

/ Source: The Associated Press

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.

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.

"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."

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.