Rahm Emanuel to headline pro-Clinton fundraisers

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel will headline two June fundraisers for Ready for Hillary, the group announced Friday morning.

"Hillary is smart, she's determined, and most importantly, she is a champion for the American people," Emanuel said in a statement. "I'm proud to make my support for her official, and I'm even prouder to join more than two million Americans encouraging her to run."

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Emanuel praised Hillary for her work as first lady while he was serving in the administration of her husband Bill Clinton.

"I saw what an effective leader she was -- like when she spoke out on women's rights in Beijing and when she played an instrumental role in passing the Children's Health Insurance Program," he said. "I know that as president, she would continue to move our country forward."

Both fundraising events are to be held in Chicago on June 5.

The Ready for Hillary PAC that seeks to encourage Hillary Clinton to run for president in 2016. Clinton is a huge favorite to win the Democratic nomination if she runs, but she has not yet committed to a campaign.

Emanuel had previously pledged to back Hillary if she runs for president, telling CNN in October that "If she runs, I'm in."

Emanuel has extensive ties to the Clintons, directing Bill Clinton's finance committee during his 1992 presidential campaign and serving as a senior White House adviser from from 1993 to 1998. In 2006, while serving in the House, he pledged to support Hillary if she ran for president, but ultimately stayed neutral for the vast majority of the 2008 primary battle between her and Barack Obama. He finally endorsed Obama after all the Democratic primaries had ended, shortly before Clinton ended her campaign. He went on to serve as Obama's chief of staff for the first 21 months of Obama's presidency, before leaving to make his successful run for mayor of Chicago.

Bill Clinton will be making a fundraising appearance of his own on Emanuel's behalf later in June.