Outgoing Chicago Mayor Richard Daley said Saturday that if President Obama publicly backs his former chief of staff Rahm Emanuel in the Windy City's mayoral race, it won't necessarily affect the outcome.

Chicago voters will likely focus more intently on issues facing the city, instead of who the president thinks is the best candidate, Daley said, according to the Chicago Tribune.

"That's up to them to judge, and the people will judge," Daley said when asked about an Obama endorsement. "The voters are much smarter than the press give them [credit for], I just want to make sure you understand that. The people understand issues and understand candidates."


Obama ended weeks of speculation on Friday, announcing that Emanuel is leaving the White House to run for mayor of Chicago. Even though Emanuel, a Chicago-area native, has ties to the Daley family and over $1 million in campaign funds, it is not clear that he would enter the race as a definitive front-runner. 

At an East Room ceremony Friday, Obama, who adopted Chicago as his hometown, did not endorse Emanuel for mayor but said that he is "extraordinarily well qualified" for the position. 

Daley did not give Obama advice one way or another about an endorsement.

"[Obama] can endorse anyone he wants. You're not going to tell the president what to do, I'll tell you that, no one will do it," Daley said.