It is “inconceivable” that President Obama would not pick a site in Chicago for his presidential library, former senior adviser David Axelrod said in an interview published Monday.


"The president spent so much of his life trying to revive the South Side of Chicago; he represented this area," Axelrod told USA Today. "It would be so meaningful to this community to have that library and that center here, and I think he knows what it would mean."

The foundation evaluating potential sites for Obama’s library has narrowed the field to four bids — one in New York City, one in Hawaii and two in Chicago. The favorite has long been thought to be the University of Chicago, where the president and first lady used to work and where Axelrod has launched a new Institute for Politics. But late last year, members of the foundation expressed concerns that the university’s bid relied on acquiring public parklands for the library site.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s former chief of staff, moved last month to get the city council to approve legislation allowing the transfer of the parkland if the University of Chicago is selected as the host.

Axelrod said the thought of Obama selecting the site at Columbia University, where he attended college, was deeply upsetting to Chicagoans.

"I can tell you that, from the standpoint of Chicagoans, it's inconceivable,” Axelrod said. "There may be some debates about sitings, but if you ask people here, 'What about New York City?' the color will drain from their face."