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Chicago's Emanuel says White House years made him better mayor

Mayor of Chicago Rahm Emanuel sits during the U.S. Conference of Mayors Winter Meeting in Washington January 23, 2014. REUTERS/Joshua Robert
Mayor of Chicago Rahm Emanuel sits during the U.S. Conference of Mayors Winter Meeting in Washington January 23, 2014. REUTERS/Joshua Robert

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said on Tuesday his time in the White House made him a better city leader and he could have been a better presidential aide if he had run a big city first.

Emanuel, who served in the White House under Democratic Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, appeared at the South by Southwest conference in Austin, where he delivered remarks intended to promote Chicago.

"I can't imagine being mayor today without having had the experience of working in the White House for both President Clinton and President Obama," he said.

"On the other hand, I think I would have been both a better senior advisor and a better chief of staff if I had been mayor first," Emanuel said.

Insight learned from local politics could have made him a more effective White House senior staffer, he said.

Emanuel, mayor since 2011, dressed in a suit and without a tie, spoke to a crowd of several hundred tech-savvy people, most of them wearing white T-shirts.

He extolled the virtues of Chicago's cultural plan to enhance its parks, museums and bicycle paths.

"I see culture as essential to the recruitment and economic development of the whole city," he said.

(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Gunna Dickson)

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