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Mayor on Obama’s poll numbers: ‘I would prefer to be in a different position’

Updated: November 12, 2012 12:07PM

First debates typically don’t turn out well for incumbent presidents, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Wednesday when asked about President Barack Obama’s declining poll numbers.

Since challenger Mitt Romney turned in a performance widely seen as besting Obama’s in the first debate last Wednesday, Romney has been moving up in the polls. He is ahead of Obama over-all for the first time, although the Associated Press reported Wednesday the president appears to maintain a narrow lead in many battleground states.

Emanuel, who served as Obama’s chief of staff before returning to Chicago to run for mayor, said at a meeting with the Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board that poll numbers have simply returned to about where they were before the political conventions.

“If you look at the history, all incumbents have…not a very good debate performance on the first one,” Emanuel said.

He defended Obama “as an incredibly great president” and said the nation is just beginning to see the fruits of the administration’s policies on such things as jobs and housing.

“He took tough decisions when the conventional wisdom was all against it,” Emanuel said. “He was lonely in those decisions, and he was right in those decisions.”

Reflecting on the president’s poll numbers, Emanuel acknowledged, “I would prefer to be in a different position…than where we are.”

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