Rahm Emanuel is expected to reach a decision within days as to whether he will remain the White House chief of staff.
Mr Emanuel, 50, is widely believed to be planning to swap Washington politics for Chicago where he will mount a bid to become the city’s new mayor.
He has spent his career working for Democrat politicians, serving as a senior adviser to President Bill Clinton from 1993 to 1998.
But there has been speculation for some time now that he will leave President Obama’s administration to run in Illinois, both his home state and where Mr Obama served as senator.
The current Chicago mayor, Richard Daley, announced recently that he was stepping down before the 2011 election.
Mr Emanuel was a fundraiser for Mr Daley’s first campaign in 1989.
A married father-of-three, he has hinted that he wants a job where he can spend more time with his family.
But Mr Emanuel is notoriously short-tempered and pundits have also attributed his desire to leave to personality differences with President Obama.
The son of an Irgun fighter, Mr Emmanuel’s middle name is Israel and he attends an Orthodox synagogue. He is said to have provided the inspiration for television's famous Jewish White House staffer, Josh Lyman , in the West Wing.
If he does leave Washington, it will be a blow for the president, who is predicted to suffer heavy losses to the Republican opposition at the mid-term elections in November.
However, President Obama has also commented that he thought his chief of staff would make "a terrific mayor."