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Although he is now counting down the final days of his successful eight-year mayoral term, Ed Rendell isn't spending any time looking back. In fact, he isn't even pausing to take a breath. "I don't have any time to reflect," said Rendell, who was recently named general chairperson of the Democratic National Committee. "I'm leaving one pressure cooker to go to another." The pressure Rendell refers to will come from his DNC job. He will spend the next 10 months, leading up to the 2000 presidential election, engaged in non-stop traveling and fundraising for Democratic candidates. Rendell sat down with the local media yesterday afternoon and talked about the nostalgia pangs he feels leaving office, the many accomplishments of his mayorship and his future political aspirations. After eight long, busy years in City Hall -- during which he successfully revived the economy, balanced Philadelphia's budget and rejuvenated the Center City district -- many would think that Rendell had earned the right to a brief rest. But Rendell will jump straight into the DNC position come January. He had initially planned to relax a little this winter, but when the DNC position came up -- and President Clinton personally recruited him for it -- Rendell said he was pleased to accept the responsibility. "I'd like to elect a Democratic president and Democratic Congress," he said. As well as working for the DNC, Rendell will teach two Urban Studies classes at Penn in the spring semester. And the frenetic pace may continue beyond this year if Rendell makes his predicted run for governor in 2002. "I think there's a decent likelihood I will [run]. I still believe I want to do some things that influence the quality of peoples' lives," Rendell said. Rendell said he will not break out the tissues when Mayor-elect John Street officially takes office on January 3 -- instead, he'll be on the road for the DNC. And just as he doesn't spend time looking backwards, Rendell said he dislikes discussing what his lasting impact on the city will be. "I'm not a big legacy person," he said. "I think when you're underground it doesn't matter a whole lot what people think of you." Still, in many ways, Rendell's achievements speak for themselves. When Rendell took office in 1991, he inherited a city with a $200 billion deficit and failing city services. Now, eight years later, Rendell can look out of his City Hall office to a very different Philadelphia. He has successfully rejuvenated the economy; tamed finances by submitting six years of balanced budgets; and lured the 2000 Republican National Convention to town. But Rendell said he is most proud of his work restoring "hope and belief in this city." The enthusiasm has caught on. Vice President Al Gore dubbed Rendell "America's Mayor," and Wawa even named a hoagie after him. While many experts say that Rendell's political savvy and spunky personality will be a hard act to follow, Rendell himself said he has full confidence in his successor. "I'm extraordinarily impressed with the things John has done during the transition," he said.

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