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US energy boom as big as Internet: Mayor Emanuel

The energy boom is upending a lot of old assumptions about the viability of U.S. manufacturing, and it's as key to American success as the invention of the Internet, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel told CNBC on Wednesday.

"Cheap energy—the revolution that's going on in America's heartland on energy—is making sure that America now has a manufacturing renaissance," the former Obama White House chief of staff said in a "Squawk Box" interview.

(Read more: Solving manufacturers' jobs dilemma)

"Washington is not talking about this," Emanuel said. "The biggest revolution equal to the Internet is the energy independence in the United States."

He appeared on "Squawk Box" with businessman Steve Forbes to talk about their upcoming "Reinventing America Summit," billed as a deep dive into the past, present and future of U.S. innovation and ingenuity.

The summit will be held in Chicago at the end of March.

By CNBC's Matthew J. Belvedere. Follow him on Twitter @Matt_SquawkCNBC .

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