Emanuel officially preparing for mayor run

December 15, 2010 12:31:20 PM PST
Former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel stopped just short of announcing his candidacy for mayor Sunday and posted a video to his new Internet site in which he says he is preparing to run and wants to hear what voters in Chicago have to say.Emanuel says he wants to hear, in blunt terms, what Chicagoans think, but experts say it is just as important for voters to hear what he has to say about the city because he will be attacked as an outsider. Despite several years working in Washington, Emanuel is trying to build up his Chicago roots on his website.

Emanuel just moved back to Chicago after resigning his position at the White House Friday. He joins a growing list of people interested in replacing Mayor Daley when he retires from office next year.

The former Chicago congressman is calling this new effort the "Tell It Like It Is Tour."

As modern day politics would have it, Emanuel's first step toward the big announcement was a 2 min and 11 second-announcement video posted on the Web:

"Hi, I'm Rahm Emanuel," he says in the video. "My father came to Chicago as an immigrant from Israel. I was born here, and my wife, Amy, and I raised our three children here."

However, Emanuel has spent some time in the suburbs and in Washington D.C., as well.

Two days after he quit his White House job, the ChicagoForRahm.com website was online and the messages posted are ones of praise for Mayor Daley, as well as the big challenge ahead.

"To be city we want to be, we can no longer accept business as usual. In attacking our budget deficit, there must be no sacred cows," Emanuel says online.

Beginning Monday, Emanuel will be hitting the neighborhoods, visiting coffee jobs, grocery stores and hot dog stands for the Tell It Like It Is Tour. And while the former White House Chief of Staff has enjoyed media frenzy, political consultant Don Rose tells ABC7 Chicago that Emanuel has an uphill road ahead of him.

"Emanuel will be attacked as an outsider. He'll be attacked as a volatile personality, as a potential dictator in the city council," Rose said.

"Rahm Emanuel will probably viewed as a carpet bagger or parachuting in from D.C.," said Dick Simpson, UIC political science chair.

Emanuel is well-financed and likely will be praised for his experience, but Rose says voters should expect the mayor's race to get nasty.

"This is not going to be a free ride for Rahm Emanuel, by any means," he said.

Some political experts say Emanuel also faces an uphill battle with some Latino and African-American voters.

"Latinos are mad at him because they think he mocked immigration reform. African-Americans are mad at him because of civil rights and housing," said Simpson.

Emanuel is already taking heat from one of his rivals. Chicago City Colleges head Gery Chico is calling on Emanuel to disclose everything he can about his role in former governor Rod Blagojevich's pick to fill Barack Obama's former Senate seat.

"That deserves full disclosure and full scrutiny by the public. People need to know how that went down," Chico said.

That's something Emanuel probably will be asked about it on his tour Monday And on his website message, Emanuel says he wants to hear from Chicagoans in blunt terms.


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