Emanuel says summit showed off Chicago

May 21, 2012 8:39:48 PM PDT
As the NATO summit wrapped up in Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel echoed President Obama's praise for the city.

President Obama offered Chicago an opportunity that Mayor Emanuel took at some political risk. As the two-day summit ended Monday afternoon without any major disruptions, Emanuel exhaled.

"Because of the NATO Summit, we have shown the world we are a world class, first class city," Emanuel said.

The mayor said he is not concerned about the images of protesters still flashing around the world. He's confident that people elsewhere will know that those clashing with Chicago police were not legitimate protesters but professional troublemakers.

"They're not the same people," he said. "The protesters have a legitimate view, legitimate ideas."

The mayor noted the summit provided an opportunity for many foreign leaders and reporters to make their first visits to Chicago.

"I cannot tell you how many times I heard 'what a beautiful city you have, what a great meeting you ran,'" said Lori Healey, NATO Host Committee.

Healey, who predicted a $128 million economic impact from the summit, blamed the small business slowdown in the Loop on the news media.

"So much attention in the media paid to 'oh, my God, don't come downtown' ... it was fine," she said.

"I'm sorry for any inconvenience, although I think for the long term as well as I think for the immediate term there will be a benefit for the city," said Emanuel.

Police say the mayor was a firebombing target of accused terrorism suspects arrested before the summit began. He said he was not worried about his own security. But Emanuel did say he wished protesters would not make their points at his family's North Side house, as they did over the weekend.

"I have an office, that's where I work. If we have a public dispute, go there," he said.


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