Mayor Emanuel insists the last two months have not been the low point of his term in office. He says Chicago's future is bright, despite public school issues, persistent crime in many neighborhoods, and a dramatic credit downgrade.
"Moody's is warning us that if you don't deal with this, that future is not going to be as strong as it can be," said Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
After 27 months of deals with city workers, new efficiencies and cost-saving programs, Moody's triple downgrade of Chicago's credit suggested the city's fiscal situation is worse off than it was in May 2011.
The mayor blamed the state for not reforming public pension systems.
"Unless we deal with this pension issue, all the hard work of finally righting the ship will be for naught," said Mayor Emanuel.
He blamed teachers pensions for class room cuts and since June, nearly 3,000 layoffs in the Chicago Public Schools. His critics say the cuts and closures of 49 schools have wrought chaos in the district.
"With the way the school closings have worked, even the fear of school closings, it's worked as a destabilizing factor," said Rev. Gregory Livingston, Mission of Faith Baptist Church.
But the Mayor's allies say Chicagoans should not forget the longer school day, higher graduation rates and improving test scores.
"I hope they'll understand or come to understand that we are making a better, stronger CPS," said Jesse Ruiz, Chicago Board of Education.
"There are budgetary issues. But that doesn't take away from the strength of our education and the things that we are achieving," said Mayor Emanuel.
Before his 2011 election, Emanuel campaigned on a promise of stable finances, stronger schools and safer streets.
The police department reports the overall crime rate-- including shootings and murders-- is down.
But high-profile crimes continue to overwhelm the statistics.
"The four-year-old girl that was shot yesterday-- Khalise-- that's horrible! Is that the Mayor's fault? No. Is that the Mayor and Police Chief's responsibility? Yes," said Rev. Livingston.
"I see crime coming down. I see the shootings coming down, I see the homicides. And then I make a call, one parent to another, as not just the Mayor, and it's the toughest thing about the job," said Mayor Emanuel.
During ABC7's interview, the mayor's staff showed a study published in The Economist ranking Chicago as one of the top ten cities in the world for business and economic growth.
Clearly they want Chicagoans to know this international recognition happened on Rahm Emanuel's watch.