Gutierrez criticizes Emanuel on immigration

September 27, 2010 (CHICAGO)

Congressman Luis Gutierrez went on the attack Monday on Rahm Emanuel's record on immigration.

Monday marked the first time in the developing campaign for mayor that one potential candidate took a direct shot at another.

Whether or not Gutierrez decides to run, what he said about Rahm Emanuel could have long-term implications.

Gutierrez came to talk about aid for flood victims who might also be undocumented immigrants to assure them they had nothing to fear in applying for federal assistance.

"You have everything to gain and nothing to lose in this process," said Gutierrez.

Most of the questions, however, concerned his interest in running for mayor next year. Gutierrez wondered why the similarly "interested" White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel held meetings with "interested" congressmen Jesse Jackson, Jr., Danny Davis and Michael Quigley. Emanuel has not called Gutierrez.

"I haven't a clue - I mean, I imagine - should I declare my candidacy, he might give me a call," said Gutierrez.

Monday morning, President Barack Obama was asked if he would endorse his chief of staff in a mayoral campaign.

Obama said: "I have said I think he would be an excellent mayor, but until he makes a decision, I'm not going to be making decisions about how I'm going to approach it."

When questioned about Emanuel's appeal to Latino voters in a Chicago mayoral race, Gutierrez repeated his criticism of the White House Chief of Staff's record on immigration issues.

"I don't believe that he has helped facilitate the process to get us to comprehensive immigration reform," said Gutierrez.

Meanwhile, at city hall, State Senator Rickey Hendon, who wants to be mayor, says he would alleviate Chicago's budget deficit by proposing two riverboat casinos for the city.

"The Chicago bid could bring as much as one billion dollars into our city coffers as soon as the proposal is passed by the legislature and signed by the governor," said Hendon.

Mayor Daley, who had just returned from a trip to Asia, was asked if there was concern there about his leaving office and the affect it might have on the view of Chicago as a place to do business.

"This is not one town represented by one person - I'm sorry, I love this, I've worked hard, but there are many, many people who have made a commitment to build Chicago," said Daley.

Also on Monday, former Illinois Senate President Emil Jones confirmed that he has authorized a petition drive to put his name on the ballot for mayor next year.

Jones told me he is undecided about running but wants to have 12,500 valid signatures filed by November 22nd just in case.

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