Daley, Emanuel talk transition at breakfast

February 28, 2011 4:26:55 PM PST
For the first time since the election, Chicago's outgoing mayor and the mayor-elect discussed transition Monday over eggs and oatmeal.

Mayor Daley and Rahm Emanuel sat down at a West Loop restaurant at approximately 7 a.m. while they talked about the transition of leadership, and only ABC7 Chicago was there.

The mayor's office says Daley has often gone to the Le Peep restaurant over the years for early-morning meetings.

It appeared Daley and Emanuel were engaged in intense conversation -- without their suit jackets. The breakfast meeting lasted for more than an hour. Both the mayor and mayor-elect left the restaurant through a back door to avoid ABC7's cameras.

ABC7 is told that Emanuel requested a meeting with the mayor days ago. However, Daley was away on vacation until Sunday and had not been able to meet with Emanuel in the days following the election.

The mayor says his intention is to ensure a smooth transition, and that is what he said his conversation with Emanuel was about. He said the meeting went well.

"I just got back from a couple days off, and what I said was we're going to have a good transition team together with a chief of staff and others," Daley said. "The city's in good hands, and I'm very proud of it."

After the meeting, the mayor went directly to a scheduled news conference to make his latest push for what he calls 'common sense' gun laws. Initially Daley appeared upset that reporters wanted to talk about the election instead of gun control.

"I want to answer questions on this issue. This is the issue that is confronting our city and America. Everything else is separate," said Daley.

Later Daley confirmed his meeting with the mayor-elect.

"We talked about a transition, his transition team working with city government. A good meeting. We have more meetings to come in regards to that," said Daley.

Emanuel spokesman Ben LaBolt issued a statement saying the meeting with Daley was held "to discuss the transition and the challenges facing the city. They agreed to work together on the transition process."

"Everybody just doesn't leave and walk out. You're public servants. You have worked for government. When someone comes in, then you transfer that responsibility to those individuals," Daley later said at a press conference on common sense gun laws.

But Daley offered virtually no other details. And he could not understand why reporters were so interested in the Emanuel meeting when there were guns on the table to be discussed.

"It's the most difficult issue I ever dealt with. I don't know why people are not outraged about their fellow citizens are getting killed," said Daley.

Daley early-voted and was in the British Virgin Islands with wife Maggie on Election Day.

Mayor-elect Emanuel spent the weekend in Chicago continuing his work on the transition. Some members of his team also met with some of Mayor Daley's staff last week.

The mayor was joined at the news conference by U.S. Representative Mike Quigley who replaced Emanuel in Congress. Daley and Quigley want every gun sale subject to a federally-ordered background check.

Daley made it clear that he considers his own agenda most important until he leaves office on May 16.