Tellurian

Bill Clinton endorses Emanuel, fires back at critics

In Bill Clinton, news on January 19, 2011 at 12:09 am

Former President Bill Clinton appears at a rally for Chicago mayoral candidate and former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2011, in Chicago. Emanuel is vying to succeed the retiring Mayor Richard Daley. The election is Feb. 22. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)

Former President Bill Clinton endorsed Rahm Emanuel for Chicago mayor today and chastised critics who have sought to label the mayoral contender an outsider from Washington.

“We all knew where his heart was,” Clinton said of Emanuel’s love for Chicago while serving his presidential administration. “But we were glad to have his mind.”

Clinton recounted how he first met Emanuel while running for the White House and later tapped him to serve in a top strategic policy role. The former president called Emanuel “fearlessly honest” while acknowledging the candidate sometimes uses “extremely colorful language.” He credited Emanuel’s “skill set and values and sheer raw energy and determination and love” for the jobs he was assigned.

Speaking for nearly 20 minutes at the Chicago Cultural Center following a $250,000 closed-door fundraiser, Clinton said Chicago was “critical” to the nation’s future and needs “a big person for the job” of mayor.

“Rahm is not even 6-feet tall. He probably weighs about 150 pounds dripping wet. But in all the ways that are important, he is a very big person,” Clinton said. “He has made big decisions.”

Emanuel called Clinton a “teacher” and a “mentor” and credited the former president for instilling the values that led him to run for Congress as well as for mayor.

“I could not ask for a better role model than you,” he told Clinton and said he would “bring that same determination and grit” he displayed in the Clinton White House to the problems confronting the city.

“The challenge of change requires determination, strength, vision and courage,” Emanuel said. “Chicago is big enough, tough enough, strong enough and resilient enough to meet the challenge of change head on.”

Clinton’s endorsement was not without controversy. U.S. Rep. Danny Davis, D-Ill., a former mayoral candidate, had contended Clinton risked jeopardizing his standing with the African-American community by endorsing Emanuel. Prior to Clinton’s appearance, Emanuel aides used the rally stage to feature various supporters who are African-American.

When Emanuel left the White House, Clinton appointed him to the board of Freddie Mac. Emanuel’s position on the board has been highlighted by other mayoral candidates, including Gery Chico and Miguel del Valle. In an attempt to distract from the star power Emanuel has been able to draw, both held news conferences an hour before Clinton is scheduled to arrive.

Chico accused Emanuel of failing a character test for not speaking out about unscrupulous accounting practices at mortgage giant Freddie Mac, where Emanuel was appointed to the board of directors by then-President Clinton in 2000.

Quoting repeatedly from a 2009 Tribune article about Emanuel’s time at Freddie Mac, Chico said company executives told the board about a plan to mislead shareholders about the profits the government-chartered company was then reaping from risky investments.

“Running for public office is about having the guts to do what’s right,” Chico said at his downtown campaign headquarters. “One of my opponents, Rahm Emanuel, likes to talk about ‘hard truths’ and ‘cleaning up City Hall.’ He even made an ad about it. But the question to be asked is, ‘Is Rahm Emanuel himself willing to tell the hard truths?'”

“It’s about character, about who will do what at the time, when something like this is presented to you,” Chico added. “And when it was presented to Rahm Emanuel, he chose to look the other way, sat on his hands, took the corporate fees and the stock options, and went away.”

Emanuel spokesman Ben LaBolt offered a response to Chico’s comments.

“Rahm didn’t sit on the audit committee and isn’t named in any of the reports on the matter. Again Mr Chico knows this isn’t credible,” LaBolt wrote in an e-mail.

Emanuel made at least $320,000 for his 14-month stint on the Freddie Mac board, the Tribune reported.

http://newsblogs.chicagotribune.com/clout_st/2011/01/clinton-campaigning-in-chicago-for-emanuel-today.html

 

Advertisements
  1. hello! =) i’m at work right now, thus i do not have very much time to write… however! I really enjoyed reading your post. It turned out to be a bunch of excellent stuff. thanks! Best regards

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: