President Barack Obama said Tuesday morning that his former chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, doesn’t need any White House help in his bid for mayor of Chicago.
“He seems to be doing just fine on his own,” the president told a reporter who asked at a press conference whether Obama was making calls for Emanuel before next Tuesday’s primary.
“He’s been very busy shoveling snow out there,” Obama added, a reference to Emanuel’s efforts after the major winter storm to help Chicagoans shovel out from underneath several feet of snow. “I’ve been very impressed with it. I never saw him shoveling around here.”
Former school board President Gery Chico and former Sen. Carol Moseley Braun are the top opponents to Emanuel, a former chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
A Democrat is expected to win in the heavily Democratic city, but the top candidate must get more than 50 percent of the vote in the primary to avoid an April runoff. A Chicago Tribune/WGN poll released Friday showed Emanuel leading by 30 points but not quite clearing the 50 percent threshold. In the poll, Emanuel got 49 percent, Chico got 19 percent, Moseley Braun got 10 percent, and City Clerk Miguel del Valle got 8 percent. The poll of 718 registered voters was conducted Feb. 2-5 and had a margin of error of 3.7 points.
On Sunday, Moseley Braun committed a major gaffe when she compared Emanuel, who is Jewish, to Adolf Hitler. At a campaign event she compared Emanuel’s positive ads to the way the dictator was portrayed as “a kind man, a gentle man” in the film “The Producers.”
“The joke in it, was this guy who was still in love with the ‘Führer,' with Adolf Hitler. And he said ‘the Führer, he was a kind man, he was a gentle man.’ We’re getting the kind man, the gentle man, on television,” Braun said of Emanuel, according to WLS radio.
On Tuesday Emanuel released a new ad featuring Chicagoans extolling Emanuel as a fighter for the Windy City.