Chicago Mayor and former Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel appears to be circling the wagon of a 2016 presidential run, according to The Washington Times
Two unidentified political strategists at the recent Conservative Political Action Conference postulated on possible and probable candidates, and Emanuel’s name was bandied about.
"Maybe in the lead role, maybe the running mate," one of the strategists said. "Hey, he’s already been in the White House."
In addition to serving under Obama, Emanuel was senior policy and strategy adviser for President Bill Clinton.
The famously diminutive, and acerbic, politician has embarked on a public relations blitz
to soften his image, according to William J. Kelly, a Chicago-based media strategist.
In the past month, Emanuel has:
• debuted on CNN’s Robert Redford-produced reality series Chicagoland
• been featured in this month’s Esquire
magazine "with lots of prose about how Emanuel 'inherited' most of Chicago’s ailments. (Hint: It’s not his fault!)," according to Kelly
• sat with New York Times columnist David Brooks for a Brookings Institute live audience forum to discuss how Chicago policy has innovated under Emanuel’s tutelage
• penned a full-page article in the Chicago Sun-Times trumpeting the Windy City’s "inspiring digital future;
• appeared on "The Tonight Show" with Jimmy Fallon to take the annual "Polar Plunge" in Chicago’s frigid temps.
And later this month, Emanuel will join billionaire Sam Zell as a featured speaker at Steve Forbes’ "Reinventing America" summit, where he will discuss the heartland and topics such as "cheap energy, innovative manufacturing, and job creation."
"All noteworthy planks for a potential platform," the Times notes.
Kelly opines that it’s too soon to know what higher office Emanuel might be seeking — he added Illinois Republican Sen. Mark Kirk’s seat to the mix – but "clearly, the campaign is under way."
To be successful, the man known as both Rahmbo and mayor of the 1 percent has lots of work to do to rehab his public image, according to Kelly.
His poll numbers in Chicago are in the tank, Kelly writes, and Moody’s recently downgraded the city’s credit rating after the City Council’s approval of Emanuel’s idea to borrow $1 billion. And that’s not Emanuel’s only "political black eye."
"Chicagoans don’t like that Emanuel has shut down Chicago Public Schools in favor of the taxpayer-funded charter schools that his pals have a financial interest in," according to Kelly. "Chicagoans don’t like that he has put their children in the gang cross hairs by the closing of those schools.
"Last week, when Emanuel finally admitted some responsibility for Chicago’s epic homicide spike in 2012, he couched it as the 'slow' response of police to splintered gangs. So the Chicago Police don’t like Emanuel either."
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