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The idea was to portray Emanuel, who worked as a top adviser to Presidents Obama and Clinton and was elected to four terms in Congress, as a creature of Washington, a politically entitled outsider and veteran fund-raiser who wanted to muscle his way into the office. After all, Emanuel started the campaign with more than a million dollars left over from his 2008 Congressional campaign, and he soon raised much more.
Illinois law placed no limits on political contributions until Jan. 1, and Emanuel made the most of the opportunity. He collected more than 70 contributions of $50,000 or more, accounting for roughly half the $10.5 million he raised by the end of last year. Those contributions alone were more than was raised by all of the other mayoral candidates combined.
Many of his biggest contributors live outside Chicago. He received large checks from New York (the financiers Roger Altman, Ronald Perelman and Donald Trump each gave $50,000); Silicon Valley ($50,000 from Steve Jobs); and especially Southern California, where Emanuel’s brother, Ari, a powerful Hollywood agent, raised money on his behalf.David Geffen gave $100,000, Steven Spielberg $75,000.
Money alone can’t buy the office, of course. (In 1983, Jane Byrne reportedly raised $10 million in her mayoral re-election bid, and she lost.) But Emanuel has spent wisely. He paid AKPD Message and Media, the consulting firm founded by David Axelrod, $2.2 million last year, the bulk of it for TV ads during a period when none of his opponents had a significant presence on the air.
The short time frame between the mayor’s announcement and the February election also played to the advantage of a man who has been inside political campaigns since before his graduation from Sarah Lawrence. There was no time to mount a draft movement for an exciting political outsider, someone like Patrick Fitzgerald, the white-knight federal prosecutor. Nor could labor quickly coalesce around an alternative to Emanuel, whom many union members dislike for his role in helping Bill Daley, then a special counsel to President Clinton, win Congressional approval for the North American Free Trade Agreement. The need for fast action also accentuated the power vacuum in the city’s African-American community. Representative Jesse Jackson Jr., who had long awaited the mayor’s departure, has been damaged, perhaps permanently, by Fitzgerald’s allegations that he was party to an arrangement to trade $1 million in campaign donations to Rod Blagojevich for Barack Obama’s vacant Senate seat. (Jackson denies any wrongdoing.) And in late October, Tom Dart, the popular sheriff with ties to the few remaining strong ward organizations on the South Side, decided not to enter the race, citing his obligations to his five young children. Had Dart stayed in, he surely would have pushed Emanuel into a runoff, at the very least. Dart’s withdrawal left Emanuel as the only major white candidate in a city where experts expect whites to be about 42 percent of the turnout. (Should Emanuel, who is Jewish, win on Tuesday, it will mark the end of an era. Every person elected mayor of Chicago for roughly the last 80 years, save Harold Washington, has been a white Roman Catholic.)
Still, Emanuel’s main electoral rivals each started the race with some advantage over him.Carol Moseley Braun emerged as the consensus black candidate in late December. She is the only major female contender and, as the first African-American woman ever elected to the Senate, back in 1992, she has virtually universal name-recognition. Gery Chico, a lawyer, will vie with Moseley Braun for second place. He was Mayor Daley’s chief of staff in the 1990s and the president of the Chicago public-school board from 1995 to 2001. “Of everybody who understands the nitty-gritty of [city] government, he probably is the most knowledgeable,” Bill Daley told me. Miguel del Valle, the city clerk, has won the admiration of progressives by refusing to take campaign money from anybody doing business with the city, but he has hobbled his campaign as a result.
“Within days, Rahm had 90 percent of who was going to do what in his campaign done, fixed,” says his friend William M. Daley, the mayor’s brother and the man who has now taken Emanuel’s former job as chief of staff in the White House. “Who the media person was, who the fund-raising person was, everything. Everybody else is thumbing around thinking who they’re going to hire. He’s off to the races.”
It is now obvious that the effort to toss Emanuel off the ballot backfired, not just because it wasn’t successful but also because the controversy created sympathy for him and gave him a platform from which he could combat his detractors’ sharpest critiques. On Dec. 14, Emanuel was called as the first witness in a residency hearing that took place in a low, windowless basement conference room in a county office building. Testifying at a folding table that served as a makeshift stand, Emanuel kept a photograph of his family right in front of him. The picture was taken on Oct. 1 last year, on the Truman Balcony during his last day at the White House, and was there, in part, to remind him of his youngest daughter. She made him laugh on the phone that morning with a line from her school play about Thomas Paine. “Daddy,” she said, “these are the times that try men’s souls.”
If the popular image of Emanuel is that he is arrogant and incendiary, what the news media and other observers saw that day was a soft-spoken, polite and responsive candidate. When Emanuel was baited by a lawyer who called his residence a “flophouse,” he avoided making a combative reply. And although he looked tired at the end of nearly 12 hours of proceedings, Emanuel remained patient even during the long afternoon session, when he was subjected to rambling speeches by a number of citizen objectors. Paul Black wanted to talk about something he called the F.B.I. “Mega File,” while Queen Sister Georgetta Deloney, who wore millinery that made her look as if a large golden coffeecake had landed on her head, took nearly five minutes before asking Emanuel a purely argumentative question about how he could claim Chicago residence if he couldn’t turn the key in his house.
Donald Trump has is having some identity issues.
Trump is against abortion, but he was for it.
Trump is against gay marriage, but he was for it.
Trump is a Republican now, but was a Democrat.
But at a time when he most wants to convince voters he’s a Republican,
So he can run for the GOP nomination,
Trump has donated $50,000 dollars to the man most responsible for President Obama’s “success” in Congress;