Entries in Rahm Emanuel (45)


Chicago Pension Funds to Divest Gun Makers

Scott Olson/Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said on Monday that he would ask the city pension funds to divest any investments in companies that manufacture guns and will “lead a charge” among all mayors to tackle the issue.

“I’ve ordered all the Chicago pension funds to check any of their investments, and if they have it, we’re going to divest of any investments they have in any gun manufacturer,” Emanuel said at the Center for American Progress Monday morning.  “I’m going to lead a charge also among mayors, all mayors to head that effort.”

Chicago Comptroller Amer Ahmad will review the five major pension funds, which contain more than $13.5 billion in assets, to determine if there are any connections to gun manufacturers, the mayor’s office said in a statement.

Emanuel, who was joined by Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., chair of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task force, called for a comprehensive approach to gun control, and suggested that the initiatives should begin in the Democrat-controlled Senate.

“Start in the Senate, that’s where  you’re going to get your best leverage and then clear your decks and have the entire focus for a period of time on the House and I think…put the burner up,” Emanuel said.

While the White House has not announced a timetable to release its detailed plan on potential gun legislation, Emanuel suggested he would embrace the president’s package as early as Tuesday.

“I’m going to be… supporting the president’s entire package tomorrow,” Emanuel said.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Rahm Emanuel: Darrell Issa ‘Reckless’ for Releasing Libya Documents

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel lashed out at Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif, Sunday morning on This Week after the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee posted sensitive State Department cables relating to Libya online that “compromised the identities of several Libyans working with the U.S. government” according to Foreign Policy.

Emanuel called Issa’s actions “reckless” and said that they “put people at risk in Libya.”

“I have also worked in Congress where you have an oversight responsibility.  And with that oversight responsibility comes responsibility,” he said.  “And what Darrell Issa did by releasing names in that entire document of individuals who are working with America, put people at risk in Libya, and people around the world will now know that you’re at risk if you cooperate with the United States.  That office, that chairmanship of that committee comes with responsibility.  And you can not act reckless with it. ”

Emanuel defended the Obama administration’s handling of the Libya attack aftermath and said that it is not an issue that should be politicized.

“This is a time for the United States to come together, figure out what happened, which is what the commander in chief has to do, find out who did it, which is what the commander in chief has to demand, and then seek justice, which he has done repeatedly.  And I would warn again, or at least highlight again, when it came to getting Osama bin Laden, Mitt Romney said that shouldn’t be a priority of ours, and the president said absolutely different,” he said.

Issa, along with fellow GOP Congressman Jason Chaffetz of Utah penned a letter to President Obama last week that said the “American people deserve nothing less than a full explanation from this administration about these events, including why the repeated warnings about a worsening security situation appear to have been ignored.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama's Education Policies on Test in Chicago

Scott Olson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The teacher's strike in Chicago has the potential to become a big GOP talking point on the campaign trail if it continues to drag on.

Why?  The obvious reason is the close connection Obama has with Chicago.  The windy city is where his campaign is headquartered, and the mayor at odds with the teachers union is Obama's former chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel.

But there's another reason as well; the strike highlights a long simmering riff between the Obama administration's policies with regards to education, and one of the Democrats' biggest support groups -- the unions.

At the heart of the teacher's strike -- the first in Chicago in 25 years -- are several issues that have become hot-button topics in the world of education in recent years.

First and foremost, there is an argument about a new teachers evaluation system, which would make student's standardized test scores a big part of teacher evaluations.  Higher test scores for their class equals a better evaluation for the teacher.  The Chicago Teachers Union argues that this system is not a good way to measure a teacher's performance.

"This is no way to measure the effectiveness of an educator," the Chicago Teachers Union wrote in a press release on Sunday.  "Further there are too many factors beyond our control which impact how well some students perform on standardized tests such as poverty, exposure to violence, homelessness, hunger and other social issues beyond our control."

Emanuel has argued that the evaluation system was designed by teachers, saying, "The evaluation is designed by our teachers, for our teachers, and will be revised by our teachers."

Then, there are the arguments about job security, and benefits. On job security, the teachers union is pushing for a system to re-hire teachers who have previously been laid-off because of school closings when new jobs become available.  

On salary and benefits, the school district has offered a 16 percent raise over four years.  Chicago Teachers' Union president Karen Lewis has said that the CTU and the Chicago Public School's board are "not far apart on compensation" --  but there is still a debate over benefits.

The other lingering issue is an argument over a longer school day.  Emanuel has been pushing for a longer school day since before he was elected mayor, and several weeks before the strike the union and the Chicago Public Schools reached an agreement to hire upwards of 500 new teachers to accommodate the longer day without making teacher's work for longer hours. However, there is still anger between the two sides about the issue, and how it was handled.

Although the nation's largest education unions -- the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association -- have both endorsed Obama, his administration has not always seen eye to eye with the unions in this area.

The most talked-about part of the Obama administration's education policy is the Race to the Top program, a grant program funded by money from the stimulus which rewards states that are reforming their education systems.  Grants are awarded based on a series of criteria, including factoring standardized test scores into teacher evaluations.

Obama has also supported the expansion of charter schools, another policy point where he's differed from the teachers unions, as charter schools tend to hire non-union teachers.

The Obama administration has so far stayed silent on the story, but their silence has a political shelf life, and if the strike does continue, at a certain point, Obama will likely have to address the situation.  Until then, expect his Republican opponents to drop the strike into conversation with some frequency.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Paul Ryan on Chicago Teachers’ Strike: ‘We Stand with Mayor Rahm Emanuel’

Win McNamee/Getty Images(PORTLAND, Ore.) -- Paul Ryan crossed party lines and voiced support for one of President Obama’s biggest backers Monday, saying, “We stand with Mayor Rahm Emanuel” in his fight with Chicago’s teachers, which led the union to call the city’s first teachers’ strike in 25 years.

“If you turned on the TV this morning or sometime today, you probably saw something about the Chicago teacher’s union strike,” Ryan said at fundraiser at the Governor Hotel in Portland, Ore. “I’ve known Rahm Emanuel for years. He’s a former colleague of mine. Rahm and I have not agreed on every issue or on a lot of issues, but Mayor Emanuel is right today in saying that this teacher’s union strike is unnecessary and wrong. We know that Rahm is not going to support our campaign, but on this issue and this day we stand with Mayor Rahm Emanuel.”

Emanuel is not only the Democratic mayor of the third largest city, he’s also President Obama’s former chief of staff and one of his most visible supporters. Ryan went on to ask the group of about 200 donors where the president stands on the strike.

“We stand with the children and we stand with the families and the parents of Chicago because education reform, that’s a bipartisan issue,” Ryan continued. “This does not have to divide the two parties. And so, we were going to ask, where does President Obama stand? Does he stand with his former Chief of Staff Mayor Rahm Emanuel, with the children and the parents, or does he stand with the union? On issues like this, we need to speak out and be really clear.”

Ryan said in a Romney administration they will “not be ambiguous.”

“We will stand with education reform, we will champion bipartisan education reforms,” Ryan said. “This is a critical linchpin to the future of our country, to our economy, to make sure that our children go to the best possible school, and that education reforms revolve around the parents and the child, not the special interest group.  This is something that’s critical for all of us.”

In Ohio Monday, Romney did not voice his support for the Democratic mayor of the city as Ryan did, but did say that students should have the “skills they need,” which means the end to the strike.

“I want our kids to have the skills they need for the jobs of tomorrow and that means put our kids first and put the teachers union behind,” he said.

Ryan’s comments were made off-camera in front of donors who paid between $1,000 and $25,000 to be there, but when asked about the strike before he took off on his campaign plane from Portland to attend more fundraisers in Seattle he declined to repeat the comments.

The candidate instead returned to the front of the plane, away from the cameras, after thanking reporters who had brought doughnuts for those taking the flight.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Rahm Emanuel: Gingrich Comments on Clinton DNC Speech ‘Ridiculous’

Scott Olson/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said it was “ridiculous” for New Gingrich to say that having former President Clinton speak Wednesday night at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., was an “enormous risk” that would remind voters of how “pathetically bad Obama has been.”

“That is ridiculous,” Emanuel said Wednesday on ABC's Good Morning America of the former House speaker’s comments.  “A former president who is very popular who can explain about the policies and the parallel tracks the two presidents have had in the sense of investing in education, investing in research and development, alternative energy and green energy and a responsible way of balancing the budget.  I think he can do nothing but help and the notion that Newt is going to give our party strategic advice, no thank you.”

Emanuel -- a veteran of the both the Clinton and Obama administrations who is known for his sharp tongue -- also took at shot at the GOP presidential ticket.

“Let me say this, my only advice to them, not that they would take it is I would not have Paul Ryan’s fact-checker looking over Mitt Romney’s tax returns,” Emanuel said, referencing Romney’s unwillingness to release more than two years of his tax returns and certain aspects of Ryan’s speech at the Republican National Convention last week that some found misleading.

The Chicago mayor was also asked about a new ABC News/Washington Post poll that found that 47 percent of registered voters see Obama favorably overall (down 7 percentage points from his recent peak in April), while 49 percent rate him unfavorably.  Emanuel did not express worry, but did say that the president needed to lay out his vision for a second term in the White House.

“There’s no doubt that the president needs to talk about his vision for a second term and what it would mean for America. That’s a requirement.  I wouldn’t call it a State of Union but I would call it about a clear choice in the direction he wants to take the country. He owes the country because if he gets elected, that kind of clarity,” he said.  ”Clear policy choices, clear implications for the American people, different directions and this is a choice and I think that’s what it’s going to take and to finish that conversation the president will lay out his vision, not just for the next four years but the consequence for America going forward into the future.”

Emanuel, citing his Jewish heritage, also called Republican attacks on Democrats’ removing language from their party platform calling Jerusalem the capital of Israel a “red herring.”

“As a person who has been to Jerusalem 20-plus times in his life, whose son just a couple of years ago had his bar mitzvah at the wall, this is a red herring, if I’ve ever seen one,” he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Eleven Chicago Cops Sue City, Accusing Rahm Emanuel of Discrimination

Scott Olson/Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is named in a federal lawsuit from 11 of the city’s police officers, alleging that the mayor unlawfully removed them from his security detail when he took office in 2011.

The officers, all of white or Hispanic descent, claim Emanuel, who was elected mayor in 2011, replaced senior members of his security detail with volunteers who contributed to the mayor’s campaign. They also allege that African-American officers with less seniority were given preferential treatment by being kept on Emanuel’s team.

Comments regarding the lawsuit were not granted to ABC News from either the city of Chicago or the mayoral office of Rahm Emanuel.

Jonathan R. Ksiazek and Edward M. Fox, the attorneys representing the 11 officers suing the city told ABC News that the demotion was all political. Though they could not confirm, the attorneys insist, "several of the officers who replaced our clients had connections with Emanuel or volunteered on his campaign.”

The lawsuit contends that security detail transfers violated Chicago’s Shakman decree that prohibits firings, demotions, transfers or other punishment of government employees stemming from political motivation.

“Under Shakman decree,” Fox says, “our clients have protected position. They cannot be fired or demoted for political reasons.”

The plaintiffs are suing the City of Chicago and Brian Thompson, the commander of the security detail who is responsible for demoting the tenured officers.

Ksiazek tells ABC News that Thompson worked as one of two commanders under the previous mayor, Richard Daley. “Shortly after Emanuel was sworn in, he made Thompson full commander of the security specialist unit 542 and the other guy was demoted.”

The attorney’s suggest that Thompson mustered up “Emanuel’s favor in some fashion in order to maintain his job.”

Though Ksiazek and Fox would not give details, they suggested, "Cmdr. Thompson made a comment prior to demotion of their clients," and they insinuate that the comment could have been skewed as a racial jab furthering the plaintiff’s claim that the demotions could have been racially motivated.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Mayor Richard Daley, Rahm Emanuel’s predecessor, who served as mayor from 1989 until 2011, interviewed the 11 officers for promotions to security specialist before they were assigned to the security detail. Those suing Emanuel expected that their promotions would stick once Daley left office; however, that was not necessarily the case.

During Emanuel’s transition into the mayoral seat, the 11 promoted officers who were transferred out of their positions were replaced by officers who were reportedly not required to follow the same formal application process that they had to undergo in order to receive their respective ranks.

“Our clients had to go through a series of interviews and a normal application process,” say the attorneys.

“From our understanding, the members that Emanuel replaced for the security detail did not have any formal application process.”

Those involved in the suit claim that the transfers from the mayor’s security detail resulted in a demotion of title as well as a reduction of pay and benefits. In response, the plaintiffs are seeking unspecified monetary damages and reversal of the job transfers.

All, except for one retired officer, want their jobs back, according to Fox. He explains that if city officials aren’t willing to give them their titles back, the officers are at least entitled to the pay that they received before being taken off the mayor’s security detail. “They want the job that they are entitled to.” Fox continues, “They are good jobs and they are the jobs that they wanted, there is no reason why they shouldn’t have them.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama ‘Won’t Be Apologizing’ for Bain Attacks on Romney

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Republicans continue to call on President Obama and his campaign to give an apology for questioning Mitt Romney’s role at Bain Capital. They won’t be getting one.

“No, we won’t be apologizing,” the president said in an interview aired on Sunday. “Sometimes these games are played during political campaigns. Understand what the issues are here: Mr. Romney claims he’s Mr. Fix-it for the economy because of his business experience, so I think voters entirely legitimately want to know what is exactly his business experience.”

Speaking to NBC’s Richmond, Va., affiliate station, WAVY-TV, Obama invoked a past White House occupant in an argument he has used for days on the campaign trail.

“Harry Truman said ‘the buck stops with me,’ and I think understandably people are going to be interested in, are you in fact responsible for this company you say is one of your primary calling cards for your wanting to be President,” he said.

On Thursday an Obama campaign manager upped the ante on Romney’s final days at Bain Capital by suggesting the Republican candidate had either lied to the public or misrepresented “his position at Bain to the SEC, which is a felony,” by saying he had left the company in 1999. Romney gave five network interviews to defend himself, stating the Obama campaign had gone “out of control.”

That spokeswoman doubled down on the attack on Sunday by stating there was no point in “arguing the semantics” of whether he was officially active at the firm during the time.

“If you’re signing an SEC document with your own signature that you’re the president, C.E.O., chairman of the board and 100 percent owner of a company, in what world are you living in that you’re not in charge?” Stephanie Cutter said on CBS.

On ABC’s “This Week,” former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel put it another way:

“As president of the United States you can’t have a sign on your desk that says, ‘Gone fishing,’” the Chicago mayor said.

Emanuel and Cutter had come to represent the Democratic side in the row at the heart of the issue: Whether Romney could be held responsible for layoffs and outsourcing at Bain properties after he supposedly left to manage the U.S. Olympic Committee.

On the other side of the table: Romney adviser Kevin Madden.

“The reason there is a document in 2002 that had his signature is, during that transition from 1999 to 2002 where there was transfer of ownership to the new partners of Bain, that there was a duty to sign those documents,” Madden said. “Even a bipartisan commission indicated Governor Romney left Bain in 1999.”

It is a fact that Romney remained at the company until at least 2002, according to SEC filings obtained by the Boston Globe. But some independent fact checking organizations have criticized the reporting of Romney’s role at the time, stating there was no evidence to say he took part in any decision-making processes.

Republicans have seized on those articles, demanding an apology from the Obama campaign. Madden repeated the call, but Cutter maintained it was out of the question.

“Instead of whining about what the Obama campaign is saying, just put the facts out there and let people decide, rather than trying to hide them,” she said.

Cutter and Emanuel both referenced Romney’s refusal to release any tax returns dating before 2010, which would shed light onto the nature of overseas holdings the candidate possessed.

“You’ve learned in just one year about the Caymans, about the Bahamas, about Luxembourg, and about Switzerland, all where his tax and different accounts are,” Emanuel said. “His tax — his tax filing looks more like the Olympic Village than it does like a middle-class family.”

Madden said Romney had “gone above and beyond” financial disclosure laws required of candidates, releasing “hundreds and hundreds of pages of financial disclosures with the FEC.”

On CNN, another Romney surrogate, Ed Gillepsie, said the candidate’s departure for the Olympics was originally planned as a “leave of absence.”

“He ended up not going back at all and retired retroactively to February of 1999 as a result,” Gillepsie said.

“Ed Gillepsie” and “#retroactively” reached top 10 positions on Twitter shortly after the statement was made.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Rahm Emanuel Rips Romney Ahead of His Chicago Trip

ABC News(CHICAGO) -- Mitt Romney, in his bid to retake the momentum in the Republican primary from Rick Santorum with a win next week in Illinois, arrives in Chicago on Friday.  But the city’s mayor and former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel couldn’t wait to rip into the GOP front-runner, saying Romney lacked “the fortitude, strength or character” to serve in the Oval Office.

“Now I’m not going to give advice to Republicans.  They don’t take it and I don’t want to give it.  They’ll make whatever decision they want to make,” Emanuel said at an event Thursday morning in Chicago.  “You just take a look at the fortitude, the strength, the determination and the vision the president made on the auto industry and juxtapose it to Mitt Romney, who doesn’t have the fortitude, the strength or the character in my view to stand up to Rush Limbaugh.  How can he stand up and make a decision to save 1.3 million manufacturing jobs?

“That Oval Office requires vision.  That Oval Office requires spine.  That Oval Office requires determination and grit.  Mitt Romney says, ‘Let it go.’  The president said the American workers are too important to let go, and he doubled down on the American workers.  When a decision comes to the Oval Office, who’s got the fortitude, who’s got the grit, who’s got the determination and who’s got the back of the American people and middle-class families?  And nothing coming into that Oval Office is easy.  It’s not clear.  And I think when you see the character, the fortitude and the strength measured up, and the determination to reject conventional wisdom and see around the corner what’s right for the American middle class, people who work every day, play by the rules, you’ll see the difference of the two individuals and their vision for America,” he continued.

A reporter followed up by pointing out to Emanuel that Bill Maher had made comments that some people found as insulting as Limbaugh’s.  Limbaugh was ripped by liberals for insulting Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke, while Maher has caught flak from conservatives for remarks he made about former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

“I thought what Rush Limbaugh said was … absolutely not only wrong, it was absolutely repulsive,” Emanuel said.  “That said, if you can’t stand up to Rush, how are you going to stand up to Russia?  And I just don’t see it.  I’m just telling you, having advised two presidents, and I think I’m very fortunate, it takes fortitude in the Oval Office, it takes strength, it takes determination, and the two individuals -- the president of the United States and Mitt Romney -- had a different vision when it came to the auto industry, and I’m saying the Oval Office requires a person of character to make those calls.”

On Friday, President Obama returns to Chicago for a fundraiser, the same day Romney makes a campaign stop in the Windy City.

The Illinois Republican primary is next Tuesday, and polls currently show a close race between Romney and Santorum.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Rahm Emanuel Returns to Washington

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama’s first chief of staff flew back to Washington this week, but he didn’t come to talk about politics.

Rahm Emanuel, now the mayor of Chicago, spoke at the U.S. Conference of Mayors on Friday about his efforts to train community college students for jobs upon graduation. Any talk of the presidential race would have to wait for another time.

“If you’re looking for a story, I’m not here to help you,” the mayor told ABC News before his speech at the Capital Hilton Hotel. “I’m here to talk about community colleges. That’s my quote.”

Emanuel’s 15-minute speech was received enthusiastically by the mayors and their staffs in the hotel’s large ballroom, just a couple of miles from his old office at the White House. He rushed out afterward to fly back to Chicago because of a snowstorm, according to Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

“The community-college-for-economic-growth is something that has been on the sidelines and ignored for too long if you want the economy to grow,” Emanuel said in his speech.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


New Book Alleges Feuds Between First Lady and President's Staff

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- As the election season begins to heat up, new revelations are surfacing about an alleged power struggle in the White House between some of President Obama's former staffers and first lady Michelle Obama.

In the upcoming book, The Obamas, Mrs. Obama is said to be frustrated with both her role as first lady and the advice her husband was receiving from former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and one-time press secretary Robert Gibbs.

The Obamas maintains that the first lady thought that she should be used more to promote the administration's healthcare reform agenda, which Emanuel felt was a bad idea.  In turn, Mrs. Obama apparently angered Emanuel by resisting his attempts to get her out on the campaign trail during the 2010 mid-term election.

Emanuel eventually left the White House in October 2010 to successfully run for mayor of Chicago.

The book, authored by New York Times correspondent Jodi Kantor, also depicts a strained relationship between the first lady and former White House spokesman Gibbs, who left in early 2011.

In particular, Mrs. Obama was said to be upset with Gibbs' less-than strong denial of a story that she supposedly told the wife of French President Nikolas Sarkozy that life as first lady was "hell."

When Gibbs learned of Mrs. Obama's reaction, The Obamas claims he went off on Valerie Jarrett, a White House advisor close to the president and his wife, and actually cursed out the first lady.  Gibbs confirmed the veracity of the story to Kantor but admitted his anger was misdirected.

Another revelation makind headlines is the book claims the Obamas threw a lavish Halloween party at the White House in 2009 -- with no less than Alice and Wonderland's director and star Tim Burton and Johnny Depp to help decorate -- but kept the party secret so they wouldn't offend jobless Americans. The White House denies a cover-up existed.

Neither the president nor first lady agreed to be interviewed for the book, but Kantor says she interviewed 30 staffers for The Obamas.

Meanwhile, White House spokesman Eric Shultz remarked, "The emotions, thoughts and private moments described in the book, though often seemingly ascribed to the president and first lady, reflect little more than the author's own thoughts.  These second-hand accounts are staples of every administration in modern political history and often exaggerated."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio