Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Truthish or Falsey: Rahm's Announcement Video

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    NEWSLETTERS

    “I’m glad to be home,” Rahm Emanuel says at the beginning of the two-minute and twelve second video posted on his website, chicagoforrahm.com.

     “My father came to Chicago as an immigrant from Israel,” Emanuel says. “I was born here, and my wife Amy and I raised our three children here.”

     As they might say in Washington, that depends on the definition of “here.” I bring that up because Emanuel actually spoke those words in Washington, at the offices of AKPD Media, the political consulting firm founded by David Axelrod, a campaign spokeswoman confessed to Politico today. The only thing Chicago about the setting was the red and yellow copy of the Chicago Manual of Style visible over Emanuel’s left shoulder.

     On those grounds alone, we rate the video “Falsey.” But let’s look at the rest of the facts.

    Emanuel’s father, Benjamin, was born in Jerusalem, in what was then known as British Palestine. He fought with the Irgun, a group of freedom fighters who resisted the British mandate. Emanuel’s parents emigrated to the United States in 1959. Emanuel was born on Nov. 29 of that year, so yes, he is a native Chicagoan, although it is unclear whether he was conceived here.

    In any case, unlike the presidency, you don’t have to be born in this city, or even this country, to be mayor. Anton Cermak was born in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, but played it off by saying, “I didn’t come over on the Mayflower, but I got here as soon as I could.”

    As for raising his children, that’s only kinda truthish. Emanuel's three children were born between 1999 and 2002, that three-year window during which their father lived here full time while he was earning $18 million in the finance sector. But after he became White House chief of staff, the family moved to Washington, D.C., where the children attend a Jewish day school. They’ll remain there until the school year ends. His family will rejoin him shortly after he’s sworn in as mayor.

    That, if it happens, will definitely take place in Chicago.