Officials from the two Chicago universities vying for Barack Obama's presidential library took a break from the competition Monday to send a message to the president: Pick either one but just don't pick New York.
At a "Unity Breakfast" on Monday, speakers took turns reminding Obama that Chicago is the "only" place for the library because it was in Chicago that the president's political journey began as a community organizer.
"It can be on the South Side. It can be on the West Side, but it cannot be on the Upper West Side of Manhattan," said Mayor Rahm Emanuel of the library and museum. "I will move Heaven and Earth to make sure the president is clear: 'Bring your library home, Mr. President.'"
There was also a political feel to the event because Emanuel is running for re-election against Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia. Speakers praised Emanuel for his efforts to convince the Obamas to select either the University of Chicago or the University of Illinois at Chicago for the library instead of the University of Hawaii or New York's Columbia University.
The Associated Press a week ago, citing sources, said Obama decided to hold off on announcing the location for his future presidential library until after Chicago's runoff election for mayor.