Rahm Steals the Show

Emanuel dodged questions about his mayoral ambitions

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    WASHINGTON - JANUARY 20: Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel makes a funny gesture ahead of the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States of America on the West Front of the Capitol January 20, 2009 in Washington, DC. Obama becomes the first African-American to be elected to the office of President in the history of the United States. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Rahm Emmanuel

    As expected, Rahm Emanuel was the star of the show at the Richard J. Daley annual Global Cities Forum at UIC despite more important work getting done after he talked.

    The White House Chief of Staff was in town to discuss urban issues like education, crime, transportation and more. But reporters were more interested in his political ambitions in the city of Chicago.

    "You guys gotta start drinking decaf," he told a throng of interviewers after his speech.

    "You know we have our home here," Emanuel said.  "I can’t wait.  At some point in the future -- don’t over-interpret anything, don’t everybody get excited -- at some point, when we come back, which is always our goal, which is why we rented the house. … You guys are way too excited. ..." 

    The event’s moderator didn’t exactly drive the story in a different direction.

    "Emanuel has recently expressed an interest in being mayor of the city of Chicago after Mayor Daley steps down," Judy Woodruff said to laughter. "But the consensus is that before that happens he’s going to have to get some real experience."

    Emanuel, who shared the stage with the Mayor Bertrand Delanoe of Paris and Michael Nutter of Philadelphia, followed up: "I’m smiling."

    The three panelists talked about the importance of municipal governing, saying that is where the hard work is done.

    "“I didn’t create the international economic crisis. I was minding my business in my own office when my finance director came in and said, 'We’re running out of money,'"Nutter said. "I just passed a balanced budget. ... We will continue to shrink the size of our city government because… we need to. If you got into this business to have everyone love you, you need to find another job."

    Emanuel agreed and apologized that the Administration’s stimulus plan was directed at state governments.

    "The local level knows best where it needs to spend these precious dollars," he said.

    The Nutter, Emanuel and Delanoe show provided much of the entertainment during a morning panel. But important work got done in the afternoon.

    Mayors from across the globe came together to sign a resolution calling to make their cities safer. Much of their language focused on guns, and they called on national governments to address gun trafficking.

    Mexico City’s mayor Marcelo Ebrarb said 80 percent of the weaponry comes from the U.S. An animated Daley agreed with his sentiment.

    "If we ship over poison to other countries are we not responsible for it?" Daley said.