Chicago got a lot of international attention as host of last weekend’s NATO Summit. And Mayor Rahm Emanuel has piggybacked off that to get some international attention for himself. Emanuel sat down for an interview with the French news channel France 24. Here are some excerpts from the mostly softball discussion (the mayor wasn’t asked about his statement that new French President Francois Hollande does not seem president), which was conducted in English.
Why he loves being mayor:
This is the best job I’ve ever had in public life. It is, in my view, the most American of American cities. It gives the mayor a tremendous amount of responsibility. You can do a lot and make a major difference. Two, I happen to think today, you have about 100 major metropolitan areas in the world that are really the economic engine, whether its Shanghai, whether it’s Chicago, whether it’s New York, those cities are where the dynamic energy, where the culture is. Chicago’s part of that Top 100. No guarantee in the next 20 years it will still be there. The decisions we make in the next two or three years will determine whether it is or not.
Why Chicago is so great:
It’s the most livable big city in America, full stop. If you love big cities where there’s an energy, a culture, a dynamic to it, this has everything qualitative that New York has, and yet its livable. It doesn’t overwhelm you…It’s the only inland city in America that has an international imprint…We have better theater than New York or London. They have, obviously, Broadway. We have better neighborhood theaters. We have more Tony Award neighborhood theaters than New York. We have as many five-star Michelin restaurants as New York.
Why the media focused too much on NATO protest violence:
People that are protesting particular issues -- Afghanistan, the nurses on economic policy, the veterans -- those are protestors. The 100 people you talk about capturing. They’re not protestors. They’re there for violence. There was no argument. There was no kind of political view.
Why the NATO Summit was a success for Chicago:
The NATO President said it was the largest summit they’ve ever had, and it was the best summit they’ve ever had, and it accomplished the Chicago Accords as it relates to NATO’s involvement in Afghanistan. People who have never seen the Second City of America was a world-class city. What’s not to like?
Why President Obama should be re-elected:
I serve as co-chair of the campaign. I’ll do anything to help the president get re-elected, because I think he’s been a good president, and he hears the voices of and concerns of the middle-class in the Oval Office. I don’t think that’s going to be true of Romney…You just take the auto industry. If it was up to Mitt Romney, it’d be bankrupt…Mitt Romney doesn’t seem to have criticism for what he inherited. He has criticism for the actions to dig out from the worst economic situation since the Great Depression.
Why he won’t seek higher office:
I served President Clinton and President Obama. There’s term limits, as I like to say. I did eight years in the White House. Did Congress. This is the best job I’ve ever had in public life. I miss the friends I made in public life, but I don’t miss Washington. I thoroughly love what I’m doing, because we’re focused on building a city, providing the kids of this city an education they deserve, providing a business environment so we can create jobs. Since I’ve been mayor, unemployment’s dropped 10 percent. So we’re doing the things that build a city, and I find that personally and professionally engrossing. I love it.