Mayor Rahm Emanuel gave a subtle affirmation of Sen. Mark Kirk's not-so-subtle statement comparing Chicago to Detroit without Emanuel as mayor.
"If you make the wrong choices, if you don't have the leadership, the determination, to execute a business plan that brings jobs into the city of Chicago, you can go in a different direction," the mayor said Tuesday.
Kirk unofficially endorsed Emanuel Monday when he claimed Chicago could become the next Detroit if Emanuel was not re-elected, according to Fran Spielman of the Chicago Sun-Times.
"Rahm's re-election is essential to maintaining the value of Chicago's debt market," Kirk was quoted in the Sun-Times. "We need a strong capable leader... I would worry about the value of the Chicago debt if Rahm was not re-elected... It's a concern if we have some of the less responsible people running against him."
Kirk did not explicitly endorse Emanuel or name challenger Jesus "Chuy" Garcia when referring to "the less responsible people running against him," but his strong statement is a definite mark in Emanuel's favor.
The mayor did not exactly clap Kirk on the back for his endorsement, however, perhaps because Emanuel has avoided comparing Chicago to Detroit, as Spielman noted.
The financial concern for Chicago was spotlighted this weekend when Moody's downgraded the city's credit rating to two levels above junk status, making it the second worst after Detroit.
The pension crisis is likely to be a big issue in the April runoff election between Emanuel and Garcia, and the two candidates' financial plans could be a deciding factor in who wins the race.