Jarrett says D.C. 'unpleasant' town
A poster of the president is left behind during the Illinois delegation breakfast Wednesday at the Democratic National Convention. (Nancy Stone / September 5, 2012)
“I’m very hopeful folks will work this out and do the right thing for kids and the city. There’s still time to do that,” Duncan said. “I think everybody’s working really hard and I have a lot of confidence that good things will happen.”
But when asked to respond to the criticism of Mayor Rahm Emanuel leveled by the Chicago Teachers Union, Duncan gave his most candid answer: “I don’t know all the details.”
North Side Congressman Mike Quigley was the first delegation member to publicly remind other Illinois Democrats of the “hugfest” that occurred four years ago in Denver when Obama was first nominated for president. At the 2008 convention, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. staged a tearful hugfest with real and perceived political enemies, including hugs involving MayorRichard Daley and then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
Of course, Daley’s no longer mayor. Blagojevich is in federal prison. And Jackson is being treated for bipolar and gastrointestinal disorders.
“Four years ago, we had a lot of hugging. Remember the hugging? It’s not on the agenda, but I want to proclaim “Hugging Daley Day.” John and Bill Daley are here,” Quigley said. “It brought us all so much closer together, that indescribably warm feeling.”
On a more serious note, Quigley said John Daley, chairman of the Cook County Board’s finance committee, deserved recognition for helping to pass progressive changes in county ethics and equality laws. Quigley, a former county commissioner, said “none of that would have passed without John Daley.”
Valerie Jarrett, Obama’s senior adviser, and Tina Tchen, the chief of staff to First Lady Michelle Obama, each made a visit to the Illinois convention delegation and offered a little insight into the re-election campaign, as well as life in Washington.
Tchen urged Chicago Democrats to travel to neighboring swing states, such as Wisconsin and Iowa, to campaign for Obama and tell people there, “I know him.”
Tchen said Obama supporters in Illinois ask “where’s the ads, where’s the message” to convince voters. “If you live in Virginia, or Ohio or Wisconsin, you’re sick of the ads. So the action’s there,” she acknowledged.
For her part, Jarrett said she was happy to visit some Illinoisans after living in the nation’s capital.
“Washington is every bit as unpleasant a town as everyone thought it would be. And you know, we’re from Chicago. We’re pretty tough, right?” Jarrett said. “Well let me tell you, it’s a whole different thing in D.C.”
Elizabeth Shuler, secretary of the national AFL-CIO, met with Illinois’ Democratic delegate contingent and urged the rank-and-file to work the vote for President Barack Obama and not get distracted by famous names associated with the campaigns of either Obama or Mitt Romney.
“It’s not about Clint Eastwood,” Shuler said of the Romney backing actor and director whomade a controversial appearance with an empty chair at last week’s Republican National Convention.
“It’s not about George Clooney. Well, maybe it is a little bit about George Clooney,” she acknowledged of the Obama backing actor and fundraiser. “But it is all about you.”