Carol Moseley Braun speaks Wednesday. | Keith Hale~Sun-Times
Updated: February 29, 2012 4:12PM
Mayoral candidate Rahm Emanuel is an outsider “parachuting into Chicago to buy an election,” his ballot rival Carol Moseley Braun said Wednesday.
Braun, a former U.S. senator, poked at the former congressman while criticizing his reported plan to have former President Clinton campaign on his behalf here, a move also criticized by mayoral candidate and congressman Danny Davis.
If Emanuel, President Obama’s former chief of staff, is going to bring his Washington pals to town, Braun said he should bring all of them.
“What we have is an outsider running for mayor, and he’s bringing in an outsider to help him. And quite frankly, if he’s going to bring in former President Clinton he might want to consider bringing [U.S] Rep. Bart Stupak, who helped him kill choice for women in the new health care bill. He might want to consider bringing [former Freddie Mac CEO] Leland Brendsel and all his people from Freddie Mac who helped him precipitate the mortgage crisis we’re looking at,” she said.
“He can bring all his friends, I don’t care.”
Braun said Emanuel is an outsider because “for one thing, he doesn’t live here.” She was referring to questions about whether Emanuel meets residency eligibility requirements to run for mayor. The Chicago Board of Elections last week ruled Emanuel is a resident and ballot-eligible. That ruling has been appealed in court and could ultimately be decided by the Supreme Court.
“Everybody in this room knows he doesn’t live here,” Braun told reporters. “He had to go search for wedding dresses hidden in the basement to even make the case he had a residence. I mean, come on.”
Emanuel spokesman Ben Labolt said Braun’s comments are “inaccurate, divisive, and fail to demonstrate the kind of leadership Chicago needs from its next mayor. We encourage all candidates to lay out their vision for our city’s future instead of engaging in the tired politics of the past.”
Braun also criticized Emanuel for not participating in candidate forums that she and other candidates have attended.
“He won’t show up in forums. His money is talking for him. I guess that works and bringing his outside friends, not a problem,” Braun said.
Braun’s comments came at a news conference announcing her public safety platform. If elected, she said she would fire Police Supt. Jody Weis.
Braun, who comes from a police family, said Chicago’s rank-and-file officers have “never been more demoralized” by serving under Weis, a former high-ranking FBI official in Philadelphia
She said she would select a new top cop from within the department.
“We need to start with people who are already here working for the Chicago Police Department . . . that would better understand the communities and the neighborhoods, but what the officers have to deal with. That I think is the missing ingredient,” Braun said.
“The fact that the superintendent is not from here, doesn’t understand this city, having to learn it, get a guide book out. You need to get someone that knows Chicago to run the Chicago Police Department.”
Weis issued a statement disputing Braun’s take on his leadership, department morale and the results of his tenure — “two years of straight month-to-month reductions in nearly every category of crime.”
“Hyperbole does not get the mission done. More than 30 years in the military and law enforcement have taught me that it is results that count. I am proud of the results that we have had...and I am most proud of the efforts made by the members of the Chicago Police Department, Weis said in the statement.
“Anyone that questions their morale is questioning their dedication to serve and protect...and has clearly not been on the streets with them, or seen them working as I have.”
Braun also said her public safety improvement plan calls for creating a stronger police presence by moving officers working desk jobs back on the street and expanding community policing strategies, along with creating programs to better protect children, seniors and help keep ex-offenders from returning to jail.
“We don’t need sworn personnel filling out forms. We need sworn personnel working .. in the communities making our communities safe,” she said.
“We need to look at hiring additional police in the next budget. … I don’t know how we would pay for additional police. I am open however, and I believe we need to have additional police. This plan calls for us to work better within the resources we have.”