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Mayoral candidates shake plenty of hands as campaign winds down

Mayoral candidates were out Monday making final push for their campaigns. Gery Chico (top left) answered voters' questions while riding

Mayoral candidates were out Monday making a final push for their campaigns. Gery Chico (top left) answered voters' questions while riding the Red Line from 95th and the Dan Ryan to Chinatown. Rahm Emanuel greeted voters while lunching with Bethune School of Excellence Principal Zipporah Hightower and her son Jack, 15, at Chicago Chicken & Waffles, 3947 S. King Dr. Patricia Van Pelt-Watkins (bottom right) spoke at Grace Calvary United Methodist Church, 7800 S. Loomis. Miguel del Valle greeted commuters at the Roosevelt Line stop at 22 E. Roosevelt Rd. Carol Moseley Braun partakes in a "Get Out The Vote" rally at the Parkway Ballroom, 44555 S. King Dr. | Brian Jackson, Jean Lachat, Keith Hale~Sun-Times

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Updated: May 10, 2011 7:17PM

The day before Election Day, Rev. Jesse Jackson decided to have a little fun with mayoral front-runner Rahm Emanuel -- crashing an Emanuel lunch at Chicago's Chicken & Waffles.

When Emanuel walked into the popular restaurant in Bronzeville, supporters of former Sen Carol Moseley Braun, who had just come from her rally down the street, shouted "Carol! Carol! Carol!"

Jackson and Rep. Bobby Rush were among them.

"I've never seen him here before and I don't expect I'll see him here again," Rush said of Emanuel, who actually has visited the restaurant before and got a friendly recpetion from most patrons.

The candidates for mayor traversed the city -- former School Board President Gery Chico traveling on the CTA -- giving their last-minute pitches. Chico, Braun and City Clerk Miguel del Valle coordinated most of their firepower on Emanuel. who polls show so far ahead he might win the race outright.

If no candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote, an April 5 run-off will be held.

Chico warned of a Wisconsin-style confrontation with organized labor in Chicago if Emanuel brings his "tough-guy" approach and temperament to trying to force concessions from unionized city workers to solve the city's budget and pension crises.

"With the approach Emanuel has talked about taking with labor, you could have all kinds of repercussions. People want to get to work on the bus and the L. They want teachers in the classroom. They want their streets swept and plowed. People do not want a city shut-down," Chico said. "It's gridlock in Wisconsin and nobody is benefiting. That gives you a view of how tough guys end up. If you talk about slashing pensions before you even get in a room, you could have that situation. People are not gonna give it over to you just because you say so. You have to sit down and work these problems out," Chico said.

Emanuel, after speaking to seniors at North Park Village, said Chico's warnings of Wisconsin-style confrontations under an Emanuel administration were off-base.

"I reject fully what the governor of Wisconsin has done, which is the politics of division," Emanuel said. His administration would be all about "working together, finding common ground," he said.

Braun pulled out all stops to lambaste Emanuel and Chico, using the words "rape and robbery" to describe the way they used their government connections to make fortunes once they were in private business.

A few minutes later, Braun thought better of her fiery remarks.

"Maybe 'rape and robbery' is too strong," Braun said. "Maybe I should have said "pillaging and plundering." They have used the offices and privileges and the relationships they developed on the taxpayers dime to enrich themselves in the private sector."

She said Chico, a lawyer, got business from clients he formerly dealt with as president of the Chicago Board of Education and chief of staff to Daley, and Emanuel for made millions of dollars during the 2 years he worked as an investment banker after leaving the Clinton White House. One of those deals, the one that created Exelon, cost 3,000 people their jobs, Braun said.

Del Valle greeted commuters at 'L' stops around the city and told them not to let "big-money contributors" from Wall Street and Hollywood pick Chicago's mayor.

"They can make all the movies that they want and all the bond deals they want, but they should let the people in the neighborhoods of the city of Chicago decide what it is they want the city to look like."

Braun, Chico and del Valle all predicted a run-off which would include them.

Jackson told voters to be wary of Emanuel commercials that imply President Obama has endoresed Emanuel when, actually, he has not.

"I would simply ask the people to know that you are voting for Rahm Emanuel, not President Obama," Jackson said.

Braun said she wanted to make Chicago, "A community that does not have multi-gazillion-dollar sculptures on one hand on the lakefront and people sleeping under the bridges on the other."

Braun and Rep. Danny Davis made no apologies for an advertisement he has running on Black radio saying "Any man who will not support his own house is worse than any infidel."

"It's just scripture," Braun and Davis said, waving off the question. Davis then challenged a reporter, "You've never read the bible? You don't seem to understand it. A lot of people in this country are practicing Christians"

Del Valle called the ad, "Way over the top -- Danny's a good man. I understand his emotions, his feelings, but I would not have used that kind of rhetoric."

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