Allies praise Rahm Emanuel, but critics are eager to turn the page

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News of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s decision not to seek re-election traveled swiftly Tuesday throughout the city and the political world.

Political allies were quick with praise for the mayor, while his critics celebrated his impending departure.

Former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton each said Emanuel improved the city and the lives of its residents. Emanuel was Obama’s first White House chief of staff, and he also worked in the Clinton White House.

“Rahm Emanuel has been a tireless and brilliant public servant,” Obama said in a statement, praising his work to improve city schools and boost job growth in the city. “Chicago is better and stronger for his leadership, and I was a better President for his wise counsel at a particularly perilous time for our country. I’ve been blessed to call Rahm my friend. Whatever he chooses to do next, I know he’ll continue to make a positive difference, just as he has throughout his career in public service. And Michelle and I wish Rahm and Amy all the best as they consider this next phase in their lives.”

“Mayor Emanuel offered steady leadership through difficult times,” Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan said in a statement. “His efforts to balance the budget, stabilize pensions, and make tough decisions consistently reflected his commitment to do what was best for the future of our city, not what was easy. As Chicago continues to move forward and grow as an international city, we will remain grateful for Mayor Emanuel’s leadership.”

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin applauded Emanuel’s public service in Congress, the White House and at City Hall.

“I have worked closely with him at every level of his public career,” Durbin said in a statement. “I always knew a call from Rahm was an invitation to join him in a bold, ambitious effort to make life better for those he served. It has been my honor to join him in these great ventures. Rahm has left his mark and I wish him and Amy the best in the days ahead.”

Clinton said Chicagoans were wise to pick Emanuel as mayor.

“Now they must choose wisely again,” Clinton’s statement read. “Someone to continue addressing the challenges, maintain the strengths, and bridge the divides.”

Chicago Tribune’s Juan Perez Jr. contributed.

poconnell@chicagotribune.com

lbowean@chicagotribune.com

Twitter @pmocwriter

Twitter @lollybowean

MORE COVERAGE:

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September 4, 2018 at 02:18PM

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