Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who just last week said he wouldn’t change his political style to win the April 7 runoff election, looked right at the camera and offered as close as a mea culpa as he has to date.
“They say your greatest strength is also your greatest weakness. I’m living proof of that. I can rub people the wrong way or talk when I should listen. I own that,” Emanuel says in the first new TV spot since he failed to win the 50 percent plus one needed to avoid a runoff against the Jesus “Chuy” Garcia.
Emanuel has long been criticized not just for the decisions he has made in his four years in office, but for the way he’s carried them out.
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Emanuel goes on to defend himself and his controversial decisions, including the closing of 50 schools in mostly poor and minority neighborhoods of the city.
“But I’m driven to make a difference. When politics stood in the way of a full-day kindergarten or tougher gun laws, I charged ahead. And when business interests said a $13 minimum wage was too high, I didn’t back down.
“Look, I’m not going to always get it right. But when it comes to fighting for Chicago and Chicago’s future, no one’s going to fight harder.”
Just last week, Emanuel was asked whether his “perceived arrogance” might be an impediment to a second term.
“I don’t think you should be not who you are. The worst thing in politics is for people to think you’re not honest with yourself. They are smart. The public is smart,” the mayor said at the time. “What I will continue to do is not only fight for what I believe is right, but tell people why I think it’s right.”