Sneed: Is mayor being kept at arm’s length?

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Mayor Rahm Emanuel after the Chicago City Council meeting. Wednesday, February 10, 2016. Brian Jackson/ for the Sun-Times

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The Rahm factor? 


Is Mayor Rahm Emanuel being treated like toxic waste?

Is he politically radioactive since fallout over the brutal killing of Laquan McDonald, a 17-year-old African-American shot by a Chicago policeman 16 times?


• Fact: Emanuel did not go to Springfield last week, when his old boss, President Barack Obama, revisited the State Capitol steps where he launched his historic presidential campaign.

• Response: The mayor’s office claims Emanuel was busy attending an important City Council meeting about the city inspector general’s office, but added “he was invited.”


At last peek Tuesday, Sneed was told Emanuel’s public schedule did not include plans to meet Dem presidential contender Hillary Clinton when she hits town this week to open up two new campaign offices. One is on the South Side.

• Response: “No. Nothing is scheduled. But he could meet with her privately,” a source familiar with Emanuel’s schedule said. “But the mayor has been in touch with two of Hillary’s advisers.”

The pigskin factor .  .  . 

News DeKalb’s Northern Illinois University will participate this fall in the first football game ever played at The Cell, home of the White Sox, was tipped by Sneed last September. Go Huskies!


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Hillary’s homecoming .  .  . 

It’s been decades since Hillary Rodham Clinton, who brings her presidential campaign to Chicago this week, pulled up stakes in Park Ridge.

But in August 1996, when Hillary was first lady, she sat down with Sneed and compared the city of her childhood to a gorilla.

Huh? Read on.

Hillary was referring to the remarkable story of Binti Jua, a beloved Brookfield Zoo gorilla who made national headlines for carrying a little boy to safety after the child fell into the primate exhibit — and was knocked unconscious.

She said then:

“I have a love song for Chicago. And it’s about a big gorilla who is tough on the outside, but has a heart of gold on the inside. That’s what I think of my city. That is what I think of the place where I grew up.”

During the private interview, Hillary talked about drinking chocolate milk in kindergarten with Park Ridge chum Ernie Ricketts; drawing pictures on her basement walls; going on dates atop the Prudential Building; wearing floppy hats and sunglasses incognito at Marshall Field & Co.; and surviving political attacks and criticism when she was in the White House.

“I think of it as partisan politics, and I also think of it like a game of baseball,” Clinton said.

“Tomorrow is always another [ball] game.”

“Most girls didn’t play softball and football when they were my age,” she said, “and I learned that being razzed is all a part of winning and losing.”

She also had her first memories of mortality here, listening to her father’s technique of keeping her from wandering too close to an open window in his Merchandise Mart office.

“I was only 4 years old and we would visit my dad, and in those days there was no air conditioning. So my dad would tell me that there was a big wolf in the river, and it scared me enough to keep me away from that window.”

Focused on protecting her daughter, Chelsea, Hillary reminisced about conversations she had over the years with one of her personal heroes, Mother Teresa —the late Calcutta missionary who was then seriously ill.

“I’ve met Mother Teresa three times and spoken to her three times on the phone, and privately she told me she was constantly concerned for my daughter and myself and prayed for us to do what is right,” Clinton said.

“You know, she is deeply opposed to abortion, but we found a common ground in our love for children and our belief in working to provide adoption as an alternative to abortion.”

A Republican in her early years, Hillary described her father as a conservative Republican who “probably had it written on his baptismal certificate.”

At the infamous Democratic Convention of 1968, Clinton was in Chicago — but nowhere close to the action at Grant Park. She talked about watching the violent protest with her best Park Ridge friend, Betsy Ebeling, and claimed to be appalled at how everyone was carrying on.

How times have changed.

“It was an odd mixture of feelings that I had,” said Clinton, who began her gradual transition from Goldwater conservative to moderate Democrat when she was assigned to play the part of liberal Democrat Lyndon Baines Johnson in a high school debate.

How Hillary has changed.

Sneedlings .  .  .

I spy .  .  . Chicago Blackhawks star Patrick Kane spotted last Friday eating lunch with his parents and girlfriend at Rosebud on Rush. . . . Today’s birthdays: Michael Jordan, 53; Ed Sheeran, 25, and Jim Brown, 80.

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