Eager to turn the page after being dragged into the federal corruption scandal that threatens to bring down Ald. Edward Burke (14th), Toni Preckwinkle hit the television airwaves last week with a commercial that got her in more trouble.
Preckwinkle was lambasted — by competitors and community activists alike — for allegedly inflating her role in exposing the deadly police shooting of Laquan McDonald to distract attention from the $10,000 campaign contribution that Burke muscled for her from a Burger King franchise owner.
Now, Preckwinkle is out with a second commercial that repeats the claim that she “took on the police department and politicians to expose the truth about Laquan McDonald.”
It’s an ad her campaign calls, “Ready” that features a rainbow of people portrayed as everyday Chicagoans sharing their reasons for supporting the first woman ever elected county board president and chairman of the Cook County Regular Democratic Organization.
“Toni Preckwinkle is tough. No nonsense. A strong sense of what’s right,” four different people are quoted as saying.
“And very hip,” the normally stern-faced Preckwinkle adds, with a smile.
“Just what I want in a mayor,” another person says.
Another woman notes that Preckwinkle — endorsed by the Chicago Teachers Union after embracing the CTU’s entire agenda — is a former teacher at the Chicago Public Schools.
“That’s why I invested in kids — not jails,” Preckwinkle says.
Fact-check: Preckwinkle inflates role in shedding light on McDonald shooting
That’s followed by more testimonials to Preckwinkle’s toughness, making no apologies for the “Boss Preckwinkle” label that mayoral candidate Lori Lightfoot applied.
“As county board president, she expanded health care, fought the NRA and Trump on immigration. She took on the police department and politicians to expose the truth about Laquan McDonald. She’s not from the machine, but she’s a boss. Toni is ready to take on the old boys club from Day One.”
The ad concludes with Preckwinkle saying, “Because I always have.”
Campaign spokesperson Monica Trevino said the new ad will be rotated along with the first as part of a $750,000 buy on commercial and cable television and social media.
Three months ago, Lightfoot accused Preckwinkle of trying to “bully” her out of the race for mayor and flatly declared that it would never happen.
“There’s a rumor floating around that I’m going to step down and take a deal … as some person in a Toni Preckwinkle administration,” Lightfoot said during a luncheon address to the City Club of Chicago.
“Let me be clear: That’s never happening. It was false the minute it was said. And what it shows, frankly, is the kind of machine-style bullying that has no place in the future of this city.”
Preckwinkle denied the bullying charge and rejected Lightfoot’s attempt to brand her as an old-fashioned party boss.
But the new ad shows that, while Preckwinkle doesn’t like being called a “bully,” she’s perfectly willing to be called a “boss.”