Mayor Richard J. Daley considered a young Bobby Rush and his Black Panther party little more than a street gang. And Rush was once one of Richard M. Daley’s harshest critics — losing a bid in 1999 to unseat him.
But on Friday, the Democratic congressman stood beside the latest Daley seeking to lead the city, declaring Bill Daley just the man for the job.
Rush, whose district stretches from near Bronzeville in the north to parts of Will County to the south, explained it this way: “No permanent friends, no permanent enemies — just permanent interests.”
Rush, speaking at the Harold Washington Cultural Center on the South Side, said he’d heard from many who say they’re tired of the Daley name in Chicago politics.
“I know that the Daley name is an old name,” he said. “Bill Daley is a Daley with an old name, but Bill Daley has new, innovative and creative ideas that will result in a better Chicago.”
Rush called the other candidates in the race for mayor “all fine people.”
“But we need a mayor who is up to the job and can get things done for Chicago, and get those things done starting on his very first day,” Rush said.
Citing Daley’s work in both the Clinton and Obama administrations, Rush said his choice for mayor is “tried, tested,” and has come through “with flying colors.”
Asked how a Daley win would benefit the city’s African-American community, Rush said, “I don’t do anything — politically, socially, spiritually — without thinking about the impact on my community.”
He touted Daley’s many connections in the local, national and international business community — connections that he said could benefit his constituents.
Daley, vowing to make the city more “inclusive,” said of Rush: “We have been on the same side on some issues and fights and on opposite sides. It is much better being on Bobby Rush’s side than it is being against Bobby Rush.”
Despite Rush’s history, it’s not the first time the congressman has touted a Daley for City Hall.
When he ran for mayor in 1999, Rush denounced Richard M. Daley for presiding over “one of the most corrupt administrations in Chicago history.” But months before the 2007 election, Rush was calling Daley a “great mayor” who “deserves another term.”