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Hillary Clinton hits Chicago today with frenzy as book debuts

WASHINGTON — Hillary Rodham Clinton comes home to Chicago on Tuesday for a paid speech on the day her book “Hard Choices” debuts and as a media frenzy cranks into even higher gear over whether she will run for president again in 2016. On Wednesday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel — who vaulted to national politics working in Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign — interviews her at a Chicago Ideas Week event.

Clinton on Tuesday morning had to backtrack over a comment she made to ABC’s Diane Sawyer in a Monday broadcast that she and Bill Clinton were “dead broke” and in debt when they left the White House. They were — and they needed money not only to pay bills but to buy two very nice houses in Washington and in New York. Remember, the Clintons moved out the White House as Hillary Clinton was starting her first term as a New York senator. But that comment did not sit well with the punditocracy because it made Clinton seem elite and out of touch with working folks.

So on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Clinton fine tuned her comment telling ABC’s Robin Roberts, “Let me just clarify that I fully appreciate how hard life is for so many Americans today,” Clinton said. “Bill and I were obviously blessed. We worked hard for everything we got in our lives and we continue to work hard, and we’ve been blessed in the last 14 years. So for me it’s just a reality what we faced when he got out of the White House, it meant that we just had to keep working really hard.”

RELATED: Clinton refused Obama campaign’s request to attack Palin in 2008

Now, on to Chicago and the broader Hillaryworld beyond:

1. Tonight, Clinton, born at the old Edgewater Beach Hospital and raised mostly in Park Ridge, delivers a paid speech to the United Fresh Produce Association and the Food Marketing Institute, meeting at McCormick Place.

2. On Wednesday, Emanuel, who served in Bill Clinton’s White House, is conducting a “conversation,” with the former Secretary of State delivering remarks for about 20 minutes, followed by Emanuel hosting a question and answer session which will include taking questions from the audience.

To watch: I don’t expect Emanuel to be hard hitting, but I hope he doesn’t just ask fluff. He put himself in a bit of an awkward position. Bill Clinton is coming to Chicago on June 20 to headline a fundraiser for Emanuel’s political warchest.

But with Emanuel’s vast insider knowledge–as President Barack Obama’s former chief of staff he had a hand in Clinton’s appointment as Secretary of State–and worked with her in the Obama administration–he does have the ability to, if he chooses, plow new ground.

3. Hillary’s school pals are planning to attend the speech at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance in the Loop. Clinton attended Maine East and then transfererred over to Maine South when that school opened. She was a member of Maine South’s first graduating class in 1965. I am told Chicago pals expected at the Ideas event are her close friends Betsy Ebeling and Kevin O’Keefe plus her “girlfriends,” Judy Osgood, Kathy Burgess, Ann Drake, Patsy Bowles, Bonnie Klehr and Hardye Moel.

4. Chicago is the second stop on Clinton’s “Hard Choices” book tour which kicked off on Tuesday morning at a New York City book signing at the Barnes & Noble on Union Square.

After that it is the Chicago Ideas event on Tuesday, a Philadelphia book signing on Wednesday at the Free Library of Philadelphia and then on Friday, in Washington for a talk hosted by the Politics & Prose independent bookstore taking place at George Washington University.

That Politics and Prose landed the Clinton event comes with a backstory: One of the co-owners of Politics and Prose is Lissa Muscatine, a former White House speechwriter for President Bill Clinton and then-First Lady Hillary Clinton. Muscatine helped Clinton write her first memoir, Living History and worked for her in the State Department.