Emanuel goes a bit too far with wisecrack about Abraham Lincoln

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Mayor Rahm Emanuel is notorious for making wisecracks, almost always at somebody else’s expense. But, targets of the mayor’s one-liners are normally there to either defend themselves or laugh with him.

That’s not what happened Tuesday when Emanuel was asked about his efforts to make one unified Chicago bid for President Barack Obama’s Presidential Library and Museum.

“You know the modern presidential libraries. President Clinton has his in Arkansas. Both Bushes [have theirs] in Texas. President Lincoln has his in Springfield, Il. I don’t think he was part of the selection process,” the mayor said laughing.

It was an awkward moment. The mayor never mentioned the reason why Lincoln was not around to choose the site for his presidential library. He was assassinated on April 14, 1865 by John Wilkes Booth while attending a play at the Ford Theater in Washington D.C.

Without missing a beat, the mayor went on to explain his decision to consolidate the city’s resources behind a single bid.

The University of Chicago is the odds-on favorite over the University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago State University and Bronzeville backers of the old Michael Reese Hospital site purchased by the city to house an Olympic Village before Chicago’s first-round flop in the 2016 Summer Olympic Game sweepstakes.

“I believe Chicago is the right place for President Obama to have his presidential library. He started his career here. That said, I’m not going to rest on just sentimentality,” the mayor said.

“We are, as a city, going to make sure it’s the right place to put it [to serve] what presidential libraries’ purpose is. They serve usually as educational entities—not just for what happened in his time, but what you can learn from that. And given all of our places of higher learning and our educational facilities, this is the [best place for Obama to] put his presidential library. I’m going to make sure the city is well positioned. That’s my role as mayor.”

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