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Countdown to Rahmageddon: More of the Same at Last Night's Debate

By Chuck Sudo in News on Feb 18, 2011 2:35PM

Last night it was ABC7's turn to host a mayoral debate at the Oriental Theatre, the final one before Tuesday's election. In between Ron Magers' admonishments to the audience that he would clear the auditorium if they didn't stop cheering, Gery Chico, Carol Moseley Braun and Miguel del Valle each took turns trying to score points off Rahm Emanuel, particularly on immigration reform. Now, what the next mayor of Chicago can do to spur immigration reform (a federal issue), we have no idea. In a last-ditch appeal to a wide base of Hispanic voters across the city, we can see why Braun, Chico and del Valle did attempt to paint Emanuel into that corner.

Other items of note during the debate:

  • The dance of vagueness between Emanuel and Chico over "the Rahm Tax" continued, with Emanuel unwilling to clarify what services his proposed reduction in the sales tax would be transferred to, and Chico maintaining his party line that the tax would hurt working families. All we want to know is what pet grooming salons offer mango facials for dogs and can we get Emmy a last-minute appointment for this afternoon. If this election goes to a runoff between Chico and Emanuel, expect another six weeks of this pas de deux on the tax issue.

  • Del Valle seemed to deliberately avoid answering questions from the panel in order to score points with both the Oriental Theatre audience and viewers watching the debate at Chico's expense. With del Valle out-polling Chico among Hispanics in ABC7's most recent poll, it appeared that del Valle was attempting to position himself as a Chico spoiler on Tuesday.

  • Last night was easily Carol Moseley Braun's best debate performance, but two things she said stood out. First, she oddly compared the mayoral election to the revolution in Egypt (although she also referenced Chuck D in saying voters should "Fight the Power"). Second, during the bashing of Emanuel on immigration reform, Braun said that she still had floor privileges in the Senate and would use it to fight for immigration reform. Just seemed like an odd thing to bring up in a Mayoral debate.