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Daley Calls Out Union Leader Over Emanuel "Judas" Comment

By Chuck Sudo in News on Feb 18, 2011 5:20PM

If Mayor Daley thinks you said something wrong, you probably did. May Day took some time yesterday to rebuke a comment made earlier in the week by Jim Sweeney, a union leader with Operating Engineers Local 150. Sweeney called Rahm Emanuel a "Wall Street Judas" who collected "bags of silver" while helping pass NAFTA through Congress. Daley said Sweeney's comment was anti-Semitic (Emanuel is Jewish) and that the tone of the campaign should not be lowered.

“Everybody should refute it. It’s a disgrace. … It’s wrong for a campaign. Win on the issue and not on the ethnic origin or the religious [background] of anyone. Do not take that point. That lowers the campaign for the city of Chicago. It’s a disgrace,” the mayor said.

Sweeney, for his part, tried to clarify his statements yesterday while saying no anti-Semitism was intended.

"My reference to Judas is like Judas would be to anybody else. Like Kleenex is to tissue paper. He's a traitor."

Sweeney's comment led to backpedaling from even Gery Chico, whom Sweeney's union has endorsed. Once one of Daley's best troubleshooters, Chico took the opportunity to call out Daley for a "measures response" while noting that he has a Jewish ex-wife and Jewish daughters from that marriage.