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Rahm Reacts to Questions About Choice of School for Children

By Chuck Sudo in News on Jul 22, 2011 2:50PM

Photo Credit: Samantha Abernethy

We're all in agreement that where Mayor Emanuel decides to send his kids to school is his decision, regardless of what we think of it. Since the news broke that Emanuel and wife Amy would send their children Ilana, Leah and Zach to University of Chicago Lab School and the attendant media scrum that resulted, the Mayor has reacted as, well, a parent.

Take, for instance, this interview Emanuel gave to NBC 5's Mary Ann Ahern, in which, under persistent questioning by Ahern about sending the Emanuel brood to U of C Lab School, Emanuel first showed off that scary grin we saw when the Appellate Court ruled that his mayoral campaign didn't meet residency requirements. You see that grin, you either change the line of questioning, end the interview, or duck under a desk like in a tornado drill.

Here's what happened.

“Mary Ann, let me break the news to you. My children are not in a public position,” he said, curtly. “I am. You’re asking me a value statement and not a policy. … No, no, you have to appreciate this. My children are not an instrument of me being mayor. My children are my children, and that may be news to you, and that may be new to you, Mary Ann, but you have to understand that I’m making this decision as a father.”

The mayor stood up to leave.

“I look forward to our future interview,” he said before unclipping his lanyard microphone and dropping it to the floor, and walking out of his office. I asked my camera man to stop rolling.

As I tried to explain further, Emanuel doubled back. He looked directly at my two college interns, and said, "You are my witnesses."

Then, the Mayor of Chicago positioned himself inches from my face and pointed his finger directly at my head. He raised his voice and admonished me. How dare I ask where his children would go to school!

Ahern called it one of the oddest moments in her career as a journalist.