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Clinton Avoids Rahm, Bernie Slams CPS Ahead Of Illinois Primary

By aaroncynic in News on Mar 15, 2016 2:38PM

Democratic presidential nominee contenders Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders ahead of the March 6th debate at the Whiting Auditorium at the Cultural Center Campus in Flint, Michigan. Photo by Scott Olsen/Getty Images.

Both candidates for Democratic presidential nomination held dueling last-minute appearances in Chicago ahead of today's state primary election. Thousands turned up to the Roosevelt Auditorium downtown to hear Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders stump one last time before polls opened this morning, and Hillary Clinton held a rally at the Plumber’s Union Hall before making three other stops on the South and West Sides.

While Sanders spoke on campaign finance and corporate influence in politics—issues his campaign has relied heavily on during the primary—he also spoke on some local issues as well. According to the Sun-Times, he almost immediately spoke of the three officers shot Monday evening in Homan Square:

“If elected president, I will do everything that I can. This is not easy stuff. But the violence, the violence that we all see, hundreds of people a year being killed in this city. . . . We have got to come together and end this outrageous level of violence.”

He also took aim at Mayor Rahm Emanuel for presiding over the largest public school closings in history. According to the Tribune:

"I come to Chicago and I hear about 50 schools in black and Latino communities being shut down, and I hear about millions of dollars going back to Wall Street, who helped create this problem. It is not acceptable that schools in Chicago get shut down while we give tax breaks to billionaires."

Sanders began running an ad criticizing Emanuel recently. And at a campaign rally in Summit on Friday, he thanked the mayor for not endorsing him. “ Let me say—let me say—let me say, I want to thank Rahm Emanuel for not endorsing me. I don’t want his endorsement,” said Sanders.

Meanwhile in Pilsen, Clinton spoke on immigration as well as taking a dig at carnival barker Donald Trump, the GOP frontrunner. "I will work very hard when I am president, if you join with us and help me become president, to be sure we immediately begin working for comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship,” Clinton said.

"Please tell everyone that we have to have a good vote tomorrow to send a strong message that love trumps hate,” she added.

Emanuel's support of Clinton is "well-known," as mayoral spokesman Adam Collins told reporters recently, but he and Clinton will not meet during her time in Chicago because, according to Collins, their schedules did not line up. Bloomberg News speculates that Clinton is trying to distance herself from Emanuel at a time when Sanders is pushing for voters who are dissatisfied with Emanuel's local leadership.

While polling prior to the Michigan primary—where Sanders upset the Clinton camp with an unsuspected victory—showed Clinton with a commanding lead in Illinois, the two are now running neck-and-neck. Last weekend, a CBS poll had Sanders leading Clinton 48 percent to 46, and an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll had the Vermont Senator trailing the former Secretary of State by six points with 45 percent.