Former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel announced yesterday that he is officially running for Chicago mayor. In a video posted on his website, he tried to give off the I'm-one-of-you vibe:
"I was born here and my wife Amy and I raised our three children here," he says. "I'm glad to be home."
There's just one problem: the video was filmed in Washington, so "here" is about 700 miles away from Chicago:
While the video's origin may be an amusing technicality (posted on the "tell it like it is" section of Emanuel's website), it could highlight a larger issue -- some are questioning Emanuel's residency status and wondering if he can even run for mayor.
"The fact that Emanuel's use of the word 'here' wasn't precisely accurate is an amusing footnote to what Illinois lawyers say may be a serious legal problem: Rivals are challenging Emanuel's residency, and his right to run will hinge on where his 'home' actually is," Politico's Ben Smith says.
"[A] candidate for mayor must reside in the town for a year before the election," says Abdon M. Pallasch of the Chicago Sun-Times. "That doesn't mean they must simply own a home in the city that they rent out to someone else. They must have a place they can walk into, keep a toothbrush, hang up their jacket and occasionally sleep, the lawyers say."
Chicago lawyer Burt Odelson, who claims to have argued "hundreds" of residency cases, says the law is "very clear" and that Emanuel will not be able to run:
If Emanuel passes the residency and is allowed to run, he still has to win the hearts and minds of the voters. That may be an uphill battle according to a video of Emanuel kicking off his so-called listening tour today in Chicago. The video shows Emanuel trying to greet constituents at a public train stop and the commuters seemingly blowing by the politician as he repeatedly tries to entice them with "how are you?" and "have a good day":
The Drudge Report's headline may say it best: "Blown Off by Commuters; Starts Campaign at Chicago Train Stop."