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Emanuel frames Romney as a backward-looking candidate

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Updated: October 4, 2012 6:24AM



CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Mayor Rahm Emanuel, President Barack Obama’s former chief of staff, framed Mitt Romney on Sunday as a backward-looking candidate, blistering his acceptance speech as laying “out the policies of Ground Hog Day.”

Emanuel discussed the upcoming Democratic National Convention with David Gregory on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” where he was introduced as an “architect” of Obama’s first-term policies.

“If people want to know about the first term? Very simple. General Motors is alive and well. And Osama bin Laden is not. And that’s what got done,” Emanuel said.

The mayor will remain in Chicago until Tuesday morning to preside over the first day of Chicago Public Schools, then fly to Charlotte and address the convention that evening.

He defended his former boss as Gov. Pat Quinn, Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago), Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and other Democratic luminaries descended on Charlotte on Sunday.

After Emanuel’s speech, he is scheduled to make the rounds of the Wednesday morning network news programs and amplify his Sunday criticism of Republican Mitt Romney and his GOP convention.

“He basically laid out the policies of Ground Hog Day. Which is, we are going to go back to the very things that led to a recession, led to a middle class that for the first time in American history in a decade, actually saw their economic security decline,” Emanuel said.

Meanwhile, a top Chicago Republican called on Emanuel to stay home to deal with the city’s crime wave and potential teachers strike in the city’s public school system.

“There were some Republican governors who stayed home from last week’s Republican convention when Hurricane Isaac hit,” Chris Cleveland, vice chairman of the Chicago Republican Party, told the Chicago Sun-Times. “Well, we’re about to have a hurricane strike Chicago — a teachers strike, and he needs to stay home to deal with it.”

An Emanuel spokesman did not respond to the Republican criticism.

The launch of the Democratic National Convention comes amid clear signs that the enthusiasm for Obama among party followers is not nearly as intense as it was four years ago.

Jim Montgomery, an Obama delegate and the civil rights attorney who once served as Mayor Harold Washington’s corporation counsel, acknowledged that this is a far different convention from the one that nominated Obama in 2008.

“I’m a great admirer of Barack. I tend to stay pretty well on an even keel, but I understand that it is a different day and time from ’08. It isn’t met with the excitement that there was before, but I think the importance of it is even greater today than it was four years ago because the direction of the country is heading in a good direction.

“But unfortunately, the recession is here,” he continued. “The country would absolutely embrace Barack but for the fact that there are economic issues, and it’s going to be close.”



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