Monday, January 22, 2007

Daley endorses Obama, Obama endorses Daley

Just before Christmas, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley endorsed Barack Obama's then-unannounced run for the presidency. Daley typically doesn't endorse presidential candidates early in the process, although he made an exception for Al Gore, whose campaign chairman was William Daley, Richie's brother and former commerce secretary under Bill Clinton.

Bill Daley is on board for Team Obama, although his role there has yet to be defined.

Mayor Daley is up for re-election next month, and today Obama endorsed the longtime Chicago chief executive.

But not without some explanation from Senator Obama.

From the Chicago Sun-Times:

In August 2005, Obama nearly ran into trouble with Daley when he hedged on whether he'd support the mayor for re-election in light of the corruption investigations at City Hall.

Asked then if he planned to support the mayor or if the corruption probes might have given him pause, the senator replied, "What's happened — some of the reports I've seen in your newspaper, I think, give me huge pause."

An hour later Obama backed off those comments a bit, and Daley said we wasn't peeved at him.

More from the today's Sun-Times article:

This morning, Obama was asked how he reconciles his statement in 2005 about the Hired Truck Program, city hiring and minority-contracting scandals with today's endorsement.

"It's entirely consistent," Obama said. "I continue to be concerned. And one of the things I've been pleased to see is the steps the mayor's been taking to try to clean up some of the genuine problems that exist. We've seen changes in hiring rules, procurement rules. You've got a significantly beefed-up inspector general [who] has the power to enforce some of these laws on the books. As a consequence, you're gonna see the kind of leaner, cleaner government that Chicagoans expect and, I know, the mayor expects.

But if there are more federal indictments at City Hall, Obama's statement today may be used against him by his opponents.

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