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Davis: Clinton Would Upset Blacks If He Backs Emanuel

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Danny Davis

U.S. Rep. Danny Davis, a candidate for mayor of Chicago, discusses residency issues facing rival candidate Rahm Emanuel on Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2010. (Credit: CBS)

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Updated: 12/29/30 6:24 p.m.

CHICAGO (WBBM/CBS) — Congressman and mayoral candidate Danny Davis says former President Bill Clinton should stay out of the Chicago mayoral election.

He says Clinton should not raise money for Rahm Emanuel, not if Clinton cares about his reputation among African-Americans. Is Davis playing a race card?

CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov reports that Davis is now doing some backpedaling, saying race wasn’t at the core of his comments. But those comments aren’t going away.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780′s Steve Miller Reports

“I have no doubt that some African Americans would not be happy,” Davis told Newsradio 780′s Steve Miller.

When it comes to former President Bill Clinton’s upcoming visit to Chicago to stump for Rahm Emanuel, you can’t fault mayoral candidate Danny Davis for his honesty.

“I would hope he would not come to Chicago and support anybody unless he comes to support me,” said Davis today.

That’s what he’s saying now. But it’s different from what he said earlier this week.

Davis said he was disturbed when he heard through the news media that Clinton would be supporting Emanuel.

“Just be neutral [in this election],” Davis said. “We all have good working relationships, good friendships.”

When asked if he was pulling the race card, Davis said it’s clear who he is. He’s black.

He also says he simply wants Clinton to stay out of the race, and he’d say the same thing if the former president was coming here to stump for candidate Carol Moseley Braun.

Braun also wants Clinton to back off.

“I think what we have is an outsider running for mayor who is bringing in an outsider to help him,” she said.

Braun says despite the Chicago Board of Election’s recent decision to keep Emanuel’s name on the ballot, it’s clear to her that Emanuel didn’t meet a one-year residency requirement for mayoral candidates.

Clinton has past ties to Braun, Davis and Emanuel.

Davis was a early supporter of Clinton, and the former president also appointed another mayoral candidate, Carol Moseley Braun, as ambassador to New Zealand.

But Emanuel was Clinton’s senior White House advisor for a time, so those ties might be the strongest.

Chicago Sun-Times columnist Mary Mitchell believes Davis should not have made Clinton an issue.

“It is the race card. It’s as clear as day,” Mitchell said. “When you begin to position yourself as a black versus a white candidate, or that a white person can’t support a white candidate in a race involving black candidates, that’s an unfortunate thing.”

Mitchell believes Clinton’s appearance for Emanuel will not sway African-American voters to Emanuel nor will it hurt Clinton’s reputation in that community.

Emanuel’s staff didn’t want to comment on the matter.

Newsradio 780′s Steve Miller and CBS 2′s Dana Kozlov contributed to this report.

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