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Emanuel Thinking Of Family After Blagojevich Sentencing, Calls Ald. Mell

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Mayor Rahm Emanuel

Mayor Rahm Emanuel announces plans to upgrade the CTA Red Line. (Credit: Illinois Information Service)

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Updated 12/8/11 – 4:04 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Thursday that he is thinking about Rod Blagojevich’s family–and lessons for other politicians–in the wake of the ex-governor’s 14-year jail sentence for corruption.

Emanuel wouldn’t comment on whether he thought the sentenced handed down by Judge James Zagel was appropriate.

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“The sentence is the sentence. They’ve issued that. There’s nothing for me to … all I would be doing is commenting on something and that’s not, in my view, the place or time or what I want to do,” Emanuel said.

But the mayor said – in essence – that Blagojevich should have known better.

As CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine reports, Emanuel is a legendary tough guy, but he doesn’t hit someone when he’s down. So he chose his words carefully, expressing sympathy for the former governor’s wife, children, and father in law, Alderman Dick Mell. But not for Blagoyevich himself.

He did say his first thoughts were for the family, and he called Blagojevich’s father in law, Dick Mell.

“My thoughts are with Patti and the kids. I called Alderman Mell to express that, at this point, obviously it’s hard on the family and I’m thinking of him as well as the whole family,” Emanuel said.

He also said the whole episode should serve as a reminder to all people who enter a career of public service.

“For all of us who are in public service [it's important] to remember why we have chosen this career. It’s about serving the public, and it’s about conducting yourself in that way,” Emanuel said. “You can pass all the laws you want – and you should – so there’s clarity to the rules of the road about what’s appropriate and what’s not, what’s legal and what’s not. But for all of us who are in public service, while the laws are important, there’s also a space for how you conduct yourself and your own conscience about what is right and what is wrong.”

Echoing comments made by Judge James Zagel while handing down the sentence on Wednesday, Emanuel said those who’ve chosen public service must remember it’s the public they chose to serve, not themselves.

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