School-Funding Political Cartoon Continues To Dog Gov. Rauner

(CBS) – Chicago Mayor Emanuel took Gov. Rauner to task for dithering before calling a political cartoon offensive.

The illustration was created by the conservative think tank that has largely taken control of Republican Rauner’s entire communications operations.

CBS 2 Political Reporter Derrick Blakley has more.

“He has a responsibility to speak out,” Emanuel says of the cartoon that appeared last week.

In the cartoon produced by the Illinois Policy Institute, an African-American boy with empty pockets holds a sign that says, “Need money 4 school.” A cigar-chomping fat cat, representing TIF funds, says, “Sorry, kid, I’m broke.”

“He’s showing more loyalty to the people from that foundation, that quote-unquote think tank, than he is to speaking to the moral requirements of his office,” the mayor said.

Late Wednesday, the institute called the controversy a needless distraction to the central issue, that tax-increment financing diverts money from public schools.

After his crushing defeat in the recent state budget showdown vote, Rauner fired his entire communications team, replacing them by staffers from — you guessed it – the Illinois Policy Institute. Their first, confusing statement on the cartoon concluded: “The governor as a white male does not have anything to add to the discussion.”

That triggered further criticism — and a new statement, issued late Tuesday, attributed to Rauner.

“Earlier today, an email went out from my office that did not accurately reflect my views,” he said. “I understand why some people found the cartoon offensive.”

That statement that brought more barbs.

“There’s only one side about racism. There’s right and wrong, and we stand on the side of right,” Democratic gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker said.

Legislative leaders may meet again Thursday in search of a school-funding breakthrough.

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