CHICAGO (CBS) — Headed into the final weekend before the runoff election, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said if the city doesn’t have the right leadership, it would be “a horror flick” for business and jobs.
Emanuel greeted commuters at a Red Line stop on the Near North Side before heading to a campaign field office on the Near West Side to man phone banks with volunteers, to call potential supporters.
Afterward, the mayor said a vote for him is a vote for Chicago’s economic future, and the vitality of Chicago businesses.
“If you don’t have good leadership, we have seen that movie, and it’s a horror flick. Jobs, businesses, and families leave,” he said.
But he bristled when reporters asked if that meant jobs would leave Chicago if voters elect his challenger Jesus “Chuy” Garcia on Tuesday.
“I didn’t say that. No, I did not. I did not say that,” he said.
Garcia, who campaigned Friday with the Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr., downplayed Emanuel’s remarks, calling them “simply an attempt to scare people.”
He said he would reach out to businesses, if elected, though he would balance their needs with those of neighborhoods.
“We’re sending relationship-builders to that community to let them know that once I’m elected, I’m going to roll my sleeves and get to meet with them, understand their priorities, some of their visions for the future and see how we can make it happen,” Garcia told CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine.
Emanuel said businesses and jobs have been lured to Chicago, and stayed in the city, because he has the right stuff to keep them here.
“If you don’t have the right type of leadership, it actually shakes the foundations of businesses’ confidence. You know Motorola was going to leave Libertyville. They were looking at Sunnyvale, California, and they looked at Chicago. They brought 2,200 jobs to Chicago, not Sunnyvale,” he said. “There’s a classic choice.”
The mayor said his administration knows what to do to keep businesses thriving in Chicago.
“They want to know if the city actually has leadership to do the tough things necessary. They’re not going to bet on the city that’s not actually starting to address its problems, and also build on its future,” he said.