CHICAGO (CBS) — You could call former Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s new book part memoir, part public policy manual.
As CBS 2’s Jim Williams reported, the book, “The Nation City: Why Mayors Are Now Running the World” is also a defense of Emanuel’s controversial two terms at City Hall.
“When they asked Churchill, ‘How do you think history will treat you?’ And Churchill said, ‘Very well,’ and they go, ‘How do you know?’ and he goes, ‘I plan on writing it,’” Emanuel said.
Emanuel’s new book is not a complete history of his tumultuous eight years as mayor, but you could call it a response to his many critics.
Williams: “So when you left office and you thought about writing this book, were you thinking about settling scores?”
Emanuel: “No. I mean first of all, I started writing it two years ago. And I don’t do that. I talk about things I think are relevant.”
Emanuel cites a number of his successes.
“We’ve set up pre-K-to-college model. Bronzeville, for example, where we are now, has a Mariano’s. The largest capital investment with the (CTA) Red Line South development,” Emanuel said.
He held those up as examples of what cities can do at a time, he says, the federal government is retreating from the lives of average Americans.
“I think mayors bring a unique skill set that scratches the public’s itch for government that is relevant, and one that they can relate to,” Emanuel said.
Now a television commentator, op-ed writer, and author, Emanuel clearly wants to retain his public voice. But there’s been a backlash – primarily over his handling of the Laquan McDonald police shooting case and police misconduct more broadly.
He lost a gig at The Atlantic Magazine.
Williams: “There was something of a rebellion among some of the staffers and some of the contributors. In fact, one person writing about it said, ‘We shouldn’t listen to anything that Rahm Emanuel has to say.'”
Emanuel: “I think the issue of Laquan McDonald, we came face to face; made changes. I spoke fully to the City Council about what needed to be done and took accountability for it.”
Emanuel has had some big jobs. The one he left last year tops the list.
“Senior advisor to President Clinton, in the congressional leadership, chief of staff to President Obama. Put all those together, they don’t even measure being mayor,” Emanuel said. “Doesn’t come close.”
In promoting his book, the former mayor invited interviewers to meet him at locations that emphasize his successes – new public libraries, the Whole Foods in Englewood, and Monday’s backdrop for his interview with CBS 2’s Williams – the headquarters of IBEW Local 134 at 2722 S. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. The union rebuilt an old school at Emanuel’s urging.