CHARLOTTE, N.C.--The Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. and the Chicago Republican Party have at least one thing in common: Both believe Mayor Rahm Emanuel has more important things to do than to attend the Democratic National Convention.
The Republicans want the former White House chief-of-staff to skip the convention and stay home to settle the teachers strike and confront a 31 percent surge in Chicago homicides fueled by gang violence.
Jackson wouldn't go that far. He said the mayor could get away with a quickie-trip to Charlotte to deliver a planned speech to delegates Tuesday night provided he high-tails it back to Chicago.
But, if the mayor follows through on a plan to remain in Charlotte until Friday morning, Jackson warned that Emanuel would rightfully face a political backlash for having his priorities out of whack
"A teachers strike is gonna affect a half million people. It's gonna paralyze the city if it takes place," Jackson said.
Obviously referring to Hurricane Isaac, Jackson said, "The officials in Louisiana and Mississippi-- once they declared they had an emergency, they prioritized the emergency He [Emanuel] has two emergencies: One, the impending teachers strike, the other the killing rate in Chicago that has become the No. 1 news item in America. That requires all hands on site management. Maybe if he comes and goes, he can take a breather," but nothing more than that.
Emanuel was initially scheduled to remain in Chicago to preside over the opening of Chicago Public Schools, then fly to Charlotte to deliver his speech to delegates that evening.
The mayor was scheduled to remain in Charlotte through Friday morning while maintaining a hectic schedule fit a presidential surrogate who is co-chairing President Barack Obama's re-election campaign.
But, sources said Monday the mayor's schedule is now up in the air and subject to change pending developments in Chicago.