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Ezekiel "Zeke" Emanuel | Sun-Times file

As the battle over school closings continues to rage, the Chicago Teachers Union is one of the loudest voices opposing the city plan to shutter 54 schools.

But according to Mayor Rahm Emanuel's brother, Ezekiel, in a Huffington Post Chicago interview, it's all wasted effort. What Rahm wants, brother Zeke says, Rahm gets:

"Give in now. Give in now. Rahm will win. Rahm always does win," Ezekiel "Zeke" Emanuel told The Huffington Post, when asked what advice he'd give the teachers union.

Emanuel said his brother's policies are intended to decrease neighborhood crime and improve how the city educates its students. He offered little hope to those who want to fight the mayor's administration.

"Like I said, you're not going to beat him. ... You can bang your head against the wall, but he's pretty tough," Zeke Emanuel said.

Meanwhile, the CTU apparently hasn't gotten the message. The union is hosting a bus tour for media and elected officials of school communities being "destabilized" by school closings starting at 10 a.m. 940 W. Adams. This will be their second major public display after the protest in Downtown Chicago that snarled streets last week - and led to even more controversy over just how many people turned out.

The Emanuel brothers, Lynn Sweet reports, are teamed up on the Chicago leg of Ezekiel's tour for his book, "Brothers Emanuel, A Memoir of an American Family," starting today with a Winnetka book signing and an interview on CBS at 10 p.m.

WASHINGTON--Mayor Rahm Emanuel is beefing up his communications team, adding Obama campaign veteran Clo Ewing to work on "strategic planning" to further bolster his public relations initiatives.

Ewing was director of constituency press for the Obama campaign, handling media reporting on Jews, gays, women and other niche groups. She is a former producer at Harpo Productions.

Emanuel appears to be taking an organization cue from the White House, where the strategic planning operation works on longer term message management and story placement, not involved so much in dealing with daily press issues.

Sarah Hamilton is City Hall's Director of Communications.

UPDATE FROM HAMILTON

"She is joining the Emanuel Administration as Chief of Strategic Planning on the policy team (not the communications team)."

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Rich Hein/Sun-Times


Mayor Rahm Emanuel raised eyebrows with a comment he made during a press conference on Monday when asked about the increase in 1-, 3-, 7-, and 30-day CTA pass prices. Below is his full quote:

"Basic fares stay the same, which you cannot say about gas prices. Basic fare stays at $2.25. That will be true this year, next year, the following year and the fourth year. You cannot say that about gas prices. Now, you as a commuter will pick. You can either drive to work or you can take public transportation. And the standard fare will stay the same. And that is not true about gas prices. Right now, they're dropping. [But], if you're willing to take a bet like that over the next four years, you'll see. ....Again, I remind you, the standard fare stays the same and energy prices at the pump do not. And that is a choice that the commuter will pick which way they want to get to work."


In the full context of the speech, the comment doesn't quite as bad as some have made it out to be, but it still strikes me as tone-deaf and flippant to the reality of those who don't have cars and those who are dependent upon the CTA. But the boiled-down concept of his comments was somehow translated to "if you don't like the higher prices, then drive" when the story started circulating on social media and that's when the rage of many Chicagoans exploded online. And matters only got worse yesterday when the Blue Line experienced major delays during Rush Hour, affecting the commute of a good chunk of Chicagoans who depended on the CTA.

Today, Emanuel insisted that he never said or implied what angry Chicagoans had claimed: "I did not say or imply that you could just drive. I said there's a choice. People choose public transportation because it's competitive against private transportation. That's a choice. And the service is getting better and improved -- and that's my intention." Of course, to many, his tone doesn't matter; the message is still the same.

Below is our Storify on the evolution of this still-unfolding argument about what the mayor said, what he meant, and how Chicagoans are reacting.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel--former Obama chief of staff, former House Democratic leader-- brags on his Chicago programs in a Washington Post op-ed where he advises Democrats to take their cues from his initiatives in Chicago if they want to build on their 2012 election victories. Rahm brushes aside the Obama campaign success in using data to drive their turn-out or the demographic trends that contributed to President Barack Obama winning a second term. Read Rahm HERE.

Excerpt:

"Too much post-election analysis has focused on voter demographics and campaign mechanics, leaving Democrats in danger of drawing the wrong lessons from our electoral success.

"Demographics alone are not destiny. There is nothing in this year's election returns that guarantees Democrats a permanent majority in the years to come. President Obama and the Democratic Party earned the support of key groups -- young people, single women, Latinos, African Americans, auto workers in the Rust Belt and millions of other middle-class Americans -- because of our ideas."

Alan Goldsher in the Jewish Daily Forward writes about being beat up by Rahm Emanuel and his brother Ari as a kid--when he would go to their Wilmette home to get an allergy shot from their physician father. Read the account HERE.

Hat tip to Carol Felsenthal who spotted this story and highlighted in in her Chicago Magazine blog which is HERE.

WASHINGTON--Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Tuesday whirled through five battleground state interviews in his role as a surrogate for President Barack Obama. He did live remotes via satellite for WWBT in Richmond, Va.; WTMJ, Milwaukee; WBAY, Green Bay; WFUR, Miami and WMUR in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who spent the weekend stumping in battleground Ohio for President Barack Obama, votes early on Tuesday, a week before the election. He'll do the deed at 3:15 p.m. Chicago time at the McKinley Park Fieldhouse, 2210 West Pershing Road.

No questions, please. City Hall advises, "this is a b-roll and photo opportunity only."

WASHINGTON--Mayor Rahm Emanuel defended President Barack Obama on Libya and praised him as a decisive leader on Sunday, after Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) again accused the President Barack Obama of either "massive cover-up or massive incompetence" over the Sept. 11 attacks where four Americans were killed.

Emanuel, Obama's former chief of staff and McCain, who ran against Obama in 2008, were guests on CBS' "Face the Nation," where they represented the Obama and Mitt Romney campaigns. Emanuel did the interview from Akron, spending the weekend in battleground Ohio stumping for Obama.

McCain, who was interviewed first, turned to Obama's handling of Libya and the shifting explanations of the administration over what happened when the consulate in Bengahzi was attacked. "It is still the -- it is now the worst cover-up or incompetence that I have ever observed in my life," said McCain, who has made that point in previous public appearences.

He added, "I don't know if it's either cover-up or gross -- the worst kind of incompetence which doesn't allow -- it doesn't qualify the president as commander in chief."

Emanuel mounted a defense that echoed Obama administration explanations: "You have an event, a changing event. You don't have people on the ground, in a sense, for that information. The intelligence community, many different apparatuses from military intelligence, national security intelligence, CIA is assembling that information to give you the best picture, and events change," Emanuel said.

Moving on to Obama's foreign policy record, Emanuel said, "At every level of America's foreign policy abroad, in Europe, Asia, Africa, the Mideast is respected because they have seen this president take decisive leadership, take positions that he has executed from Iran to the protection of Israel to changing the war in Iraq and America's foreign policy to rebuilding us at home, reorienting America's resources to the threat coming or the challenge coming from China.

"That is a foreign policy that has made America continue to be the leader of the free world and with its values. And I would actually disagree with what the senator said. And if you look across the waterfront, America's leadership has never been stronger."

WASHINGTON--Mayor Rahm Emanuel hits battleground Ohio to stump for President Barack Obama on Saturday and Sunday--revving up Obama volunteers and shoring up Jewish votes. Obama's former chief of staff is a headliner on CBS' "Face the Nation" on Sunday morning; Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. is also booked on the show to represent the Mitt Romney campaign.

Both Emanuel and McCain stumped for their respective candidates in Florida last week..