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Mayor Daley's message to President Obama

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WASHINGTON -- Mayor Daley took stock of the Democratic Senate defeat in Massachusetts and said Wednesday that President Obama is in danger of being seen as the president of the past.

Daley made his comments at the opening press conference of the winter meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. He said the upset Massachusetts victory of Republican Scott Brown, who won the seat held by the late Sen. Ted Kennedy was linked to unemployment.

"Job creation is the key, and we heard it yesterday from Massachusetts very strongly," Daley said, as the nation's jobless rate hovers at 10 percent.

Daley has long held that there is a disconnect between Washington -- no matter the president, no matter the party controlling Congress -- and the mayors who run cities.

The Obama White House -- populated by former Chicago City Hall staffers and appointees -- got scooped up in his criticism of bureaucrats who don't live in the "real world."

"The real world," said Daley, "does not exist in Washington, D.C."

Now I think that was a bit harsh, since I just finished a round of interviews with the Chicago gang in the White House -- Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and senior advisers David Axelrod and Valerie Jarrett -- and my impression is their pragmatism is fueled by the limits of the political realities they have faced in Congress -- from their own Democrats and Republicans, and not from any disconnect with the "real world." And more job creation is a top priority of the Obama administration, which was one year old Wednesday.

But Daley, whom I see as somewhat of a barometer on these things, said the Obama White House needed to be seen as more forward looking.

On the Massachusetts vote, Daley said, "I think the message is very strong. America is changing. And we are not going to play by the old playbook. And that is what President Obama stood for. Change, he's going to bring change to it, and that's what he stood for. He cannot be part of the past, he's part of the future."

FOOTNOTE: After listening to Daley's robust rant against Washington -- and seeing his passion for being mayor of Chicago -- I cannot imagine he will not run for another term in 2011. --Lynn Sweet

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on January 21, 2010 7:04 AM.

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