Published On: Fri, Mar 27th, 2015

Welcome to Chicago Obama Airport? Rahm Emanuel Says It’s a Maybe, Then a Maybe Not

Many in Chicago who give a damn about history were up in arms over the mayor's suggestion to rename one of their favorite airfields.

Rahm Emanuel and Obama

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, formerly the Obama White House chief of staff, is flirting with the idea of naming one of the windy city’s airports after the president, once the latter concludes his 8-year stint, Politico reported.

Emanuel, who’s in the midst of the fight of his political life in a run-off campaign, was asked at a candidate forum at Chicago State University why he withdrew his support from the move to name a high school after Obama. His deeply noncommittal response was that he was still looking for ways to “acknowledge people who have done significant things.”

But just when you thought the incumbent mayor was looking to distance himself from an unpopular president, like so many Democrats have been doing, Emanuel upped the ante:

“We have an airport, two of them, you know, Midway Airport, O’Hare Airport, ” he said, noting that while airports are normally named after people who have transformed the lives of many, in Chicago “we have airports named after battleships.”

As former NY mayor Rudy Giuliani told a hall full of giggling Republicans just before their resounding 2008 defeat, President Obama worked as a community organizer in Chicago before he went on to Harvard Law School in 1988. Obama later taught at the University of Chicago Law School and worked as an attorney, before launching his political career as Illinois State Senator.

OK, that’s probably the place where learned writers look stuff up and come back to inform their readers that O’Hare airport is named after World War II Navy pilot Edward “Butch” O’Hare and Midway is named after the World War II Battle of Midway.

Which is why many in Chicago who give a damn about history were up in arms over the mayor’s suggestion to rename one of their favorite airfields.

So the mayor, who really isn’t over losing heated runoffs over a stupid idea, backed off like a kitten that woke up in the midst of a pride of lions, and ran for the nearest tree:

“Look, I made a mistake, and I was quick to change it, ” Emanuel declared a day later. “I’m not perfect. When I make a mistake, I hear it and change it. And I don’t have a problem saying that.”

Then gathering what was left of his dignity, the mayor stated bravely: “But I won’t make an apology for the fact I think President Obama is a great president. I wanted to honor him, I wanted to be the city to have the first high school named after him. In my rush to do it, I clearly offended people, so I backed off of it. I will never back off of my love and affection for a great president. But I made a mistake.”

Yes, he did.

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