CHICAGO (AP) -- Former President Bill Clinton is coming to Chicago Tuesday to campaign for mayoral candidate Rahm Emanuel, but his visit is the cause of some controversy.
While the former White House chief of staff hopes Clinton can persuade voters to cast their ballots for him Feb. 22, a former mayoral contender has warned that Clinton is risking his popular standing with the African American community by backing Emanuel rather than a black candidate.
Clinton is scheduled to appear with Emanuel at the Chicago Cultural Center Tuesday morning. The candidate touted the visit in his campaign mailings over the weekend, mixed with an appeal for campaign donations.
"I'm honored to have President Clinton's support," Emanuel told supporters in the e-mail on Sunday. "I'm excited to show President Clinton the great Chicagoans who've made this campaign possible."
Emanuel is among about a dozen names on the mayoral ballot. Three of his rivals, former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun, former schools president Gery Chico and City Clerk Miguel del Valle, have emphasized their deep city roots while claiming Emanuel is more of a Washington insider. Braun has the support of many black leaders in the city, while Chico picked up the endorsement of Congressman Luis Gutierrez this month.
Braun, who has been named the "unity" African American candidate by a coalition of black leaders, criticized Clinton's visit, even though Clinton appointed her as ambassador to New Zealand after she lost her senate seat in 1998. "What we have is an outsider running for mayor and bringing outsiders in to help him," she told reporters shortly after Clinton's visit was announced.