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Carol Felsenthal
On politics

Where’s Rahm? DNC Edition

Once a prized ally of President Obama and both Clintons, our mayor is curiously absent from the Democratic National Convention schedule.

 Photo: Nancy Stone/Chicago Tribune

The quadrennial conventions are like mother’s milk to politicians. This week, Democrats flock to the quintessential democratic city, Philadelphia, to support presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton; it’s nothing like the hourly reports of Republicans—locally Rauner, Kirk, Dold, etc.—staying away from the Republican National Convention, terrified of being caught in the same photo frame as Donald Trump.

Rahm, as mayor of the most storied Democratic city, should have entered the Democratic National Convention like a conquering hero. After all, he’s best friends with Bill Clinton, a confidante of Hillary’s, a star as head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and so powerful as congressman that he was widely seen as Nancy Pelosi’s successor as Speaker of the House. He worked what then seemed like miracles (remember NAFTA, welfare reform?) in the Clinton White House across two terms. Barack Obama loves him, even if Michelle doesn’t, and he sacrificed his national ambitions to become Obama’s first chief of staff. Then he became Chicago’s mayor. What could be better?

It all unraveled and now, as I reported recently, one would think the Clintons had never made his acquaintance and that the President barely knows him. Had Rahm not become so radioactive, he would surely have a speaking role at the DNC—but there’s no mention of him on the schedule.

Rahm’s friend, former New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg, is speaking at the DNC, and he’s not even a Democrat.

The focal point of the convention tonight is the speech by Bernie Sanders. Watch for endless ovations for the man—also not a Democrat—who, during his primary battle against Hillary, said that he wouldn’t accept Rahm’s endorsement; that he only wanted endorsements from “the people who are fighting for social and racial justice.”

I asked members of Rahm’s press corps if their boss was attending the convention, and if so, which days, and what is on his schedule. If he’s not attending, why not? There was no answer by post time.*

Rahm’s public schedule, issued each day, was blank today.

Where’s Rahm? It’s possible he could show up in Philadelphia, if only to visit his older brother, Zeke, who teaches at the University of Pennsylvania.

Check back here for news on his whereabouts today through Thursday, when Hillary gives her speech accepting the nomination. It’s unthinkable to me that he’d miss that, not to mention speeches by his buddies Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

Related: Could Hillary Help Repair Rahm’s Reputation?

Carol Felsenthal is a lifelong Chicagoan and self-proclaimed political junkie. She writes occasionally for Politico Magazine and The Hill. Her books include biographies of Bill Clinton, Katharine Graham, and Alice Roosevelt Longworth. Among her many stories for Chicago are memorable profiles of Michelle Obama and Bruce Rauner. Follow her on Twitter at @csfelsenthal.

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