Carol Felsenthal
On politics

Tom Carey, Adviser to Carol Moseley Braun, Weighs in on Her Campaign

Tom Carey, 56, has been working for candidates here—from Rich Daley to John Stroger—since he was 25. One day in January, the political strategist received a call from a local lawyer who was volunteering for Carol Moseley Braun. The man told Carey he would pick him up to take him to a meeting, but didn’t say with whom. Carey was soon in the Hyde Park home of Moseley Braun, talking politics with the woman who, at the time, was hoping for a runoff with Rahm Emanuel…

Tom Carey, 56, has been working for candidates here—from Rich Daley to John Stroger—since he was 25. One day in January, the political strategist received a call from a local lawyer who was volunteering for Carol Moseley Braun. The man told Carey he would pick him up to take him to a meeting, but didn’t say with whom. Carey was soon in the Hyde Park home of Moseley Braun, talking politics with the woman who, at the time, was hoping for a runoff with Rahm Emanuel. She finished fourth in the race, with about nine percent of the vote. Carey, who said his role in the campaign was “unofficial adviser” to Moseley Braun, spoke to me in a telephone interview on Monday. Below, highlights of our conversation

CF: Tell me about your meeting with her.
TC: I talked to her for two hours, and at the end she asked me if I could help her. We were just telling political stories back and forth. I made one pitch—you gotta get both black and white votes. It does no good to simply get black votes. As it turned out, she got neither. When I first agreed to help out they claimed their budget was $2 million. [This was the amount that black business leaders had promised the candidate]. They ended up raising only $400,000. You can have the nicest, shiniest car in the world; if you got no gas in it, you’re not going anywhere. If she had told me that night she would have only $400,000, I would have told her to get out of the race right now.

CF: Why didn’t the $2 million materialize?
TC:
Because people don’t give money to losers. Historically blacks have always backed the winner for mayor. The only time blacks did not back the winner was in 1989 when Gene Sawyer was running. Rahm had $12 million, which they respect. Rahm spent that money early, cut Carol’s poll numbers down, and [black leaders] said, “Wait, Carol can’t win this thing.” Blacks don’t give money on ideals. They’re very, very cut and dried. They want to back a winner.           

CF: I’ve heard rumors that President Obama called black business leaders and asked them to support Rahm, not Carol. I interviewed John Rogers, Jr. [head of Ariel Investments and Moseley Braun’s biggest financial backer] the other day and asked him if he received such a call from the President. He said absolutely not.
TC:
Rich Daley was making all the phone calls behind the scenes. Daley probably did a great job of blocking Carol getting the money.

CF: Do you know Daley was making calls?
TC: Of course. Do I know the sun’s going to rise tomorrow? It’s part of the game. [When asked to comment on Carey’s assertions, Daley’s press secretary, Jackie Heard, responded: “The idea of Mayor Daley taking the time to make a round of phone calls to somehow hurt a candidate is absurd. I’ve worked closely with him for nearly 15 years and have never known him to do such a thing. It is so ridiculous it causes you to wonder what the motivation for this kind of storytelling is.”]

CF: When was the last time you talked to Carol Moseley Braun? Does she plan another political race?
TC:
I called her today. She wants to sit down and talk to me. I think she’s perplexed about her role in public life. She wants to know how she stays politically alive. How can she come back? She wants to understand fully what happened—she doesn’t understand yet.

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3 years ago
Posted by TBScreen

I understand! And the Chicago voters understood too. Carol Braun doesn't understand because she has a big ego when she was on top (in politics). Firstly, Ms Braun won her Senator's seat under a cloud of financial suspicion. The world has changed alot since she ran. Ms. Braun began a tea busiiness and forgot about her "public." Nowadays the youth of this country is taking the reigns. If you're older than 50 the youth is not paying attention, unless your very progressive. You can't run a campaign like you did when Harold Washington was alive. Nobody wants to hear it anymore. I remember when Ms. Braun ran for President, well when she quit, she didn't do it at the campaign office; she went down to the southern community of Illinois, I think Dekalb or Peoria somewhere (with the money she paid herself) and told us that she quit. She had just made a big appearance at John Stronger Jr.'s headquarters. They tried to rally behind her and she quit. She's no different that former governor (and quitter) Sarah Palin. No one respects that. I don't know if Ms. Braun can make a comeback--what is she coming back to? People have moved on from the Danny Davis's, Bobby Rush's, Jesse Jackson Sr., of the Southside. They haven't traveled, they are just south side resident's that really haven't grown with the times. Lastly, about Rahm Emanuel; he looks healthy, he has already proven that he is pro-active with the possibilities of the Internet, he not once mentioned that he is the first Jewish person elected here. He is a class-act.
Ms. Braun has work to do. She looks 70, and has kept up with the changes that Chicago and its citizens have gone through.
I remember John Rodgers coming to her Record of Deeds office all of the time. It's unfortunate but I believe there is no place for Ms. Braun in politics anymore.

3 years ago
Posted by KINCAID

Thie pretty much confirms the obvious: Mosely-Braun is clueless. She should mosey along.

3 years ago
Posted by Dameocrat

So we are supposed to believe this guy was actually on Carols side at one point after he name calls her. This sort of bullying and personal attacks is going to catch up with you machine dems. I supported Del Valle and while he did not win either, it is clear that 45% of the public that has not be bullied against voting in Chicago are already against you. What if they did start voting?

3 years ago
Posted by Dameocrat

So we are supposed to believe this guy was actually on Carols side at one point after he name calls her. This sort of bullying and personal attacks is going to catch up with you machine dems. I supported Del Valle and while he did not win either, it is clear that 45% of the public that has not be bullied against voting in Chicago are already against you. What if they did start voting?

3 years ago
Posted by pol&pers

CMB has no future in politics other than in a volunteer capacity. She burned her future with her behavior as a Senator and her turn as mayoral candidate simply confirmed she hasn't changed.

3 years ago
Posted by 2savy

She wants to know how to stay politically alive? Is she kidding? Even black voters are on to her self-serving schtick by now. Oh, we'll be hearing more about Carol, but not for political reasons. The next time she'll get some ink will be for the foreclosure of that upside-down house of hers and the bankruptcy of her "business." Now there's something we could build a consensus on.

3 years ago
Posted by noalternative

It is really bizarre how you act like the meer act of running against the chosen one Rahm is tantamount to babykilling with the machine dems. Everyone can tell it is astroturf by now.

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