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Carol Felsenthal
On politics

Rahm Is Hosting the “Hot Party” at the DNC Tomorrow Night

Is Rahm making a comeback? Maybe; he’s hosting the buzziest party in Philly.

Rahm Emanuel dances in happier times, shortly after winning his election in 2011.  Photo: Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune

Unlike fellow mayors from New York and Baltimore, who were all over opening day at the Democratic National Convention floor yesterday, Rahm Emanuel was at home in Chicago.  He remains home in Chicago today.

Tomorrow he heads to Philadelphia. His plummeting popularity in the wake of the suspiciously delayed release of the Laquan McDonald video has transformed him from the life of the party to the sidelined man.

Signs that he’s attempting a comeback are popping up; not the least of which is scheduled for tomorrow night at Philadelphia’s World Café.

During Barack Obama’s second inauguration in January 2013, when Rahm was still the nation’s celebrity mayor and a late night talk show star, he threw a party in D.C. after “two official, formal, fusty inaugural balls.” Billed as a “Chicago-style afterhours” called the “Midnight Underground,” the festivities were, as we headlined at the time, “the coolest-sounding inauguration party of all.” Special guests included Chicago guys Keb’ Mo’, Buddy Guy, and Ronnie Baker Brooks.  The party started at 11pm and went until 3 the next morning and Rahm reportedly partied until the early hours.

It was a huge success.

Can he repeat that feat? Will he even attend his own party this time around?

One connected Chicagoan who attended the ’13 event told me by phone from Philadelphia that the party tomorrow night “is the buzz, everyone wants to go to it. It’s the hot party.

“I heard that the talent is a Chicago bus driver,” he tells me—must be bluesman Toronzo Cannon.

My source mentioned that, given the hard times that have beset Emanuel, “It’s also a supportive thing; people being supportive.”

Like the ’13 event, invites go to those who give sufficient money to the Democrats. There’s one indication that this year’s version will be a bit toned down—the World Café lists a private event Wednesday from 4 to 6 p.m., though my source says it doesn’t begin until the convention adjourns for the night.

He promised a post-mortem on Thursday morning, so check back for a review of the party—and its host.

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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