Politics

Moseley Braun to Watkins: 'You were on crack'

Monday, January 31, 2011

All of the Chicago mayoral hopefuls campaigned Sunday, but one candidate's remarks had another candidate angry.

A two-hour forum on the issues may have been overshadowed by a two-minute exchange by the two women in the race.

After being attacked by Patricia Van Pelt-Watkins, Carol Moseley Braun called Watkins a drug addict.

Police were called in to manage protesters who showed up at a Moseley Braun West Side campaign stop Sunday night.

Supporters of mayoral hopeful Watkins were not about to let Moseley Braun off the hook for a heated exchange that took place earlier at a South Side candidates forum.

Watkins fired the first shot accusing Moseley Braun of leaving public life for several years.

"I did not even know the woman lived in the city of Chicago because I haven't heard her voice on the street," Watkins said.

"Patricia, just because you didn't know who I was for the last seven years is because you were on crack," Moseley Braun said.

While Watkins admits she was a drug addict at 19, she says she was never addicted to crack.

"She could be sued for slander," Watkins said.

Even with the threat of a lawsuit, Moseley Braun is not apologizing for her remarks.

"When someone slaps you like that then you have to tell the truth and that is what I did," Moseley Braun said.

On the eve of early voting, other candidates say personal attacks have no place in mayoral politics.

"It discourages voters. That's the important thing. We want voters to be encouraged. This is a process that is good for everybody," said mayoral candidate William "Dock" Walls.

Although attacking the front runner seems to be acceptable, Rahm Emanuel was a no-show at Sunday's forum at Trinity United Church of Christ. Emanuel has skipped several community forums.

"For a candidate to just assume that because he can raise $12 million, $15 million, all he has to do is put TV ads up, voters are going to flock to him, is just wrong," said mayoral candidate Miguel del Valle.

On Sunday night, Emanuel added more to his war chest with a North Side fundraiser featuring the band Wilco's lead singer Jeff Tweedy.

"I'm from the neighborhoods of Chicago. I don't have Wilco or movie stars, these Wall Street bankers. I'm the underdog here. I'm fighting like an underdog," said mayoral candidate Gery Chico.

The self-proclaimed underdog, Chico spent much of his day attacking Emanuel for his tax plan that calls for a 20 percent sales tax cut paid for by a tax increase on luxury services.

"A working mother today, single mom or working class family is paying one of the highest sales taxes in the country. You want the limo? You're going to pay," Emanuel said.

Emanuel did not attend Sunday afternoon's forum and many others because he says he talks directly with Chicagoans where they live and work.

Emanuel's campaign says he held over 200 visits in neighborhoods.

Emanuel was also endorsed by the Chicago Sun Times Sunday.

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