Clinton Voices Confidence in Rahm Emanuel as Chicago Mayor

In Iowa, the Democratic front-runner also called for a deeper look into the nation's visa waiver program following the shootings in San Bernardino.

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Photographer: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Hillary Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, said she still has confidence in the embattled mayor of the city where she was born: Rahm Emanuel of Chicago.

"I do," Clinton told reporters Friday evening in Fort Dodge, Iowa. "He loves Chicago and I'm confident that he's going to do everything he can to get to the bottom of these issues and take whatever measures are necessary to remedy them."

Earlier this week, Clinton called for an independent federal inquiry into the Chicago Police Department's tactics following the shooting death of black teenager Laquan McDonald by a white police officer. That position had initially puts her at odds with Emanuel, until he relented.

The city has been engulfed in turmoil following the release last week of a video showing the teenager being shot at repeatedly last year, with many of the bullets unleashed after he was already on the ground.

After San Bernardino

Clinton also said she's open to changes in the nation's visa waiver program, following this week's shooting rampage in California that is being investigated as an "act of terrorism" by the FBI. One of the shooters was allowed to enter the U.S. on a waiver.

"I agree with the White House and the Democrats in the Congress who are advocating we take a hard look at the visa waiver program," she said. "She was here because she had married an American citizen, and I well remember that the people who flew into the World Trade Center were here on visas, some of which had expired."

She said she had no regrets about calling for greater gun restrictions immediately after the shootings in California.

"We don't know how they got that arsenal inside their house," she said. "I don't see any conflict at all between going after the terrorists with everything we've got, better coordination from local law enforcement to federal to international, you know, sources that we can put to work and doing more on gun safety measures."

2016 Crossroads

In a scheduling coincidence, Clinton was one of three presidential candidates on Friday to visit Fort Dodge, population 24,594. The confluence showcased the growing intensity of Iowa campaigning, with the first-in-the-nation caucuses now less than two months away.

The surrounding county, Webster, generated just 1,170 Republican votes in 2012 and 3,200 Democratic votes in the 2008 caucuses, the two most recently contested caucuses for each party. Yet there they were—Clinton, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky. Clinton and Christie spoke within an hour of each other.

Earlier in the day, Christie criticized Paul and Senator Ted Cruz of Texas for their votes to curtail the National Security Agency's metadata collection program, saying they made the U.S. "weaker" and "more vulnerable" to attack.

"I wonder if they'd change their votes now," he said during a speech to the Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives annual meeting in West Des Moines. "I wonder if the political soup du jour that they engaged in will be something that they regret."

Christie sought to contrast his experience as a former federal prosecutor and as a state executive with those of senators running for the White House. "I knew that I couldn't say that I was just one of 100," he said. "I was the one that was going to be held accountable for those decisions."

The governor also used an Iowa-friendly comparison—a pickup truck—as he suggested the newest and flashiest candidates aren't necessarily the ones the voters should pick.

"Then, you get stuck in the mud," he said. "It's never been in the mud before, and then you're sitting in that truck, trying to get out of the mud and you're saying to yourself, damn, man, I wish I had that old truck back. That old truck knew how to get out of the mud. It always got me out of the mud."

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