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Clinton Comes Out, Gloves Come Off

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Former President Bill Clinton, left, appears at a rally for Chicago mayoral candidate and former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2011, in Chicago. Emanuel is vying to succeed the retiring Mayor Richard Daley. The election is Feb. 22. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)

The effort to endear Emanuel to Chicago's powerful minority voting block was pretty easy to see, even though it was never spoken. Of all the speakers at Emanuel's campaign rally in Chicago's cultural center, all but two of them were black: Rahm Emanuel and Bill Clinton.

Clinton, of course, once wore the moniker of America's First Black President. Without a formal headcount, most of the people in the room appeared to be either Black or Hispanic. That last point is to the great frustration of Emanuel's opponents.

Congressman Danny Davis, before he dropped out of the race, threatened to turn Chicago's black voters against Clinton if he supported Rahm. "Give us a break," Davis told me. "Let this thing play out and everything is going to be cool."

Davis left dropped out of the campaign and left Carol Moseley Braun to fight what is shaping up as a losing battle with Rahm for the Black vote.

Clinton never dipped his toes into any of the waters of ethnic dialogue. Instead, he went after the criticism that Emanuel is a Chicago outsider and a beltway insider. The former President read from his own memoir, in which he wrote that Rahm thought Chicago should be Capitol of the world. Then said he wrote that, "Before anyone thought to say he [Rahm] would be an outsider in Chicago."

Clinton also pointed out that Emanuel was one of the few staffers who had the boldness to speak his mind to the president. "He will be fearlessly honest with you," said Clinton.

On that point, Emanuel's opponents opened fire with one of the most aggressive attack ads campaign this mayoral race has seen thus far. "Time for Emanuel to tell the "hard truth' is the title of Mayoral candidate Gery Chico's new effort. It features information pulled from a 2009 Chicago Tribune investigation stating that Emanuel was appointed to a $320,000 a year job at mortgage giant Freddie Mac "that required little effort."

The investigation determined that, on Emanuel's watch, a scheme was hatched to cook the books at Freddie Mac, making the company seem profitable for years to come, and pumping up executive bonuses. The article also claims while Emanuel was on the board, Freddie Mac engaged in illegal fundraising which led to a record $3.8 Million dollar fine.

"When Rahm Emanuel had the chance to blow the whistle on corrupt activity taking place on the Freddie Mac board, he sat on his hands, looked the other way and took the cash," Chico says in the ad. "It was a character test and Rahm failed."

Michael Tobin joined FOX News Channel (FNC) in 2001 and currently serves as a Chicago-based correspondent.