Chicago Candidates Debate Whether One is a Crack Head or The Other is a Carpetbagger

Sometimes I really miss Chicago. While other cities have mayoral debates over taxes and teachers, Chicago’s debate at the Trinity United Church of Christ recently turned on whether one candidate is a crackhead. The video below shows an exchange between Mayoral candidate Carol Moseley Braun and Patricia Van Pelt-Watkins where Watkins accuses Braun of disappearing for the last few years while Braun accuses her of being in a narcotic haze.

The exchange began with Watkins directly confronting Braun on the fact that she has not been seen in Chicago since she left the United States Senate: “We haven’t seen her. We haven’t heard from her. With all the violence running rampant in our streets, I didn’t even know the woman lived in the city of Chicago.” Braun jumped at the bait and responded:

“Patricia, the reason you didn’t know where I was the last 20 years is because you were strung out on crack . . . I was not strung out on crack. I don’t have a record,” Braun said. “I in fact have spent years of my life working and fighting for this community as the only black United States senator from 1992 to 1998, as the only ambassador. So I don’t want to hear it from you, sweetie.”

I love the two other candidates between them staring at their hands. Braun at first did not apologize but finally relented and apologized . She coupled the apology with an announcement that she would be focusing on drug treatment issues on the campaign.

Watkins has admitted to being a drug addict in the past but has no criminal record. She also stressed (again in a unique moment of Chicago politics) that she was a cocaine user not a crack user.

Jonathan Turley

11 thoughts on “Chicago Candidates Debate Whether One is a Crack Head or The Other is a Carpetbagger

  1. I caught this own the news and as you said:

    “I love the two other candidates between them staring at their hands.”

    Their expressions seem to say,Nothing happening here!

  2. “She also stressed (again in a unique moment of Chicago politics) that she was a cocaine user not a crack user.”

    Image is everything:=)

  3. Sorry.

    I’m just laughing too hard at the spin control of “crack v. cocaine” to add any additional humor to the subject at nose, er, hand.

  4. It was a SNL type moment, but sadly, it was real life. I saw this on the local news and it was hilarious. Of course, I don’t live in the City so I can laugh!

  5. I watched with the sound off, the fellow next to Braun just stared, a statue, going to some happy place in his mind. That poor guy is a candidate for PTSD counseling.

    I don’t think someone who was a coke user for 20 years would necessarily be disqualified from public office. What have they done lately? She seems to have done good things with her life over the last several decades. When did past coke use become worse than the high crimes, misdemeanors, self-loathing duplicity and soulless chicanery of some of the politicians that have been elected and are currently serving on a national level?

  6. My reaction to that was, “Why would Ambassador Braun feel so insecure that she would go THERE?” Ms. Watkins is sooooo far down the rankings of candidates that she’s a total non-issue in terms of actual votes. (of course, Braun, Chico and del Valle are merely the 2nd tier – scrapping for 2nd place.) Sadly, the former senator is so skilled at shooting herself in the foot that she takes every opportunity to show off that skill in public.

    The actual interesting aspect of this is the following question: To what degree are Wallace and the other third-tier candidate, William “Dock” Walls III, actual self-driven/community-driven candidates, or are they primarily being propped up by one of the other candidates (and/or political “machine”)? Worth noting – Braun, Wallace and Walls are all ethnically “black.” There’s a grand tradition in Chicago (and American) politics of propping up various candidates to split ethnic voting groups…

  7. tomdarch,
    I think you touched on the reason why Braun went off on another female African-American candidate. She is concerned about splitting the vote. Unfortunately, I think Rahm is a shoe in at this point. Big dollars behind him and the court case actually got people feeling sorry for Rahm! I know it is hard to believe, but he came out of the residency case even sronger.

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