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Hillary Rodham Clinton takes part in special Chicago Ideas Week event with mayor

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Hillary Rodham Clinton concluded her two-day visit to her hometown of Chicago by participating in a question-and-answer session at Chicago Ideas Week with Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Former Secretary of State Clinton appeared at the Harris Theater in the Loop to promote her memoir Hard Choices.

Clinton’s sit-down with Mayor Emanuel followed Tuesday’s speech to 4,000 members of the Food Marketing Institute and United Fresh Produce Association at the Arie Crown Theater in the labyrinthine McCormick Place. Clinton made clear from the get-go that she remains undecided on another possible presidential bid, merely commenting that anyone seeking election in 2016 should be held to a “very high standard” of looking to the future rather than engaging in pointless negative attacks.

Topics for discussion at this widely attended speech included the typical menu of political entrees: infighting and partisanship, gridlock in Congress, growing income inequality, and the 2012 Benghazi attacks. Clinton’s opinions on immigration received applause from the audience, not unexpectedly when one considers the vital role that immigrants play in the agricultural industry.

Today, Mayor Emanuel interviewed Clinton about such diverse personal subjects as her mother’s childhood and the status of family finances when her husband, former President Bill Clinton, completed his White House term. On a more political note, the old friends discussed income inequality and the economic challenges facing America’s middle class.

Clinton also again discussed the hot button topic of immigration reform. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s defeat to Tea Party candidate Dave Brat in Tuesday’s Virginia primary election has raised this issue to the surface once more, as some attribute Cantor’s upheaval to his more liberal opinions on immigration. Without taking any definitive stance on such controversial immigration issues as amnesty or the path to citizenship, Clinton stated, “We have to focus on creating more jobs and be welcoming to immigrants.”

While Emanuel’s choice of talking points may have hinted at Clinton’s possible agenda in an almost eternally undetermined 2016 presidential run, the mayor avoided asking outright whether Clinton would run for that office again. Such a question may have been perceived not only as cliché but also as self-serving, as Clinton and Mayor Emanuel have maintained a lengthy friendship and working relationship. Clinton previously defended the mayor’s aggressive personality when he served as a senior aide to President Clinton. Speculators might assume that there may be a place for the mayor in yet another Clinton administration.

Full coverage of Clinton’s visit and her appearances can be found at the Chicago Tribune (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/politics/clout/chi-emanuel-to-question-clinton-today-at-loop-event-20140610,0,5584785.story), NBC Chicago (http://www.nbcchicago.com/blogs/ward-room/hillary-clinton-rahm-emanuel-chicago-ideas-262697671.html), and Chicago Tonight (http://chicagotonight.wttw.com/2014/06/11/hillary-clinton-visits-chicago).

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