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Chicago Mayoral Debate: Candidates Talk Schools, Crime And More

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Just an hour after the Illinois Supreme Court decided that Rahm Emanuel can run for mayor, he joined U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun, former Chicago Board of Education President Gery Chico and City Clerk Miguel del Valle in a televised debate.

We are live blogging the debate below. Let us know what you think of the debate in the comments!

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When asked to sum up their positions in one minute, the candidates all touched on similar issues.

Rahm Emanuel: "When you get to a fork in the road, take it," Emanuel says. He added that the city needs someone who has the strength, determination and "grit" to make big changes. Says he is willing to take on special interests, and fight for what the city needs.

Gery Chico: "Our problems are large, but I'm very optimistic." Chico boasts experience in city government and his work to help balance 16 city budgets. Said that as mayor, he would focus on good jobs, public safety and quality education.

Carol Moseley Braun: "I love this city. This is my home." Every neighborhood matters. Says she has "always been a fighter" and would fight to make neighborhoods safer and stronger.

Miguel del Valle: "Chicago is ready for reform...the neighborhoods are calling out for it." He stressed eliminating patronage and waste. Says he would fix the "oppressive climate" and "cloud" that hangs over the city. He said if voters want someone who will pander to special interests and big money, he is not their man.

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Carol Moseley Braun and Rahm Emanuel differ on the issue of charter schools. Emanuel supports expanding them, Braun says the focus should remain on neighborhood schools. Her stance is in line with the Chicago Teacher's Union.

Gery Chico says the Chicago Public Schools have lose their momentum.

"Public education is what made this country strong," Braun said. "The selective enrollment schools do cherry pick..We have to have a balance in a way we approach these issues."

Says the private sector should not be the answer to the city's failing public schools.

Miguel del Valle said neighborhood schools need to be protected.

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Del Valle said he has avoided taking campaign contributions from businesses who have city contracts and criticized Emanuel and Chico for their millions.

Del Valle said he's focusing on talking to voters, not on "fancy 30-second spots. Says he is campaigning "the old-fashioned way" and putting "the people back into the definition of a candidate."

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A moderator from the Chicago Tribune grilled Rahm Emanuel about his role at Freddie Mac.

He said he was not not on the audit committee at Freddie Mac, and defended the more than 0,000 salary he made while working there.

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Carol Moseley Braun and Rahm Emanuel explain their late taxes:

Braun says she was "trying to keep a small business going that was a start-up at the start of the recession."

Emanuel said he was late when he moved to Washington to serve as President Obama's chief of staff.

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Gery Chico is the only candidate who has hired a cop, Carol Moseley Braun is the only candidate who has started a small business. According to them.

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Says he would call in grocery store, big box store owners within his first few months in office to address the city's food deserts.

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Gery Chico says he is the only one who has helped hire a police officer out of all the candidates. Calls public safety the number one issue among Chicagoans. Calls police levels "dangerously low."

Carol Moseley Braun: "Gary, you can't take credit for what Mayor Daley did."

Miguel del Valle: "This is not just about more police officers, this is about building communities."

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Calls implementation of revenue laws "oppressive." Says city gives residents the cold shoulder.

"We cannot continue to raise revenue on the backs of the middle class and poor people... It's tough out there...Government has to change."

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...But doesn't explain how the city would come up with more than one billion dollars to pay this back.

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Rahm proposes a 20 percent reduction in city sales tax.

"I don't think it's fair that a single mother with two kids who is trying to buy school supplies [should pay a 20 percent sales tax] when people who have charter planes, private planes, don't pay...It's time to give working families a 20 percent sales tax."

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"We have to put what we have to better use." Says doing a better job on administration would save the city million.

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Says "big fat contracts" for politically-connected people must stop.

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Carol Moseley Braun: "Nothing has changed...we're all still in this."

Gery Chico says he's all for ballot access.

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