On the eve of President Obama's 50th birthday, he was in his home town of Chicago, taking a respite from political battles at a fundraiser with some of his strongest supporters.
But a familiar face came to Obama's defense when a Republican presidential candidate took a potshot at him: Rahm Emanuel, his former Chief of Staff and the current mayor of Chicago.
As the president headed back to the city, Mitt Romney released a video entitled "Obama Isn't Working: Chicago." It showed the historic scene of his election-night speech in Grant Park, then cuts to scenes of various depressed-looking parts of Chicago plastered with facts about the city's struggling economy, concluding with the line that "Obama isn't working." It also plays audio of Obama saying, “If I don’t have this done in three years, then there’s going to be a one-term proposition."
Mayor Emanuel wasn't about to let Romney get away with an attack on his new city and his old boss at once, though. Instead, as the Chicago Sun-Times reports, Emanuel both stood behind Obama's record and went after Romney's.
“Because of the tough decisions the president made, discarding all the conventional wisdom that was then spewed around, 1.2 million people today have a job. He didn’t listen to conventional wisdom … drafted by … Mitt Romney," Emanuel said.
"And also," he added, "I’d just like to note to the [former] governor in case he needs a rendezvous with his record, when he was governor, Massachusetts was 47th out of 50 in job production. In case he forgot that, I’d like to remind him of that.”
FactCheck.org also takes issue with at least one part of the ad. Romney's spot claims that, three years after Obama's Grant Park speech, Chicago unemployment is up 48 percent. That is factually accurate, but quite misleading: much of that job loss happened between Election Night and Obama's inauguration. Unemployment is only up 26.7 percent since January of 2009 -- still a very high number, but not quite so staggering as Romney would suggest.
"Chicago's unemployment situation is bad," Scott Blackburn writes for FactCheck. "But even Obama's most ardent critics cannot fault him for job losses that occurred before he became president."
For his part, Obama defended the performance of his old employee, too, albeit in a somewhat more lighthearted manner.
The president told the crowd assembled for his fundraiser that he thought Emanuel was doing "a pretty good job" as Chicago mayor. Better yet, Obama joked, "as far as I can tell, he hasn't cursed in public yet."