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Bruce Rauner Buys Rahm Emanuel a Dead Fish As Budget Battle Flounders

By Alex Nitkin | October 30, 2015 1:04pm | Updated on October 30, 2015 4:38pm
"I'm very fond of the mayor, and he'll appreciate the gift as only I think he can," Rauner said.
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DNAinfo/Alex Nitkin

LAKEVIEW — The once-friendly relationship between Rahm Emanuel and Bruce Rauner apparently now sleeps with the fishes, at least publicly.

In the latest lob of back-and-forth insults between Gov. Rauner and Mayor Emanuel, the governor stopped by Paulina Market, 3501 N. Lincoln Ave., to buy dead fish he vowed to send to the mayor.

It's a jab at the old story of Emanuel sending a dead fish to a pollster he was unhappy with in 1988. And that was a play off a scene in "The Godfather" when the Corleone family was sent a dead fish as a message that their enforcer, Luca Brasi, was dead and "sleeps with the fishes."

On Friday, Rauner said he hoped two plastic-wrapped tuna steaks would send a message, especially with regard to this week's landmark property tax hike.

"This mayor has put in the biggest tax hike in Chicago's history with no structural reform," Rauner said. "I understand why he's sensitive right now — he's got a lot of angry constituents, and they're angry for good reason."

Emanuel and Rauner were friends long before Emanuel was elected mayor and Rauner governor. Rauner helped Emanuel earn millions in the private sector — and the two have vacationed together, famously being photographed carrying an expensive bottle of wine in California.

Now, though, Emanuel is looking for state help on the city's pension problem — assistance Rauner is reluctant to do unless the mayor helps the governor in an effort to reduce the power of unions.

Mark Konkol and Bill Cameron discuss the mayor's tactics:

But amid a stalemate in Springfield that's kept the state from passing its long-overdue 2016 budget, Emanuel turned up the heat on anti-Rauner rhetoric.

“I would just say this to the governor and the governor’s office: You’re 120 days behind budget, six billion dollars and counting in not paying bills," Emanuel said at an unrelated event Friday morning. "Stop name-calling and just do your job.”

Hours earlier, Rauner had cited the hike as evidence that Emanuel is "just another tax-and-spend politician."

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