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President Obama stepped before the nation's big-city mayors last week and really let them have it about the billions and billions of federal stimulus dollars he's sending their way.
They'd better spend it wisely, prudently and efficiently, he warned--or else.
"The American people are watching," President Obama said before a meeting on Friday of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. "They need this plan to work. They expect to see the money that they've earned--they've worked so hard to earn--spent in its intended purpose without waste, without inefficiency, without fraud."
In the audience was our own Mayor Richard Daley, who must have had to struggle to keep from laughing.
Mayor Daley has been wasting taxpayer dollars for years, yet Obama never had much to say about it. In fact, I think the reason Obama made it out of Chicago to become president is precisely because he figured out there was nothing to gain in speaking out against City Hall waste.
I wonder which White House aide's going to get the dubious task of having to telling Mayor Daley he's wasting his federal stimulus dollars: David Axelrod (who used to write the mayor's speeches), Valerie Jarett (who used to run his planning department), or Rahm Emanuel (who used to raise money for him)?
As a matter of fact, President Obama need not wait to see if Daley wastes the stimulus money--he's free to speak out against the profligate O'Hare expansion plan right now. And speaking of waste and inefficiency, President Obama might want to let the world know that he won't be allowing Daley to spend any of that stimulus on the Olympics.
Better late than never.