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Political Heavyweights May Be Forming Anti-Rahm Alliance

CHICAGO (CBS) - Look out for the race for mayor of Chicago. It's getting tougher sooner than expected. Some heavyweights in Chicago politics seem to be ganging up on one of the candidates aiming to replace Mayor Richard M. Daley, a guy they want to knock out of the race.

They're quiet about it, but are talking to CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine, who says it all comes down to three words: "Anybody but Rahm."

It started in City Council where aldermen balked at electing another dominant mayor. But it's now spread to the point where it's leading to some unprecedented alliances.

It was an unusual gathering of Chicago's most powerful Latino and African-American leaders at a West Side restaurant for breakfast Wednesday morning.

"It's a group of friends just getting together to talk about our city," said Ald. Ricardo Munoz.

Right. And when general managers meet, they don't talk trades.

"Not a discussion to try to heal something that was bad, something that was in trouble prior to this," said Ald. Ed Smith. "But we just thought we needed to talk about some pretty important things."

Ald. Davis and Congressman Luis Gutierrez seemed joined at the hip Wednesday. They were also with Chicago Teachers Union officials, blasting the school board for not rehiring -- with the federal money it got -- the same teachers it had laid off.

"These teachers need to get back to work right away," said Gutierrez.

The school board claims some of the teachers weren't needed; others weren't qualified.

At the same time, Rahm Emanuel was touring charter schools on the Southwest Side, praising the dedication of non-union teachers and their reaching out to parents.

"Parental participation is mandatory," Emanuel said. "Every parent has to pick up report cards, attend parent-teacher conferences, they're at 100 percent participation. And it's clear once you get parents and teachers forming a partnership, the potential of those children are unlimited."

The symbolism of Emanuel with charter school teachers and Gutierrez with the union, was obvious. So was the response of sometimes Emanuel-critic Gutierrez.

"I believe I am a good coalition builder," said Gutierrez. "I hope to be part of a coalition that elects the next mayor of the city of Chicago. I certainly want to participate in the creation of such a coalition."

Gutierrez, who last week declined to enter the mayoral race, citing his dedication to immigration reform, could end up having as much influence as a non-candidate as he might have had if running himself.

CBS 2 Political Producer Ed Marshall contributed to this report.

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