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Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney Walks Back Comments After Saying He'll 'Be Happy' When He Is No Longer Mayor

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- We're now hearing directly from Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney for the first time since his public comments earlier this week in which he stated that he'll "be happy" when he is no longer mayor.

On Wednesday, the mayor appeared sincere in his words and insisted he had a moment of frustration when he made those controversial comments.

"I'm incredibly grateful to be mayor of the great city and for the people who elected me to lead," Kenney said.

Kenney addressed the city Wednesday, more than 36 hours after he made these remarks following the shots fired by the Ben Franklin Parkway Monday night.

"I'm waiting for something bad to happen all the time. So I'll be happy when I'm not here, when I'm not mayor, and I can enjoy some stuff," Kenney said.

Kenney had a different attitude Wednesday.

"What I was getting at was the collective weight of the issues in our city and nation that have wrought collective trauma," Kenney said. "There has been so much tragedy in this country as of late and many of us are dealing with the trauma and our feelings of frustration, anger and deep sadness about the issues plaguing our society."

But many Philadelphians CBS3 talked to say the mayor needs to show better leadership.

"You're saying you gave up," a woman said.

"I know it's hard and he's getting older, but if he can't do it, pass it on to the next person," Bernadette Bowden said.

With about 18 months left in his term, why should Philadelphia trust Kenney to keep the job?

"Because I got elected with 80% of the vote and I work hard every single day," he said. "I put my heart and soul into this job. I care about people. And we're trying to do positive things at the time the same time keeping people safe. And I will continue to do that until my last day in office."

The mayor also emphasized he takes his job seriously.

"As mayor, I feel personally responsible for the well-being of every Philadelphian and it's a weight I carry with me every day, every waking moment. I know far too many residents worry about their safety and their loved ones also," Kenney said. "Our residents deserve to feel safe in our city and our traditions cannot and will not be ruined by the scourge of gun violence. I love our city and as mayor, there is nothing more I want than help solve this problem and keep residents and visitors safe,"

Kenney also reiterated the state and the country needs what he calls commonsense gun laws to keep illegal guns out of the hands of criminals.

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