Braun apologizes for crack comment

Feb. 2, 2011 at 11:48 AM
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CHICAGO, Feb. 2 (UPI) -- Former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun has apologized to fellow Chicago mayoral candidate Patricia Van Pelt Watkins for calling her a crack addict.

"I want to apologize to her, to the congregations and members of Trinity United Church (where a candidates forum was conducted) and to all of the families and friends of those who are, or have been caught up in the tragedy of drug use," Braun said Tuesday during a campaign event.

While accepting Braun's apology, Watkins said the former senator "should seek sensitivity counseling and make restitution by volunteering at a recovery house as soon as possible," the Chicago Sun-Times reported Wednesday.

The sniping began Sunday when Watkins said she "didn't even know the woman lived in the city" because Braun "hasn't been around for 20 years," drawing Braun's retort that Watkins "did not know where I was for the last 20 years is because you were strung out on crack."

Watkins admitted she had a drug problem, but never used crack and has been clean for 32 years.

Elsewhere, Gery Chico said a sales tax break for working families promised by front-runner Rahm Emanuel would cost $120 million a year, the Sun-Times reported.

Emanuel said he wants to lower the Chicago sales tax from 9.25 percent to 9 percent to provide relief of $200 per family for working families. The former White House chief of staff said he would broaden the sales tax to services not now covered, generating about $45 million in additional revenue.

With 600,000 working families in Chicago, the sales tax relief would cost $120 million, Chico said.

Emanuel said the $200-per-family figure consists of several tax breaks Emanuel proposes. The campaign said the sales tax proposal would cost $46 million.

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