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Surge Desk

Rahm Emanuel Booted From Chicago Ballot: Is He the New Wyclef Jean?

Jan 24, 2011 – 2:26 PM
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Torie Bosch Contributor

If misery loves company, Rahm Emanuel might want to give Wyclef Jean a call.

As Surge Desk readers are well aware, Emanuel, President Barack Obama's former chief of staff, is running for mayor of Chicago. At least, he was, anyway. Today, an Illinois appellate court ruled that Emanuel doesn't meet the residency requirements to run for office.

Emanuel's campaign said it will appeal the matter to the Illinois Supreme Court, adding another chapter to the ongoing residency battle. But if Emanuel's mayoral ambitions are eventually thwarted by a pesky matter like a ZIP code, he may want to seek words of comfort from Wyclef Jean.

After the Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake devastated Haiti, the hip-hop artist wanted to run for the presidency of his homeland, only to be rebuffed because he hadn't spent enough time in the country.

It may seem like Emanuel and Jean don't have much in common. But Surge Desk looked into the matter and discovered that the two aren't so different after all.

Who knows, maybe they'll even want to join forces and campaign together. That is, if they can find a place they can both call home -- and meet its residency requirements.

Here's what the two men share.

A love of music and rhythm
Jean, of course, is known for his blockbuster music career, including stints with the Fugees and as a solo artist. But did you know that Emanuel was, as a child and teen, a dedicated ballet dancer?

Famous enemies
Jean has tangled publicly with Sean Penn (Penn said he'd spent more time in Haiti than Jean; Jean fired back that Penn was "too busy sniffing cocaine" to realize Jean was in the country). Rahm's prominent enemies and critics include Howard Dean and Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu.

Rumors of misbehavior
According to legend, Emanuel once famously mailed a pollster a dead fish. Jean, meanwhile, has come under fire for the management of his charity Yele Haiti.

Mangled hands
Emanuel lost the tip of a finger in a childhood accident, while Jean once broke his hand in a Christmas tree-related mishap.

Clinton connections
Emanuel worked in the Clinton White House (and the former President Bill Clinton campaigned for him earlier this year). Jean and Clinton toured Haiti together after the earthquake.

You can also see Jean making Clinton dance here:

More Surge Desk coverage:
Andy Samberg to Headline Fundraiser for Rahm Emanuel

Wyclef Jean Hospitalized for Exhaustion

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Filed under: Nation, Politics, Entertainment, Surge Desk