Chicago Mayor Emanuel Shortens Trip to Charlotte for DNC

Mayor to host watch party for campaign staffers who could not make it to Charlotte. ChicagoGOP had called for Emanuel to address issues at home.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Monday abruptly altered his plans to attend the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.

Instead of being at the convention Tuesday through Friday, as originally planned, the mayor will fly to Charlotte on Tuesday and return on Wednesday.

Emanuel speaks to delegates in Charlotte on Tuesday night, the first night of the convention.

Officially, however, the change of plans has nothing to do with the bloodshed on the city's streets and an impending teachers strike.

"The Obama Campaign asked him to host a watch party for campaign staffers who could not make it to Charlotte to watch the president's speech and he agreed," said the mayor's communications director, Sarah Hamilton.

Chicago Republican Party officials on Sunday called for Emanuel to skip the Charlotte trip and deal with issues at home. The ChicagoGOP said keeping the speech on his schedule means Emanuel is "more focused on criticizing Mitt Romney than focusing on his constituents."

"While violence rages in the streets of several Chicago neighborhoods and teachers threaten a walkout, our Mayor is paying attention to the wrong things," read a statement.

Emanuel appeared Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press" and insisted the city is not in a crisis.

"We're making efforts I think to reduce the gang conflict, because it's gang-on-gang issues," Emanuel said of a spike in Chicago shootings. "It doesn't affect the whole city, but anywhere it happens we're going to be dealing with it."

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