Speaking Monday at a panel kicking off Chicago Ideas Week at the Oriental Theatre, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel addressed the rapidly spreading Occupy Wall Street movement, and the local demonstrations it has inspired, including the well-attended Take Back Chicago rally happening concurrently, a half-mile away.
Emanuel struck a slightly less sympathetic note Monday than when he described the protesters' frustrations as "understandable" during his Sunday appearance on Meet the Press.
(Scroll down to watch highlights from Monday's panel.)
"Not that their solutions are solutions that I agree with ... but there’s a major economic restructure going on ... where the middle class are feeling an angst they’ve never felt," Emanuel told the panel's host, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman Monday, as reported by NBC Chicago.
"We as all public policy makers have to think about how we give a level of growth where people can achieve a level of success for themselves," the mayor, a former investment banker himself, continued.
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, who joined Emanuel and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg on the panel, said he was "OK with it because I think the country needs more passion and we need a big fight. We're basically stuck right now." Bloomberg has also voiced his support for Wall Street protesters on his home turf.
Also during the sold-out event, Emanuel took a jab at the federal government when he stated that they were lacking "an appreciation at the national level of what they make us go through to get the resources to achieve the mission," the Chicago Tribune reported.
Chicago magazine described Emanuel's performance in the panel as "off," and said he repeatedly referenced garbage collection in the city. When asked what excites him when he wakes up each morning, the mayor responded, "Garbage. I take it out everyday at home; now I also do it all over the city."
On Wednesday, Emanuel will unveil his first, much-anticipated city budget proposal, a budget rumored on Tuesday to cut library hours and increase fines for drunken driving and illegal gun toting citations.
WATCH Emanuel, Reed and Bloomberg discuss the pressures of leading their respective large cities:
View more videos at: http://nbcchicago.com.