CHICAGO — When Chicago last hosted the Democratic National Convention in 1996, Mayor Richard M. Daley played the role of deep-pocketed Johnny Appleseed.

He went on a patented Daley planting spree, larding the West Loop and downtown with trees and potted flowers as part of an expensive, targeted beautification project aimed at showing a particular version of a particular part of the city to national media and delegates in town to nominate President Bill Clinton for reelection.

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