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The governor’s new ad

Thursday, Sep 28, 2006

The governor’s campaign has uploaded his new TV ad to its website. I wrote a little about the spot earlier this week.

And here’s another new spot.

See lots more ads, interviews and raw footage by clicking the image below.

- Posted by Rich Miller   46 Comments      

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Thursday, Sep 28, 2006

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YouTube and Capitol Fax *** Updated x1 ***

Thursday, Sep 28, 2006

[Bumped up and updated]

My YouTube page is now up and running. The permalink is at the right.

I see Illinois-related videos quite often, so now I’ll just add ‘em to the YouTube page so you can see them, too.

You can see the page here, and if you’re already registered at YouTube, you can subscribe to the videos that I post here.

*** UPDATE *** I forgot to say that I have a few new videos on the “video log.” Congressman Jerry Weller and his Dem opponent speak at a candidates’ forum and are asked questions by the audience. [There are now more.]

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      

Question of the day

Thursday, Sep 28, 2006

We’ll use Stu Umholtz’s comments in the Peoria paper today to get things going.

Illinois lawmakers need to decide whether the state should resume executions because “we cannot simply allow the status quo to continue,” Stewart Umholtz, the Republican nominee for attorney general, said Wednesday.

Former Gov. George Ryan, a Republican, halted all executions in 2000 because of concerns about a flawed capital punishment system that sometimes put innocent people on death row. Just before leaving office in 2003, he emptied death row of more than 100 inmates and commuted their sentences to life in prison.

Ryan’s moratorium on executions has remained in effect during the tenure of Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

Umholtz said that as attorney general, he would advise the governor to lift the moratorium and review each death penalty case individually.

Should the moratorium be lifed? Explain.

- Posted by Rich Miller   28 Comments      

Madigan: Umholz has been “very nice”

Thursday, Sep 28, 2006

This little nugget was buried way down in the piece but is more than just a little bizarre.

During an appearance Wednesday in front of the Peoria Journal Star editorial board, [Attorney General Lisa] Madigan also was asked about her campaign’s investigation into [Republican opponent Stu] Umholtz’s office. This summer, a Democratic Party staffer requested documents from the Tazewell County state’s attorney’s office.

When asked what was found, Madigan shrugged her shoulders, smiled and said, “Stu’s been very nice, and we hope none of that has to be used.”

She declined to elaborate.

I wonder if Umholz realizes that Madigan’s statement makes him look like a tool.

- Posted by Rich Miller   13 Comments      

Daily Herald fact checks candidates

Thursday, Sep 28, 2006

The Daily Herald looks beyond the hot-button “old guard” patronage issues today and examines whether Todd Stroger and Tony Peraica are making valid claims. Here are two examples. There are more. Read the whole thing.

Todd Stroger claimed that “homeowners are going to pay higher taxes” if Tony Peraica is elected. It seemed a strange claim, given that Peraica, as a county commissioner, was at the forefront of beating back tax hike attempts by Todd Stroger’s father, John H. Stroger, when he was president.

The claim, it turns out, is based on a June interview Peraica did for WBBM’s At Issue, where he suggested altering the way properties are assessed. Currently, homes are assessed at 16 percent of market value while businesses are assessed at 33 percent. […]

During the debate, Tony Peraica claimed “our (Stroger and Peraica’s) views on abortion are identical.”

Not quite. Peraica is firmly opposed to abortion, while Stroger supports abortion rights. But Peraica vows that if elected, he will not change or restrict abortion in any way at county hospitals and clinics. Todd Stroger said that requires you to trust that Peraica won’t issue an executive order changing access to abortion, which is true.

This is very good reporting, but nothing like it is being done by anyone else in the county board president’s race.

- Posted by Rich Miller   27 Comments      

Roskam and Duckworth tee off at Trib “debate” *** Updated x2 ***

Thursday, Sep 28, 2006

Supposedly, Peter Roskam used the Tribune editorial board debate to back away from his “cut and run” comments he uttered at the last debate. But that isn’t in the Trib’s story.

Republican Peter Roskam and Democrat Tammy Duckworth disagreed Wednesday about everything from the Iraq war’s effect on national security to airport expansion, highlighting stark differences in their campaigns in the 6th Congressional District. […]

The candidates accused each other of overstepping with negative attacks in the hard-fought race for the west suburban congressional seat of retiring Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Ill.). […]

“I have a great deal of respect for her [military] service and I have a great deal of respect for her sacrifice, [but] I don’t sign on to the world view that she’s adopted that somehow it’s the United States that’s causing a jihadist mentality,” said Roskam, a state senator from Wheaton. “I don’t buy it and I don’t think the 6th District does either.”

Meanwhile, Bob Dole is forced to climb down a bit from effusive comments he made about Duckworth.

Former Republican presidential nominee Bob Dole took issue Wednesday with Democratic congressional candidate Tammy Duckworth’s use of his image and statements in a campaign flier.

The ad uses a Dole photo and quote from the March 2006 edition of Glamour magazine in which Dole said Duckworth will be “an excellent candidate for Congress.”

Dole, however, said he’s actually endorsing Duckworth’s 6th Congressional District foe.

“If Tammy is an excellent candidate, so is Peter Roskam,” Dole said in a statement. “I am supporting Peter Roskam.”

Bob Dole said “I”? He didn’t say “Bob Dole is supporting Pete Roskam… That’s his name, ‘Pete,’ whether he likes it or not, it’s ‘Pete’”?

And Rahm Emanuel lays out the national Democratic GOTV strategy.

Key to the Dems’ House strategy is picking up a hot political market segment — drop-off voters. They are sought-after micro- targets for Democrats in 2006. They are the voters who turned out in the 2004 presidential year but may well stay home in November.

“And the entire focus of our effort, God willing there are no reporters in here to make sure the NRCC [National Republican Congressional Committee] hears about it, and that means that is to focus on those people who do vote presidential but don’t vote in non-presidential years,'’ Emanuel said.

“And our entire resources of mail, telephone, door knocking and person-to-person contact is to that universe. . . . That’s what we are doing.'’

That isn’t gonna be easy.

*** UPDATE *** The video of the debate can be found here. The Tribune being the Tribune, there’s no way to download it.

*** UPDATE 2 *** Roskam said “cut and run” was “admittedly not” Duckworth’s position.

- Posted by Rich Miller   14 Comments      

Reform and Renewal keeps marching ahead *** Updated x1 ***

Thursday, Sep 28, 2006

I’m sure this has nothing to do with electoral politics at all.

The administration of Gov. Rod Blagojevich this month issued contracts to video and still photographers that could combine to cost the state $945,000 for the year beginning Oct. 1.

The contracts are split among eight businesses that were among 15 bidders for the work. The largest of the contracts is for up to $250,000 with Video Replay of Chicago - a company that already has been called out many times to tape the governor at public events. […]

The vendors, with their maximum yearly contract amounts, include: Video Replay of Chicago, $250,000; Tillis & Tillis of Chicago, $175,000; Plus One AV of Frankfort, $200,000; Imaginatics Inc. of Springfield, $175,000; Karen Hoyt Photography of Chicago, $75,000; Powell Photography of Chicago, $25,000; Squires Photography of Springfield, $25,000; and Heidi Brill of Chicago, $20,000. […]

News reporters control their own video. If they take it from the state without letting the public know its origin, they become just another part of the governor’s public relations network.


*** UPDATE *** Lee Newspapers also had a story today on this subject.

- Posted by Rich Miller   16 Comments      

Um, huh? *** Updated x1 ***

Thursday, Sep 28, 2006

Different outlets, very different coverage.

* Sun-Times‘ Oprah quote: “I would just like to say to our esteemed governor, you could sign autographs for me any time,” Winfrey said when she took to the lectern. “And I love your philosophy. Thank you so much for what you’re doing for the state.”

* AP’s Oprah quote: “You can sign autographs for me any time,” Winfrey told the governor. “I pay my taxes; I help you a lot.”

* Tribune’s Oprah quote: There wasn’t one. But the last graf was this:

But unlike Winfrey, Gov. Rod Blagojevich, State Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka and Mayor Richard Daley drew scant attention from onlookers

* ABC7:

The first debate in the race for governor in Illinois is scheduled for Monday night in Decatur. But the sparks were already flying Wednesday when the candidates crossed paths at a women’s business luncheon in Chicago [where Oprah spoke].

* Decatur Herald & Review on Monday’s first gubernatorial debate:

Green Party candidate Rich Whitney has not been invited to participate. Organizers said the event was scheduled before Whitney won a spot on the November ballot, and Blagojevich had said he wanted to debate Topinka alone.

Both campaigns have said they would like to hold 12 debates between Labor Day and Election Day, but scheduling conflicts have scuttled plans for at least two, including one in Southern Illinois.

* Post-Dispatch:

IRN, the Decatur debate host, declined to invite Whitney to Monday’s event after Blagojevich’s campaign said it didn’t want him there. “We agreed to debate Treasurer Topinka. We weren’t really interested in renegotiating” to include Whitney, said Blagojevich campaign spokeswoman Sheila Nix. […]

IRN News Director Jim Anderson said Blagojevich’s stance prompted debate organizers to ask Topinka’s campaign about possibly debating just Whitney, but that her campaign declined.

Whitney also has been barred, so far, from the Oct. 26 Chicago debate, said WTTW spokeswoman Mary Field. She said Whitney’s exclusion wasn’t requested by the campaigns, but was a decision of the television station, based on his low showing in polls. Field said the station could still reconsider inviting Whitney if his standing in polls improves.

* AP coverage of the debate:

The Associated Press on Wednesday withdrew its invitation to host a debate between the candidates, saying their inability to agree on a date HAD left the news organization without enough time to make arrangements for the event.

* Southern Illinoisan:

Rich Whitney may have surpassed several obstacles to get himself on the November ballot as the Green Party gubernatorial candidate.

But now, he may have a bit more campaigning to do in order to be included in the Southern Illinois gubernatorial debate tentatively scheduled for Sept. 26.

* And what the heck is this?

* Tribune:

Hoping to stimulate development and create jobs in Will County, Gov. Rod Blagojevich announced Wednesday an expansion of the Joliet Arsenal enterprise zone that will provide an industrial park developer tax incentives to convert 770 acres within the former arsenal site into a bulk distribution center.

*** UPDATE *** FYI, the hot tub couple were found not guilty.

- Posted by Rich Miller   34 Comments      

Morning shorts

Thursday, Sep 28, 2006

* “A prominent Arlington Heights landscaping firm could lose millions in Chicago Public Schools contracts after district officials alleged that the company used a black-owned trucking company as a front to secure work intended for minority-owned businesses, officials announced Wednesday… The company is owned by Aidan Monahan, who since 1999 has donated tens of thousands of dollars to Democratic Party officials, including Mayor Richard Daley and Gov. Rod Blagojevich.”

* Tribune’s letters to the editor section gets a bit bloggy.

* Topinka press release: What’s the Governor Hiding?

* Get your 2006 Election Day Advent Calendar

* Editorial: Chicago aldermen, it appears sometimes, sure have a funny idea about why businesses are in business. The latest evidence is the call by some aldermen to stop buying groceries at all Jewels, to protest the fact that not enough people are buying groceries at one Jewel.

* Another unannounced public appearance by Gov. Blagojevich: “Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was in Galena, Illinois Tuesday, hosting a “Going Global” roundtable discussion on foreign trade.”

* Birkett touring to close campaign gap

* Open road tolling lanes to debut at 2 more plazas

* 183rd’s new mission still unknown - Air Guard’s chief says many units in the same situation

- Posted by Rich Miller   4 Comments      

ABC7 catches up to YouTube story *** Updated x2 ***

Wednesday, Sep 27, 2006

Last week’s YouTube posting of the complete version of the disastrous Rod Blagojevich press conference was covered this week by ABC7 reporter Andy Shaw.

…But, now a site called, which was set up last year as a way for friends to share digital videos, is rapidly becoming a powerful tool in political campaigns.

The governor’s shaky performance last week in defending a $1,500 birthday gift to his daughter Amy from a friend whose wife got a state job was summarized on ABC7 by Paul Meincke and posted on the ABC7 website.

But now you can see the entire news conference, as recorded by the rival Topinka campaign, on the internet site called YouTube.

“You are seeing him stumbling around, not quite seeming to grasp the import of it and why it might resonate with voters,” said Steve Johnson, Tribune internet critic.

You are also seeing what the TV news failed to show you - the unpretty pictures.

After watching the full press conference, most would concur that other than his flip-flopping on what the $1500 check was really for, the way he answered the questions, or avoided answering them, or couldn’t answer them, was a major part of the story. But nobody showed that on TV.

Just as blogs are forcing newspapers to change, YouTube may one day force TV news to give us better stories. Good for Andy Shaw for covering this story and also for including some of the more uncomfortable moments of that press conference. Make sure to watch the video version of his story.

[Hat tip: Dan Curry]

*** UPDATE *** Speaking of YouTube, I’ve uploaded Tammy Duckworth’s new TV ad and posted it here.

*** UPDATE 2 *** In case you’re coming late to the game or just want to see the vids again, I’ve posted the full press conference and a couple of noteworthy outtakes below.

Video 1 from Governor Blagojevich’s Thursday press availability:

Video 2 from the governor’s Thursday press availability:

Brief excerpt: Gov. Blagojevich has serious difficulty answering questions on “the check” …

Another brief excerpt: Gov. Blagojevich spars with the Chicago Tribune reporter who broke the “check” story in the first place …

- Posted by Rich Miller   54 Comments      

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Wednesday, Sep 27, 2006

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Question of the day

Wednesday, Sep 27, 2006

Let’s use Kass’ latest column as a jumping-off point.

So there is a chance (however small) that in an ever-tightening race, Whitney could pull enough Democratic votes from Blagojevich to elect Topinka.

Let’s assume for the sake of argument that the governor’s race ends up as a close one.

Does Green Party candidate Rich Whitney hurt Gov. Blagojevich by taking away Democratic votes, or Treasurer Topinka by siphoning off votes that would have gone to her in a two-way race? Will it be a wash, or does his candidacy matter at all to the outcome of the race?

[I updated this with the bolded part because I inadvertently gave the Greens an opportunity to pontificate. Answer the question, please.]

- Posted by Rich Miller   47 Comments      

Cut and run? *** Updated x3 ***

Wednesday, Sep 27, 2006

Roskam backs away from the notion that Duckworth wants to “cut and run” from Iraq.

Calling it “crude” and “offensive,” Democrat Tammy Duckworth’s campaign team is accusing Republican congressional rival Peter Roskam of tarring the war veteran who lost her legs in combat with advocating a “cut-and-run” strategy in Iraq.

But Roskam’s camp fired back that the GOP state senator was being “misquoted” and “misrepresented” and Duckworth’s campaign was lying.

Here’s the context:

According to audio excerpts on WBBM’s Web site, Duckworth said a pullout of U.S. troops should be linked to ensuring that Iraqi police and national guard forces can defend the country. And she criticized Roskam for advocating the need to “finish well” in Iraq, suggesting it was meaningless.

“I do think finishing well is a notion that resonates well within the 6th Congressional District,” Roskam responded. “I’ve knocked on over 5,300 doors in this campaign and have heard a wide range of opinions about whether we should have gone, whether we shouldn’t have gone, and so forth. I’ll tell you what. The 6th Congressional District is not a cut-and-run district. It is not a timetable district.”

Those excerpts in the Sun-Times aren’t complete. The full exchange is here, so you can listen for yourself.

As usual, I’m more interested in the political angle, and the war of words will most likely be the subject of my Sun-Times column this Friday.

Also, Duckworth has a new TV ad airing.

For nearly a year, 6th Congressional District hopeful Tammy Duckworth has been the antiwar candidate who didn’t much talk about Iraq.

That all changes today as Duckworth begins airing a broadcast TV ad that introduces her to voters and makes clear her opposition to the war. The Iraq war veteran from Hoffman Estates blasts Congress, which she says “rubber-stamped the failed policies in Iraq.”

“We did our duty, but when I came home I wondered, is Congress doing theirs?” says Duckworth, who looks into the camera for much of the 30-second commercial.

I’ll see if it’s available and post it later.

*** UPDATE *** Here is the new Duckworth ad:

*** UPDATE 2 *** I just noticed that the NRCC ad slamming Duckworth on immigration has been posted to YouTube.

*** UPDATE 3 *** Emily’s List just did a poll in the 6th. The MOE is very high because only 400 likely voters were polled, so take it for what it’s worth, which is not a huge amount. Consider it a fuzzy snapshot.

The poll was conducted September 18-20. This is from the polling memo distributed by Emily’s List.

The initial trial heat is tied: 41% for Duckworth, 41% for Roskam, and 18% Undecided. […]

Duckworth is overwhelmingly preferred by voters as the candidate better qualified to “take the best course to get our troops home from Iraq,” 43% to 30% over Roskam. Even more interesting, in a series of ten issues, there is not a single one in which Republican Roskam is judged better qualified than Tammy Duckworth, including “representing your values.” […]

When voters are asked a generic “Democrat versus Republican” trial heat without names attached, the race is a dead heat at 41%, just like the initial trial heat. Later when voters are asked whether they would prefer a Democrat who is Pro Choice and supports embryonic stem cell research or a Republican who is Pro Life and opposes such research, the Pro Choice Democrat dominates, 51% to 35%.

President Bush’s positive job approval is 47% in this district, significantly higher than his national average. This does not, however, seem to be lifting the prospects of candidates like Roskam, as voters are highly dissatisfied with the job performance of the Republican-led Congress.

- Posted by Rich Miller   30 Comments      

Madigan wants answers about “mob ties”

Wednesday, Sep 27, 2006

Speaker Madigan defined his main objection to Alexi Giannoulias’ candidacy yesterday to Carol Marin.

Lobbing another political hand grenade, the state Democratic Party chairman and Illinois House speaker said Tuesday he is withholding his support for Democratic treasurer nominee Alexi Giannoulias until he answers “those allegations of connections to the mob.”

“I want some answers,” Madigan said. “The allegations are there.” […]

“I mean my history in politics, if you were alleged to be connected to the mob, you were done, but life seems to go on,” he said.

Giannoulias said he hoped to sit down and explain the situation to MJM, but he can’t get an appointment. What a mess.

- Posted by Rich Miller   37 Comments      

Morning shorts

Wednesday, Sep 27, 2006

* Marin: ‘Man behind curtain’ faces lots of questions (but he hasn’t answered any yet)

* “Former Illinois Supreme Court Justice Seymour Simon, who held positions at multiple levels of government during a varied career in public service, died Tuesday at the age of 91.”

* Blagojevich, Topinka set date for first debate

* Gov. Rod Blagojevich made if official Monday - the new state-supported Amtrak service, including a route to Galesburg, will begin Oct. 30.

* Attorney General’s probe targets hospital executives

* Schmich: `Obamania’ isn’t everyone’s cup of cappuccino

* Demand forces Obama town hall meeting move to Rock Valley College gym

* Steinberg: Gov ready to hang up on sneaky cell charges

* Brown: Fired TV anchorman now on other side of political game

* “Taking care to alert but not alarm, Cook County officials cautioned their suburban counterparts Tuesday about a potential health crisis that threatens every town, every school and every business”

* “The Illinois State Toll Highway Authority and an Aurora outlet mall settled a lawsuit over who pays for $4.7 million in road improvements to access the mall.”

* “Some Carpentersville officials are tired of waiting for the federal government to take action on illegal immigran”

* Mayor’s aide quits to run for city clerk - Hispanic aldermen angry Daley didn’t pick one of them

- Posted by Rich Miller   12 Comments      

New Topinka ad

Wednesday, Sep 27, 2006

While I’m working on finishing today’s Capitol Fax, take a gander at Topinka’s latest TV ad. It’s a 15 second bookend spot and replaces the “budget” ad.

Expect negativity from now until Doom’s Day.

The governor’s campaign hasn’t updated its Topinka Watch site in a while (and they don’t put negative ads on the main campaign site), so I don’t have its latest ad to share with you, but you can discuss it anyway.

A story about the guv’s new ad was in the Daily Herald recently.

After running upward of $10 million in TV ads blasting his opponent, Gov. Rod Blagojevich is now looking into the camera and complaining that Republican Judy Baar Topinka is firing back.

In his unorthodox new TV ad, the Democratic governor says Topinka “likes to attack and criticize my record,” then tries to tie her to former Republican Gov. George Ryan and his handling of fiscal matters.

“As state treasurer, she didn’t do her job. We can’t go back to that,” Blagojevich says in closing the 30-second ad.

The governor’s commercial is unusual because campaigns typically use grave-sounding voiceover specialists to attack an opponent instead of putting the candidate on screen to do the criticizing. Negative ads tend to drive up voters’ negative perceptions of the candidate responsible for the ad, so Blagojevich runs that risk.

After you’re done with the political ads, check out the scaaarry Halloween video at the Rockford Register Star site. Apparently, they’ve found proof that the paper’s building is haunted.

- Posted by Rich Miller   53 Comments      

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