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New spin is empty, misleading and false

Friday, Sep 28, 2007

* It appears that Gov. Blagojevich has found a new way to spin his budget vetoes. If you oppose him then you’re against breast and cervical cancer screening and treatment for hundreds of thousands of women. But, in the end, as you’ll see, it’s a bunch of empty rhetoric based on a hugely inflated promise.

* The background

Gov. Blagojevich on Thursday announced plans to provide free mammograms and breast cancer treatments to all uninsured women over age 40. The state also will offer free pelvic exams and Pap tests to uninsured women over age 35, and pay for cervical cancer treatments.

* The setup quote

“We will save lives,” [Blagojevich] told supporters at St. Elizabeth Hospital.

* Almost there

“We’re paying for it by the vetoes of pork-barrel projects and other special-interest spending that I vetoed in the budget,” Blagojevich said.

* Now here comes the spin

“I dare the state Legislature to take this one away,” Blagojevich said.

“…I still have the spending authority as the governor and whether they’re there or not, I simply choose to spend the money on mammograms for women instead of pork barrel projects for legislators.”

* Spinning like a top

“If they’re not going to give us a budget that provides enough money for the important priorities, then you have to make decisions on what’s more important, and I defy any of the men and women of the general assembly to tell me that there’s a more important priority in providing women a chance to get mammograms,” the governor said.

* He’s a veritable whirling dervish, even

The governor told a reporter the women of Illinois should thank state Rep. Tom Holbrook, D-Belleville, and state Rep. Dan Beiser, D-Alton, for indirectly providing the funds to expand the cancer screening program.

“I vetoed their pork barrel projects to pay for this,” Blagojevich said.


* The new plan also includes an additional bonus for the governor

Health-care advocates lauded the expansion, which will be coupled with a public awareness campaign

“Saving lives… Brought to you by Gov. Rod Blagojevich.” Perfect.

* I’m wondering if that PR campaign is included in the projected cost

Blagojevich said expanding the women’s cancer screening program could cost about $50 million. His spokeswoman Abby Ottenhoff said that would be the total cost of the program if all eligible women get screened and treated.

* And even that’s misleading, as the Tribune points out

…Blagojevich said up to 260,000 more women will be covered by expanding the existing Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program. But spokeswoman Abby Ottenhoff said the state expects about 5,000 of those 260,000 women to get screenings in the next year, with about 50 needing treatment.

* So, once again we have a huge splash, but little benefit. And there’s more

It was unclear Thursday how the program, which at full capacity would cost about $50 million a year, will be funded. Blagojevich said it would be paid for by his recent cuts of so-called “pork” from the state budget, while Ottenhoff said the program would be supported primarily through an additional $1.75 million set aside in the budget for public health.

Incredibly enough, the spin appears to be completely false. Imagine that.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Ghost - Friday, Sep 28, 07 @ 9:52 am:

    its hard to keep abreast of the governors spin and contradictions.

  2. - Rich Miller - Friday, Sep 28, 07 @ 9:57 am:

    He keeps me in business, ghost. lol

  3. - Pot calling kettle - Friday, Sep 28, 07 @ 10:00 am:

    I thought the $50M came from his cut to AllKids Long Term Care Services. Or maybe from one of the other cuts he made to health care to help pay for health care which he cut. (Sorry, almost got caught in an endless loop.)


  4. - Scare tactics and evoking the the Lord - Friday, Sep 28, 07 @ 10:01 am:

    All these so-called free health care initatives are all for show. The All Kids thing is a joke.
    To bad Blagojevich can’t be spun out of office.

  5. - Gus Frerotte's Clipboard - Friday, Sep 28, 07 @ 10:07 am:

    The thing is, screening 5,000 women for breast cancer and treating 50 of them is an extremely worthy cause. For those women, that’s not a “little benefit.” And the fact that 255,000 more women could get screenings if they wanted/needed to is also meaningful. But I agree with your overarching point, Rich, which is that it seems that those potentially positive facts were not made the point of emphasis here.

  6. - Truth - Friday, Sep 28, 07 @ 10:10 am:

    I thought the Governor vetoed those projects because the legislature passed him a budget that was out of balance? If he cuts one area to spend the money in another, how does that balance the budget?

  7. - Crimefighter - Friday, Sep 28, 07 @ 10:16 am:

    They can easily turn it around and say we’re overriding $150 million he line item vetoed covering health care items…he’s a hypocrite.

  8. - Anonymous - Friday, Sep 28, 07 @ 10:17 am:

    Looks like he’s into daring and defying pretty heavy. Usually when you bet someone they can’t do it, they become more determined!!!

    This would be fun to watch if I didn’t live here and know that it’s MY $$ he’s playing with!!!

  9. - Fan of the Game - Friday, Sep 28, 07 @ 10:25 am:

    I thought I felt the earth wobble a little on its axis this morning. Must be the governor’s strong spin.

  10. - the Other Anonymous - Friday, Sep 28, 07 @ 10:38 am:

    Why even have the legislature pass a budget, if the Governor believes he has spending authority over funds he has vetoed?

    I’m a realist, and I know that usually no one cares about the finer procedural points. But there has to come a point when ordinary citizens will say that the Governor is claiming power he does not have.

    If you veto a line item, the spending authority does not exist. That doesn’t seem too difficult a concept, even for a “C” student.

  11. - ssssuper - Friday, Sep 28, 07 @ 10:42 am:

    Sounds like they are setting the bar low so they can claim a huge victory if they double that number.

  12. - Truthful James - Friday, Sep 28, 07 @ 10:43 am:

    It is hard to think of an apt comparison to our governor, in fact or fiction.

  13. - BlunderBoy's Biographer - Friday, Sep 28, 07 @ 10:47 am:

    Here is the Box Score on Blunder Boy
    Out of balance was Excuse 1.01
    Then the Spin Sisters sent out the Boy Toy
    need money for ed & health case that Excuse 2.01
    Then Boy Toy says if lawmakers want new programs they should talk with Gov.
    That was Excuse 3.01
    Hope that helps

  14. - VanillaMan - Friday, Sep 28, 07 @ 10:50 am:

    Sure he is spinning, but take a look at how he is targeting his potential US voters. Mr. Blagojevich wants to go national. What we are seeing is his national-audience spin.

    If Mr. Blagojevich wishes to have a career past 2010, he will need to find a new opening outside Illinois. When one considers how some polls point towards a Clinton victory in 2008, it is not too soon for Mr. Blagojevich to start promoting himself as a health care messiah for the next administration and using this as a magnet for any opportunities that may come his way.

    Mr. Blagojevich doesn’t consider himself as just another Illinois governor - he considers himself a national leader and his behavior isn’t just for Illinoians.

    I remember well how Frederico Pena couldn’t win another Denver election victory, and how he was picked up for eight years within the Clinton cabinet as Denverites thumbed their noses at him and bid him good riddance.

    Blagojevich would make a fine cabinet member within a Clinton administration. Those who can’t teach, those who can’t teach consult, and those who cannot consult become cabinet officials at the state or federal level. Where else can a “C” law student with a bouffant hairdo and 5 second attention span find work?

  15. - Just My Opinion - Friday, Sep 28, 07 @ 10:55 am:

    As a breast cancer survivor, I’m outraged that this man thinks he can gain some political capital on the backs of women. When you are looking cancer in the eye, you want the option of seeking a second opinion and finding a qualified, experienced surgeon, radiologist, and oncologist. In finding you have breast or cervical cancer, there is a week at best to get all of your ducks lined up and be ready to go under the knife. With yet another State program that will no doubt be very slow to pay, and with the State already setting a very poor example with the AllKids program in how slow they are to pay their bills, where are women going to find these three life saving specialists who will be willing to take on yet another State welfare patient. And that’s all this is in the eyes of medical professionals - another glorified welfare program. There has got to be a better way to do this than a program run by the State of Illinois.

  16. - Just My Opinion - Friday, Sep 28, 07 @ 10:58 am:

    VanMan, do you think he will go to prison before or during his cabinet appointment in the Clinton administration?

  17. - Wumpus - Friday, Sep 28, 07 @ 11:14 am:

    I give free mamograms to women under 45.

  18. - Squideshi - Friday, Sep 28, 07 @ 11:14 am:

    Rich, you are brutally honest here. Blagojevich is not going to invite you to ride on the bus again! :)

  19. - VanillaMan - Friday, Sep 28, 07 @ 11:15 am:

    That would depend. If Judge Kelley is preciding…

  20. - MOON - Friday, Sep 28, 07 @ 11:25 am:

    Blago has as much chance as I of being appointed to a cabinet position. His record as a grandstander and inability to get along with people is terrible. No president would trust him.

  21. - DC - Friday, Sep 28, 07 @ 11:30 am:

    Tom Holbrook is an oustanding example of a gentleman and a statesman. He doesn’t grandstand, he doesn’t have an ego and he fights hard for his district. I’m not even the same party as Holbrook, but I respect him and wouldn’t use him as the butt of a really bad joke. Then again, most people have class and dignity, but apparently Governor Chucky (see the movie Childs Play)lost those traits somewhere between his boxing club days and going to Pepperdine. I wonder what people wrote in his yearbook? That would be telling…

  22. - Former State Employee - Friday, Sep 28, 07 @ 11:35 am:

    I agree completely with Just My Opinion. I too am a breast cancer survivor and the reality of the diagnosis is light years away from the spin it is getting from Gov Hairbrush. Today people covered under his vast medical programs have to be transported miles and miles from their homes to seek speciality care, their kids can’t find a dentist, and God forbid, they have a substance abuse or mental health disease (programs that he recently vetoed)that need to be treated. Forget it!!!

  23. - DC - Friday, Sep 28, 07 @ 11:36 am:

    If I were in the House of Represenatives, I would have some fun with the next supplemental appropriations bill and zero out the FY08 appropriation for the Governor’s Office and replace it with $1″. Then let him claim Executive authority to find the money elsewhere. It would force to him to decide between paying his (cough) campaign folks or putting his money where his mouth is on nanny health care.

  24. - ANON. - Friday, Sep 28, 07 @ 11:49 am:

    Free screening for women over 40 = smart move. Is there anything right now that needs the states attention? Yes, we have the train system in Chicago and some disaster areas around the state. That is all going to get taken care of.
    This is a medical procedure that most women can’t afford. How many women will die a year from not getting the right treatment. If for one more year I have to live with out:
    $863,000 for Art Education
    $9.5 million from matching grants
    among others.
    I would gladley give up all those vetoed items to save a life. Think about it. Whats more important right now. Saving lives or $300,000 to Illinois College for general spending. Come on let’s save lives first.

  25. - Anonymous - Friday, Sep 28, 07 @ 11:55 am:

    Anon 11:45…..

    Looks like a “Rod” post.

  26. - Rich Miller - Friday, Sep 28, 07 @ 11:59 am:

    === Blagojevich is not going to invite you to ride on the bus again===

    He already has. I avoided the question. lol

  27. - Pot calling kettle - Friday, Sep 28, 07 @ 12:01 pm:

    DC–His campaign folks are spread throughout the agency offices, even DNR. No way to put the hurt on by just cutting the Gov’s office. Of course if you cut agency $$, the campaign folks would be the last to lose their jobs. Those jobs are secure at least through the end of 2010. After that, it would be interesting to see them actually fulfill the requirements of their appointed positions…

    For now, showing up at Madigan’s hearings seems to be their job.

  28. - Pot calling kettle - Friday, Sep 28, 07 @ 12:03 pm:

    ANON — Do I see a “straw man?”

  29. - DOWNSTATE - Friday, Sep 28, 07 @ 12:04 pm:

    First of all these women have to find a doctor that has not shut the door on all of the Gov.’s entitlement hand outs and that’s getting harder to do.

  30. - Rich Miller - Friday, Sep 28, 07 @ 12:09 pm:

    Anon, I agree that saving lives is great. No question. But he’s not using the veto money to do it as Ottenhof clearly stated above. So, like the governor, that’s a completely bogus comparison you’ve made between pork and lives.

  31. - Rich Miller - Friday, Sep 28, 07 @ 12:10 pm:

    Also, anon, what about all the life-saving stuff that he vetoed out of the budget like the portable defib units?

  32. - Garp - Friday, Sep 28, 07 @ 12:18 pm:

    This is a disgusting and shameless attempt to get women’s votes. What about all the other diseases that kill by the bushel?

    There really was something slimy about this annoucement. It reminded me of some of the corrupt televangialist that prey on the fears and anxiety’s of people for personal gain. I actually had to keep changing the morning news stations to escape from this charade.

  33. - cardsmama - Friday, Sep 28, 07 @ 12:27 pm:

    So the $$ is set aside THIS year for the mammograms and paps. What about next year? Will it be there, too? Or does every woman who wants to have these procedures done have to do so by 6/30/08? The gov’s programs seem to be very transient…if they come to fruition at all. Remember “books for all kids”?

  34. - DC - Friday, Sep 28, 07 @ 12:41 pm:

    They will tell the women who didn’t get the exams that they had to have an application in by June 15th in order to be covered. It will be the same sack of wet boogers that they pulled over the school districts who were “#1 on the list” to get funding. I’ve seen better strategic planning on episodes of Tom and Jerry than I have with this bunch of people. At some point, and I think we’re approaching this now, watching the Governor is like watching a day-in-the-life of Brittany Spears. It’s tragic, degrading and yet people continue to be amused enough to keep watching.

  35. - Ghost - Friday, Sep 28, 07 @ 12:45 pm:

    The portable defib units was major. And considering the rapid increase in heart disease in women its also a womens issue.

  36. - DC - Friday, Sep 28, 07 @ 12:59 pm:

    The defib issue was not so much about a lack of concern on cardiac arrest — it was a direct assault on the Lt. Governor who has championed this cause for several years. Vanity, ego (and as the Comptroller appropriately noted - hypocrisy-) knows no bounds.

  37. - 312 - Friday, Sep 28, 07 @ 1:05 pm:

    I got so dizzy trying to follow his spin that I fell off my chair and got a bump on my noggin.

    Wonder which of his programs will cover that?

  38. - Johnny USA - Friday, Sep 28, 07 @ 1:06 pm:

    Garp, why do you hate women so much?

    Have none of the women in your life been affected by this dreadful disease? If so, consider yourself lucky, and please do not ruin hope for the rest of us.

  39. - Little Egypt - Friday, Sep 28, 07 @ 1:09 pm:

    So by nixing the defib units, who is Blago hurting - Quinn or countless people who could be saved by the units? Who’s advising this idiot of a governor? Sometimes he sounds so full of compassion, other times so full of ….

  40. - Truthful James - Friday, Sep 28, 07 @ 1:10 pm:


    If only there was an equal level of support for Prostate Cancer treatment and cures, I would be much more sympathetic. But we men sit in the dark and suffer in silence.

  41. - DC - Friday, Sep 28, 07 @ 1:18 pm:

    As someone who was involved in crafting the AED regulations in Illinois, I have a very personal interest in this topic. These AEDs, compared to other items in the budget, are chump change. Dollar for dollar, they are an effective way to reduce the risk of fatality of cardiac arrest victims. I suspect if the AED appropriation were sponsored by a member of JCAR, they would have been okay, but again, there’s absolutely no plausible, logical or even hypothetical reason that would justify this truly “bone headed” move. The only possible explanation, then, is that’s it’s politically motivated. So the Governor is now playing politics with women’s health — and now we’ve come full circle to the original story.

  42. - 312 - Friday, Sep 28, 07 @ 1:30 pm:

    Vetoing the defib units was a HUGE mistake on GRod’s part — anyone who’s ever seen someone suffer a heart attack can testify how important these devices are in saving lives.

    I’m not a health care professional, but I once performed CPR on a complete stranger until the EMTs arrived with the AEDs. Unfortunately, the man didn’t survive.

    But I truly believe that if I could have used an AED in those crucial early minutes before the EMTs were there, this man would have had a chance.

    Dumb veto GRod. My mind is already crafting the opposition’s commercials against him…

  43. - Princeville - Friday, Sep 28, 07 @ 1:36 pm:

    I saw Blago last night on the 10pm news.Frankly, he did not look like he was feeling well. While he normally looks confindent and flashes that cheesy smile of his, he looked tired, slightly scared to be there and stuttered for words a couple times. It was just my observation, but am curious if he’s ill or just really starting to feel pressure from our never ending budget fight.

    Anyway, all his spinning and flip-flopping aside, I actually think that this may have been one program that may have had total support if it had been presented on it’s own to be included in the Health Dept budget (minus his grand plan of healthcare for all), but of course it was not so and now does indeed look like political ’so there’ move.

  44. - DC - Friday, Sep 28, 07 @ 1:40 pm:

    There’s at least six months worth of fresh commercials, without repeating them, just based on his comments and actions in the past 90 days. I would show a flat line on a cardio machine, a picture of an AED - the cost of the AED - a picture of the Governor and then in large letters the word “VETOED”. Then show a picture of half of a bridge — and then a picture of Rod.

    Another commercial: a clock showing 1PM, then a picture of the legislature working in session, then a picture of the governor jogging. Then a huge caption: You can run, but you can’t hide.

  45. - Garp - Friday, Sep 28, 07 @ 2:15 pm:

    Johnny USA,
    Nice try, but I am not bitin’. I don’t hate women, I hate people who exploit people for their own personal gain. Maybe you don’t see through this charade-that’s okay. Your not alone.
    People buy from this snake oil salesman. I don’t.

  46. - anonymous - Friday, Sep 28, 07 @ 3:22 pm:

    Isn’t publicizing the “spin” exactly what makes the spin effective? Stop printing everything one says, and the spin stops along with it. Or don’t use quotes, and just examine the content of a statement as a proposition and evaluate it and report on it as such. The press is played like fiddle and it won’t take the bow out of the fiddler’s hand.

  47. - Gregor - Friday, Sep 28, 07 @ 5:39 pm:

    This governor has no shame, none, not a shred. He’s a pathological liar, and he’s trying to hoodwink voters by appropriating the cloak of a noble cause in this breast cancer effort. I am saddened by the Women’s advocates who have taken up the same line as some of the unions; that a noble end justifies a dishonest and illegal means. Certainly the governor thinks this way and he’s trying to make everyone think this way to pass his spending his way, regardless of process, rules, or ethics.

    Shame on all who believe a word out of that man’s mouth; you are all going to be sorry when he turns around and bites you.

  48. - Sprinflield Watcher - Saturday, Sep 29, 07 @ 8:55 am:

    If only the News Media would report the Gov’s press releases like Capitol Fax does it would be a much better Illinois.

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