* Apparently, there was a huge pushback from Gov. Blagojevich’s office against CBS 2’s attempt to broadcast a story about his work habits. But if you didn’t watch it last night, it’s still worth a look, particularly the last bit about how Blagojevich was at a Blackhawks game while the House was voting on the transit bill he supported.
* The Sun-Times has more on the guv’s absence last night…
After being at the Capitol much of the day in pursuit of a mass transit bailout, Blagojevich quietly slipped out of the building with his press secretary and boarded a taxpayer-funded jet to get to the hockey game. He had been invited as a guest of new Blackhawks team president John McDonough.
Blagojevich “went there in his official capacity as governor at the invitation of the president in an effort to promote the Blackhawks,” said spokeswoman Rebecca Rausch.
The decision drew scorn and sarcasm for the unpopular, second-term governor.
“It certainly would have shown a little more interest in what we were doing if he’d have stayed in the Capitol,” said House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago).
Rod Blagojevich is truly the gift that keeps on giving. As a Chicago TV station prepares to air a report that he is AWOL from his state office, he heads to a hockey game while his transit funding proposal goes down in flames. And after promising to deliver all his House Democratic votes on the transit bill, he winds up putting just two votes on the thing. Oops.
I really don’t know what I’d do without this man. There’s just no way that I could make nearly this kind of money with a responsible, even-tempered governor in charge. I may just endorse him for another term. Rod Blagojevich, governor for life!!! I haven’t checked, but I’ll bet that my CPA agrees.
* Using a sports analogy while preparing to fly to Chicago to see a hockey game during the roll call was another beaut…
For Blagojevich it’s another political defeat. Earlier Wednesday he appeared outside his Capitol office trying to put a positive spin on the state’s lingering political gridlock, comparing his work on the mass transit bailout to the Bears recent overtime victory. That was when he apparently thought the plan would pass.
But this plan’s fate was sealed even before the House voted. Had it passed, it would have gone to an Illinois Senate where opponents had rounded up enough votes to ensure it went nowhere unless tied to a statewide construction spending program worth billions and likely financed with gambling expansion.
* His predictive powers are also slightly off…
[The mass transit bill’s defeat] came just hours after Gov. Rod Blagojevich predicted the bailout would be approved.
“This is a big step forward,” Blagojevich said during an afternoon press conference.
He’s a true Cub fan. That statement was akin to predicting a World Series sweep before a single playoff game had started.
* The Tribune includes this exchange in its story about the mass transit flameout…
Rep. Julie Hamos (D-Evanston), the bill’s sponsor, told her colleagues the money is “desperately needed” to avert fare increases, service cuts and layoffs. She implored lawmakers to support the proposal because of an array of pension and health-care reforms.
But she also sought to lay the groundwork to cast blame on Republicans, noting she and House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) were embracing a gas tax idea that was first brought up by Cross. Hamos complained she had assumed House Republicans who had first promoted the idea could support the proposal now, drawing taunts from Republicans who complained that calling the bill for a vote was a just a political game.
“Oh, Julie, come on. You know this is all a bunch of baloney,” said Rep. Rosemary Mulligan (R-Des Plaines).
Not noted is that Rep. Mulligan voted for the bill.
* More stories, compiled by Paul…
* Editorial: Gas tax swap latest sleight of hand
* Construction haunts transit debate
* Bethany Jaeger: No transit action sets the stage for another show
* Editorial: Seek an end to the agony in Springfield