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Not so “minimal”

Monday, Nov 30, 2009

* The other day, Alexi Giannoulias tried to explain what happened to his inheritance

llinois Treasurer and U.S. Senate hopeful Alexi Giannoulias said Tuesday that a “minimal” amount of the $70 million he and his siblings received in 2007 and 2008 dividends from Broadway Bank, the troubled Chicago lender the family owns, actually went to them individually.

That was obviously not the greatest choice of words, since he alone received $2.5 million before taxes.

So, rival Democratic US Senate candidate David Hoffman has responded with a “people in the street” video. The beginning is horribly dull and badly done, but it gets better about 15 seconds in. Watch it


However, just to be clear, Giannoulias got to keep “only” $1.5 mil from that pile. As I already told you, the rest went for taxes.

…Adding… A minor point, but it appears that the video’s voice-over setup asks a different question than the “regular” people were asked. “What could people in Illinois do with $2.5 million?” appears to be the actual question, but the video claims it was: “What would two and a half million dollars mean for you and your family?” Again, no big deal, but the answers seem a tad bit confusing without that context.

* In other news

U.S. Senate candidate Cheryle Jackson has garnered the support of more than a dozen black pastors and church officials whose congregations have thousands of members.

Jackson said Monday the ministers from Chicago and the suburbs are organizing pastors downstate to support her campaign.

From Jackson’s press release…

The group based its endorsement on Jackson’s experience fighting for jobs, education and health care. Jackson repeated her call to begin bringing troops and resources home from Iraq and Afghanistan.

In attendance at the news conference were Dr. Brazier, Pastor Tyson, Pastor Gray, Bishop Tridestone, Pastor Drummons, Rev. Johnson Jr., Rev. Redwell, Rev. Harrison Sr., Rev. Turner, Rev. Greer, Rev. A Richardson, Pastor Andrews, Rev Michael Eaddy, Apostle Sylvester Brinson III, Jerry Harris and Mickarl D Thomas.

* Former governor/AG candidate John Schmidt has endorsed Dan Hynes. From a fundraising e-mail…

I don’t find it easy to oppose an incumbent Governor of my own party. But I have come to the conclusion - one that I find is shared by many others - that the incumbent is simply not capable of governing competently and effectively.

As Democrats, we have a profound obligation not to give our state another failed Governor. As citizens, setting aside any consideration of party, we have an obligation to do everything we can to elect a Governor who will govern competently and effectively at a time of enormous challenge to our state.

* And Mark Kirk is whacked again

GOP Rep Mark Kirk, who’s running for Senate and facing a primary challenge from the right, is now claiming that if health care reform passes, it “could become law” for the government to deny coverage for mammograms.

Kirk’s Senate campaign is out with a new email that is presented as a questionnaire, asking: “Could the Government Deny Mammogram Coverage?”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Will County Woman - Monday, Nov 30, 09 @ 3:34 pm:

    the Hoffman commercial is good. but, isn’t he an himself heir to a fortune? hasn’t he pumped hundreds of thousands of his own into his campaign.

    if so, isn’t he being a tad hypocritical here? I wonder what the people on the street would think of his wealth?

  2. - VanillaMan - Monday, Nov 30, 09 @ 3:36 pm:

    Ugh! That one is going to leave a mark - and an ugly story that Giannoulais will have a problem editing.

    This is the kind of thing that gives politics a bad name to voters. Utterly disingenuous, but effective.

  3. - Anonymous - Monday, Nov 30, 09 @ 3:41 pm:

    Hoffman vid is effective. I can see what Rich is saying re: 2.5 v. 1.5 because of taxation, but I’d think that Alexi would support that, so looking at is 2.5 seems valid to me.

  4. - Responsa - Monday, Nov 30, 09 @ 3:50 pm:

    So how is the vid going to be used? Is it just on You Tube to be found by curious Illinoisans or will it be distributed as a paid TV ad? It’s clever, tho. Maybe local stations will pick it up as public interest and make it a freebee. Love the real people aspect and the season relevant ChrisKindlemarket backdrop!

  5. - Will County Woman - Monday, Nov 30, 09 @ 3:52 pm:

    it’s all relative, i suppose. look, bloomberg just spent $102 million to win a mayoral race. to him it was mere chump change, and even if her only won by a slim 5 percent margin–he won and that’s all that mattered to him. if alexi g. or anyone else for that matter sinks $102 million in into an election, hopefully s/he won’t win. surely illinoisans would never go for that. ;)

  6. - A Citizen - Monday, Nov 30, 09 @ 3:56 pm:

    He could stand tall and Tip a Few Chicago Taxi drivers and waitresses the Mil and a half - that would be a Very popular move . . . with five or six folks until the others shout Ubi Est Mia!!!

  7. - Anonymous - Monday, Nov 30, 09 @ 3:56 pm:

    There’s an article out there today re: Kirk and Shoaib Choudhury that’s much more interesting than the mammogram email. O/T for here so I won’t link.

  8. - P. - Monday, Nov 30, 09 @ 3:56 pm:

    They gave it their best shot at hiding Giannoulias’s story away by releasing the info just as everyone started writing it in last week before the holiday. If there’s something there, it’s the media and voters’ jobs to bring it back up again for discussion and review. … It’s pretty insulting to voters to think that with some clever scheduling, you can keep people in the dark… It was Giannoulias, Bowen et al pulling a Mark Kirk special if I’ve ever seen one. They should know better.

  9. - Rich Miller - Monday, Nov 30, 09 @ 3:58 pm:

    AC, I don’t think the guy who made that phrase infamous has ever written about his fellow Greek-American.

  10. - Pat collins - Monday, Nov 30, 09 @ 4:00 pm:

    rtually no chance that any insurers, either public or private, will deny coverage to anyone based on these recommendations.” They are purely meant as guidance for women and doctors.

    WRONG. Those “guidances” in the Senate bill WOULD have the force of law.

    Might that language come out? Sure. But it might not.

    So, Kirk in indeed CORRECT to say so.

  11. - A Citizen - Monday, Nov 30, 09 @ 4:01 pm:

    Rich, Greed and Envy are pandemic - it’s simply human nature. G can’t win this one, he should pull a Tiger Woods and just clam up and let (hope) it dies away. Heh, fat chance, they’ve got the tiger by the tail.

  12. - Rich Miller - Monday, Nov 30, 09 @ 4:04 pm:

    PC, those weren’t in the Senate bill. They were issued by an agency in the exec branch.

  13. - Ghost - Monday, Nov 30, 09 @ 4:07 pm:

    So mark Kirk, with respect to COlbert….. is he without honor or completly without honor.

    And to think I was actually going to vote for the guy…..

  14. - Pat collins - Monday, Nov 30, 09 @ 4:12 pm:

    I was not very clear. The Senate bill, as it is today, has language that would make those “guidances” mandatory under health care. So, if the new guidance say “no” then it is not covered.

    That is, the Senate bill makes those agency’s guidances into what’s covered, and what is not.

  15. - Niles Township - Monday, Nov 30, 09 @ 4:14 pm:

    To me the Hoffman video was pretty poor in execution, and probbaly not the best idea to begin with (I’m backing Hoffman in the primary BTW). It looks to me like the kid from the Quinn campaign has nothing to worry about when it comes to the best campaign vids.

    So in light of Adlai’s and now Schmidt’s endorsements, I’d like to ask a question which is a different flavor of an old QOTD. Does anyone really care when long ago elected oficials (i.e. has beens who have not held office in the memory of anyone under 40) or people never elected (i.e. numerous failed campaigns) endorse candidates? An even better question might be, what is the state of the campaigns that trot out these types of endorsements as a big deal?

  16. - TTL, III - Monday, Nov 30, 09 @ 4:15 pm:

    Gimme a break - Hoffman’s a millionaire due to the insurance industry. What could the state and “people on the street” have done with the $500K he loaned his campaign?

    Maybe it was a poor choice of words, but Alexi was in a damned if you do damned if you don’t situation - if he hadn’t released and explained then everybody would be on here complaining about how he was hiding something.

  17. - OneMan - Monday, Nov 30, 09 @ 4:34 pm:

    Poor Alexi…


    It’s politics and he walked right into that one….

  18. - Anonymous - Monday, Nov 30, 09 @ 4:34 pm:

    So how is the vid going to be used?

    Well, Responsa, you’d think that someone who’s clever with initiative would figure something out.

  19. - Anonymous - Monday, Nov 30, 09 @ 4:46 pm:

    Does anyone really care when long ago elected oficials (i.e. has beens who have not held office in the memory of anyone under 40)….

    Niles, that an odd thing to say. Forty-somethings and up count, too–at least when it comes to voting. Don’t they? One would like to think that they’re not being fully put out to pasture.

  20. - Rich Miller - Monday, Nov 30, 09 @ 4:47 pm:

    Also, the demographics of GOP primary voters tends to skew older.

  21. - confused - Monday, Nov 30, 09 @ 4:51 pm:

    Isn’t $1.5 million a minimal amount compared to $70 million. Clearly that is what he is saying was minimal, and not the amount he received. Why are we always trying to “catch” politicians they do enough on their own, and don’t need us to twist their words. 1.5 is about 2% of the total number anybody disagree that 2% is a minimal amount?

  22. - Plutocrat03 - Monday, Nov 30, 09 @ 4:58 pm:

    Kirk is correct.

    Every national helth plan has some sort of board that determines what is to be covered by the national plan (Britain calls theirs NICE) One the govErnment plan declines to cover a procedure, it will be a race by the private insurance companies to drop coverage for the same procedure.

    It will be interesting whe the federal board declines to cover something the state laws currently require from insurance companies. Any bets on who will win those battles?

  23. - Rich Miller - Monday, Nov 30, 09 @ 4:59 pm:

    Plutocrat03, that assumes they’ll decline coverage. Politically very difficult if not impossible. In Illinois, it always increases, never decreases.

    And this was no decree of any kind, just a recommendation.

  24. - Pat collins - Monday, Nov 30, 09 @ 5:06 pm:

    To be specific, the Breast cancer screening tests were dropped to a “c” and the health care plan only covers “a” and “b” listed treatments.

    So, under the Bill as it is, it would NOT be covered, but you could, out of pocket, pay for it.

    Is that an issue? I think it is, and it’s fair for Kirk to bring it up, and say how he’d deal with it.

  25. - 10th Indy - Monday, Nov 30, 09 @ 5:42 pm:

    As a 40-49 woman with a history of breast cancer in my family I hit the google about the issue and found what the American College of Radiologists has to say about the mammogram/senate bill issue:

    “In several sections, the bill mandates that coverage, promotion and deductibles for preventive services, such as screening mammography, be based on grades determined by the USPSTF.”

    They then go on to cite specific bill sections including sections that require grade a or b for coverage of preventative tests (the recent USPSTF guidelines gave a grade c to preventative mammograms between age 40-49.)

    Kirk raises a serious flaw in the way the bill is written by tying it to a specific example. The Milkulski amendment, if adopted, would specifically allow for coverage of preventative mammograms beginning at age 40. More than anything the issue demonstrates the risk of unanticipated consequences that could result from the legislation and suggests some fixes that need to be made to the pending bill, not the least of which is clarification about the role, make-up and mandates of the USPSTF Board.

  26. - wordslinger - Monday, Nov 30, 09 @ 7:15 pm:

    You health-care fearmongers are hilarious.

    You’re the guys who have been telling us that Democrats will keep expanding benefits to their so-called tax-eating constituencies until we’re all broke.

    On the other hand, you tell us that Democrats want to deny basic health care to those constiuencies, like mammograms, effectively killing them off early.

    That doesn’t like the same group of politicians.

    The cognitive dissonance must hurt.

  27. - Zora - Monday, Nov 30, 09 @ 7:15 pm:

    Confused, remember how Bertrand Russell was scolded by his well-to-do grandmother for talking about numbers smaller than common fractions? Anything below 1/2 and 1/4 was impolite in her book.

    Well, since then, because of inflation, it is now improper to describe numbers higher than 1 million as minimal.

    I agree with OneMan — he walked right into this. After you’re elected to federal office, you are allowed not to know the cost of a gallon of milk. When you are a state constitutional officer, however, you’d better stay straight on the proletariat’s everyday calculus, even if you are rich. Beyond $1 million is lucky land. Duh.

  28. - anon - Monday, Nov 30, 09 @ 9:13 pm:

    This video from the Hoffman campaign is really shameless. If there’s anyone unqualified to cast these stones, it’s the heir to the Geico fortune who grew up in a world of privilege, never wanted for anything, and despite a string of public service jobs (which paid modestly but were taken for their values as political stepping stones) managed to kick himself $500K in family money to bankroll his campaign.

    Hoffman, you must be at the end of your freaking rope if all you can say is “don’t vote for him, he’s rich.”

    Hypocrite. (And by the way, I think Giannoulias is pretty lame too. And yes, I’m a democrat.)

  29. - Pat Collins - Monday, Nov 30, 09 @ 9:27 pm:

    The cognitive dissonance must hurt.

    No, we actually read the bill. :)

  30. - Chicago Cynic - Monday, Nov 30, 09 @ 10:15 pm:


    You have quite a way with words and your logic is impeccable.

  31. - Get it straight - Tuesday, Dec 1, 09 @ 12:49 pm:

    So Cheryle Jackson gets endorsed by a group of ministers and she puts out a press release and gets the names of some of them wrong???? How do you not know the names of the pastors endorsing you?????

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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