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Rove, Kirk both hit Giannoulias on Bright Start

Wednesday, Oct 6, 2010

* Karl Rove’s American Crossroads GPS has posted its new anti Alexi Giannoulias ad. The group is spending a million dollars on the spot this week alone

I’m told Bright Start polls very well against Alexi Giannoulias. That Rove spot was a rough hit. Mark Kirk’s new ad focuses on the issue as well and may be an even a rougher hit


Mark Kirk: “I’m Mark Kirk and I approved this message.”

Nancy Wohlhart: “Our daughter was a freshman when we opened the envelope and found they had lost over half our college savings.”

AVO: “Alexi Giannoulias was in charge of Bright Start.”

Nancy Wohlhart: “Our money was supposed to be in a safe fund. But instead, Giannoulias stood by while they lost more than $70 million.”

AVO: “Giannoulias bragged about his financial expertise in commercials.”

Nancy Wohlhart: “A lot of people suffered because Alexi misled us. We’ll never recover our daughter’s college savings.”

* The DSCC has a new Internet promo video about the upcoming debates

* Speaking of debates

An upcoming debate between Illinois candidates for U.S. Senate has been canceled, as organizers say Democratic candidate Alexi Giannoulias has turned down a request to participate.

The debate, originally scheduled for Oct. 21 at the WSIU broadcasting studios in Carbondale and co-sponsored by The Southern Illinoisan, was meant to include senatorial candidates from all three of Illinois’ legally established political parties, but Giannoulias’ withdrawal caused organizers to cancel the event.

David Yepsen, of SIUC’s Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, said the Giannoulias campaign refused to participate in the debate because the Libertarian candidate for U.S. Senate, Michael Labno, was not allowed to join the discussion.

“It’s disappointing, but these things happen in politics,” Yepsen said. “The rules we put together were that we would invite any candidate of an established political party. We’re not going to change the rules for one candidate.”

Greg Hinz

I wonder if Team Giannoulias has forgotten a lesson that former Sen. Carol Moseley-Braun learned the hard way the year she lost her re-election bid: Downstate still counts, and Downstaters don’t like to be ignored.


* Roundup…

* Campaign watchdogs want IRS to probe Rove’s American Crossroads

* Karl Rove-Backed Group Spends as Much as Political Parties

* US Chamber of Commerce under fire for foreign cash

* ZORN: Giannoulias consistently vague about his job at the bank

* VIDEO: Alexi Giannoulias Can’t Name Spending He Would Have Voted Against

* The Race for Obama’s Senate Seat

* Kirk characterizes self as ‘consensus builder’

* GOP candidate Kirk says he can build consensus in U.S. Senate

* Northwest Herald: U.S. Senate: Mark Kirk

* Giannoulias Offers Dinner With the President

* VIDEO: Mark Kirk on why he is running for US Senate

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Ahoy - Wednesday, Oct 6, 10 @ 1:44 pm:

    It’s never a good idea to cancel a debate no matter where it is, makes you look weak and insecure. These are not attributes people want in a Senator.

    It also going to upset a lot of people downstate.

  2. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Oct 6, 10 @ 1:46 pm:

    Ouch, the Bright Start ads are going to leave a mark on Alexi, and it won’t be pretty.

    Call me naive, but I am pleasantly surprised to see Kirk and Rove’s indepedent expenditure on the same message. Seems like that’s evidence they weren’t coordinating. Of course, if I’m Kirk, I change my traffic and let Rove do the dirty work.

  3. - TaxMeMore - Wednesday, Oct 6, 10 @ 1:52 pm:

    Alexi didn’t cancel the debate. The Paul Simon Public Policy Institute and other sponsors are wholly responsible. Their discriminatory debate inclusion policy was designed to exclude a qualified candidate. Good for Alexi in rejecting the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute’s political bigotry. If they had invited all the candidates on the ballot, instead of arbitrarily discriminating against a Libertarian, Alexi would have agreed to attend. Don’t blame Alexi, blame the political bigots.

  4. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Oct 6, 10 @ 1:53 pm:

    I think the Kirk spot with the testimonial is much stronger, even moving. Who can’t relate?

    I can’t get past Karl Rove talking about “dishonest” campaigns. My blood pressure went up just thinking about the despicable things he did to McCain and his wife in South Carolina and Michigan.

    I’m curious as to his selection of American Crossroads as a name. Does it have something to do with a certain transaction he made, a la Robert Johnson, that is the secret to his success?

  5. - OneMan - Wednesday, Oct 6, 10 @ 1:55 pm:

    The Bright Start Ad isn’t exactly a novel idea…

  6. - The Captain - Wednesday, Oct 6, 10 @ 1:57 pm:

    Don’t forget the part where Mark Kirk promises to spend the most money in 15 years to, ahem, protect the vote. Then he lists a series of places, let’s see if you can figure out what these have in common: south side of Chicago, west side of Chicago, the Metro East and Rockford.

    We get it. Loud and clear Mark.

  7. - Louis G. Atsaves - Wednesday, Oct 6, 10 @ 2:14 pm:

    I recall when Alexi’s camp had a hissy fit over the Kirk proposal for seven (7) debates. Now Alexi is declining another debate with an excuse that a fringe candidate hasn’t been invited.

  8. - Ray del Camino - Wednesday, Oct 6, 10 @ 2:16 pm:

    Taxme– The rules for the debate apparently had been set for quite some time, and without controversy. Read the piece in theSouthern. I am unaware of any complaints from Labno himself. The name-calling is undignified.

  9. - Adam Smith - Wednesday, Oct 6, 10 @ 2:19 pm:

    Best ad by the Kirk campaign yet. A very solid gut punch.

    The only reason you withdraw from a debate because the third party is excluded is because you are afraid of debating.

    Kirk may be a lot of things, but he knows policy better than just about anyone around.

  10. - bored now - Wednesday, Oct 6, 10 @ 2:25 pm:

    it’s strange that hinz questions alexi’s downstate commitment just after he completed a long, downstate tour with sen. durbin. is greg stupid?

    alexi has long attended events south of i-80, and i’ll never forget the tale of one of my downstate relatives who talked about alexi speaking at their high school graduation. maybe greg hinz needs to pay attention and do some research. idiot…

  11. - TaxMeMore - Wednesday, Oct 6, 10 @ 2:30 pm:

    Ray, the debate “rules” are undignified as they are unarguably discriminatory. The same logic was used making those “rules” that were used to exclude women and minority candidates in our past. The Republican Party was not an “established party” yet Abraham Lincoln was still allowed to debate and he even won the Presidency as a candidate from a party that wasn’t “established”. The words bigotry and bigots fit perfectly. Yes, Labno has complained and is looking into the public funding of the Institute since they are obviously playing partisan political games. Shame on them for dirtying the name of Paul Simon by excluding a candidate the state of Illinois recognizes as qualified for the ballot. Learn from history and do the right thing instead of perpetuating the same failed logic that kept women and minorities out of debates once they won the right to participate in our elections.

  12. - Ray del Camino - Wednesday, Oct 6, 10 @ 2:31 pm:

    South of I-80? Hahaha. How about south of 72/74? Or south of 70? Or south of 64? Peoria is not “downstate.”

  13. - Ray del Camino - Wednesday, Oct 6, 10 @ 2:33 pm:

    Mike Labno = Abe Lincoln. Oh. OK. Sorry.

  14. - OneMan - Wednesday, Oct 6, 10 @ 2:33 pm:

    == Peoria is not “downstate.” == It is to a Chicagoan…

    If you can’t get Chicago or Rockford TV it’s downstate.

  15. - RMW Stanford - Wednesday, Oct 6, 10 @ 2:36 pm:

    I am from the Peoria area and this is the first I have heard of it not being downstate.

  16. - Team Sleep - Wednesday, Oct 6, 10 @ 2:37 pm:

    Two points:

    1. David Yepsen is the man. Tax Me, for you to insinuate that he and his staff promulgate racism when sending invitations for debates is silly.

    2. Both ads are good. Kirk’s testimonial piece is very well produced. Unlike Debbie H.’s social security ad, Kirk’s ad had a real feeling to it.

  17. - A.B. - Wednesday, Oct 6, 10 @ 2:42 pm:

    After months of ties to the family bank and the mob, Kirk turns around and saturates the public with the Bright Start program. Well done. This should really resonate and carry a good impact in the final month.

  18. - Responsa - Wednesday, Oct 6, 10 @ 2:43 pm:

    Oh, bored now, you were so sure Kirk would withdraw from the debates because he’d be “afraid” to debate Alexi on the important issues. Looks like you totally misread the tea leaves on that one, huh? You appear to have some influence with the Alexi campaign, however. Can’t you convince Alexi to change his mind and debate Kirk after all? Voters deserve to see the two main candidates for senate in action. This Alex-Labno fixation is nuts, and looks really cowardly on Alexi’s part. Will Alexi be opting out of other debates as well, do you think?

  19. - Ray del Camino - Wednesday, Oct 6, 10 @ 2:45 pm:

    Yes, ads are good, by the way. Giannoulias is wide open to them. You Northern “downstaters” may not feel slighted by Alexi bailing on the SIU debate, but Southern downstaters, to Hinz’s point, will feel slighted, no matter cogent observations to the contrary.

  20. - Carl Nyberg - Wednesday, Oct 6, 10 @ 2:45 pm:

    Was the offer to Giannoulias was to include the minor party candidate that cuts into his base, but not the minor party candidate that cuts into his opponent’s base?

    I defy you to find a single major party candidate for U.S. Senate who has ever accepted that debate configuration.

    That the newspaper and the SIU guy think Giannoulias should accept the offer, it tells you more about their biases than it tells you about Giannoulias.

    Probably the fairest way to conduct the debates is to have one or more debate that includes all the candidates, an equal number of debates that include Giannoulias, Kirk and Jones (Green) and then a final round that includes all the candidates polling at least 15%.

    But instead candidates want to debate the debate process. And the media players use the debate about the debate to ding the candidates they want to ding.

  21. - Deep South - Wednesday, Oct 6, 10 @ 2:45 pm:

    Tax Me More:

    Political bigotry? Some people, who are less kind than me, might call you an idiot.

  22. - wizard - Wednesday, Oct 6, 10 @ 2:47 pm:

    deep sougth 2:45 couldn’t have said it better. thanks.

  23. - Deep South - Wednesday, Oct 6, 10 @ 2:47 pm:

    Bored Now:

    Try south of I-64.

  24. - dupage dan - Wednesday, Oct 6, 10 @ 2:48 pm:

    AG is showing such cajones by forgoing the debate using the reason that they won’t let Labno in.

    What a man. I’m sure all those folk downstate (and that includes you, Peoria) are getting that tingling feeling all over.

  25. - Deep South - Wednesday, Oct 6, 10 @ 2:50 pm:

    Tax Me More:

    After reading your post of 2:30 I, too, think you’re an idiot.

  26. - anon - Wednesday, Oct 6, 10 @ 3:26 pm:

    This is not the first time that Alexi Giannoulias has backed out of a debate. His people know that debating Mark Kirk will only harm his campaign. Giannoulias lacks the knowledge and intelligence to maintain any credibility during a debate with Kirk.

  27. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Oct 6, 10 @ 3:29 pm:

    Peoria’s not Downstate? Then where is it?

  28. - Deep South - Wednesday, Oct 6, 10 @ 3:37 pm:

    Well, if Peoria IS downstate, then where is Carbondale?

  29. - Adam Smith - Wednesday, Oct 6, 10 @ 3:57 pm:

    Nothing like another addition of the ridiculously parochial debate about “downstate”, “southern Illinois,” “central Illinois,” etc.

    As this thread shows, it may seem very silly, but lots of people take it seriously. Alexi should take note. Whatever travel he’s done downstate, he can undo all of it by ducking out of the SIU debate.

  30. - Cincinnatus - Wednesday, Oct 6, 10 @ 4:02 pm:

    How did Rove and Kirk fail to mention the $25k Escalade Alexi bought while driving Bright Start into the ground? With a single sentence, they can land an uppercut to Alexi’s jaw after they doubled him over with the body punch.

    As far as Alexi ducking the debate, anyone who thinks it is his altruism for Labno (whom I have met and think is a good guy) is a fool. Alexi is doing it for his own selfish reason: he is incapable of debating Kirk on ANY issue. If and when Alexi does meet up with Kirk, expect Alexi to turn every response into “Kirk lied and can’t be trusted,” just like many posters on this blog do.

    Alexi is the emptiest suit this state has had in office since Obama.

  31. - bored now - Wednesday, Oct 6, 10 @ 4:13 pm:

    Responsa: i only know of two debates scheduled. have they happened yet? i’m less confident of my prediction, though, since polls have started to show alexi ahead. and, you know, calling kirk a coward reinforces one of my messages and basically dares him to show up.

    he *is* a coward; he’s shown that time and time again. it was no surprise that, about a month ago, his campaign removed me from their mailing list (which i did not ask to be on). i just kept forwarding them to a friend in the campaign…

  32. - OneMan - Wednesday, Oct 6, 10 @ 4:14 pm:

    Cincinnatus it was a Ford Escape hybrid I think (can’t get an Escalade for $25k) and it was mentioned in the previous Rove ad

  33. - bored now - Wednesday, Oct 6, 10 @ 4:15 pm:

    Deep South: i’ve heard wonderfully varying definitions of what is downstate. i’ve heard south of i-88 before, which i’m sure you’d reject. me, i don’t care. i’m uncomfortable with the tolerance of corruption in illinois and the concentration of power whether north or south of whatever interstate you wish to name. i guess i just don’t understand these “midwestern values,” even after 10 years of living here…

  34. - Cincinnatus - Wednesday, Oct 6, 10 @ 4:28 pm:


    Hybrid? My bad. Does the car cost $5k, and $20k for the extension cord?


  35. - titan - Wednesday, Oct 6, 10 @ 4:30 pm:

    Isn’t Rockford “downstate” by Chicago standards?

  36. - Cincinnatus - Wednesday, Oct 6, 10 @ 4:36 pm:

    Lemont, is, titan…

  37. - RMW Stanford - Wednesday, Oct 6, 10 @ 4:45 pm:

    Tax me more,

    The Republican party was of an established party in 1860, than any of the third parties now are. In the previous election of 1856, The Republican finished second in Presidental election and won 90 seats in the House of Reps, or 38% of the House. In the 1858 House election the Republican party won 116 votes and the Speaker of the House was a Republican. It would seem to me the party with the largest number of House seats would be considered to be an established part.

  38. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Oct 6, 10 @ 4:48 pm:

    Cincy, Obama’s an empty suit? You sound like all those dumb Democrats who said Reagan was stupid.

    When you get whupped, son, you take it like a man and learn from it, not whine.

  39. - Cincinnatus - Wednesday, Oct 6, 10 @ 5:19 pm:


    I’ll just go by the accounts given to be by at least three people who served with him in the GA for many years, and my own observations. Not a whine, trust me. He’s the president… for now.

  40. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Oct 6, 10 @ 5:55 pm:

    Cincy, whatever dude, you’re just being a mindless partisan.

    So I should believe that three Mushrooms in Springfield have the real lowdown skinny that Obama has no game, rather than my lying eyes, which see a guy who actually clawed his way to the Top Job on the planet?

    It’s so small. Dumb Dems said it about Reagan and W, too. What an amazing phenomenon, all these dumb empty suits keep on winning.

  41. - Not enough - Wednesday, Oct 6, 10 @ 6:19 pm:

    Kirk’s ad. Couple the Bright Start loss with Alexi (not debating whether it’s 100 percent true) losing the Broadway Bank. It’s the same story. Alexi (or his family) put all of their eggs in the real estate market (remember only 5 percent of community banks went under, 95 percent didn’t). It tanked (which some people were predicting) and the FDIC took over the bank. So a guy who is a Treasurer loses money on Bright Start, runs his family’s business into the ground, and HE’S the financial expert? That ad would couple his “experience” both as an elected official and as a private business man. That’s two strikes, can Illinois afford a third? I’m Mark Kirk yada yada yada…..

  42. - easynow - Thursday, Oct 7, 10 @ 8:03 am:

    Watch it, Kirk. American Crossroads GPS won’t tell anyone who its funders are (even if they are foreign countries). Your leadership of the US/China Working Group starts to feel convenient, given the huge media buy being made for you by this anonymous group.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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