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You can’t go without an invite

Monday, Feb 8, 2016

* SJ-R

President Barack Obama’s speech in the Illinois House chamber at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday will not be open to the public, officials confirmed on Monday.

The only people allowed inside the chamber will be elected officials, people with credentials and invited guests, said Steve Brown, a spokesman for Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan. […]

White House officials said Monday that after the speech Obama “will visit with a crowd of supporters, stakeholders, and volunteers gathered to watch his remarks at a local viewing location. The president will thank this group for their support, from the beginning of his political career to today.” The officials did not specify the location of that viewing location.

* The “local viewing location” is the Hoogland, according to a friend of mine who offered me his ticket. I declined.

So far, anyway, it looks like local media will be confined to a Senate hearing room, so I doubt I’ll be going to that, either.

I just don’t see the point in going through all that hassle unless I can get onto the House floor, and I really doubt I can do that.

Your thoughts?

…Adding… A few “press pool” reporters will be allowed access to the House floor, but I have zero interest in that and likely no shot of getting in even if I wanted to assume that role, which I don’t.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


39 Comments
  1. - Frenchie Mendoza - Monday, Feb 8, 16 @ 2:00 pm:

    Happy he’s coming back for the speech — and really happy he’s spending time with supporters after the speech.

    And I’m glad he declined the inane “beer” with Rauner. Please.


  2. - Honeybear - Monday, Feb 8, 16 @ 2:00 pm:

    Love of God, someone get Rich and Oscar a floor ticket! (Oscar! Please be quiet! The President is speaking! No, you can’t go over to the mansion later!)


  3. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Feb 8, 16 @ 2:00 pm:

    Rich, you’re On It.

    The point is to witness history, in the Chamber, to be present to something special Illinois might not see in any of our lifetimes again.

    Seeing thru a monitor, or at a “watch party”, (watch party sounds interesting) isn’t experiencing the history.


  4. - Dilemma - Monday, Feb 8, 16 @ 2:01 pm:

    I completely understand your decision, but at the same time, I will miss your reporting on the hassles associated with attending and whether it was worth it.


  5. - Anonymous - Monday, Feb 8, 16 @ 2:02 pm:

    Will he be making the speech from the same back bench he spent all he Senate time on?


  6. - RNUG - Monday, Feb 8, 16 @ 2:07 pm:

    You could always ask Rauner or Poe for an invitation … Or maybe your “friends” at IPI?

    Seriously, if you can’t be there in the chamber, not worth the hassle IMO.


  7. - Mouthy - Monday, Feb 8, 16 @ 2:08 pm:

    When President Carter spoke Speaker Redmond issued approximately the same rules. They were very strict and serious that nobody unauthorized was to go on the House floor. The Speaker’s secretary snuck in using the East side door next to the page bench to get a look. As soon as the Speaker found out he fired her on the spot. Everybody felt tremendously bad as she was well liked.
    I’d skip it myself. The least they could have done was set aside a few seats in one of the galleries, to be given away, by lottery, to everyday common folks. You know, the ones that put them in office to serve the public good..


  8. - My New Handle - Monday, Feb 8, 16 @ 2:09 pm:

    Could make a real “Fear and Loathing in…” story. Wish Hunter were still around to “cover” it.


  9. - Anonymous - Monday, Feb 8, 16 @ 2:11 pm:

    So he’s going to follow his speech about need for bipartisanship with a campaign-style event and declining to meet one-on-one with the Republican governor?


  10. - Rich Miller - Monday, Feb 8, 16 @ 2:11 pm:

    ===Could make a real “Fear and Loathing in…” story===

    Getting stoned on a park bench blocks from the Capitol wouldn’t make for much of a story.


  11. - 47th Ward - Monday, Feb 8, 16 @ 2:12 pm:

    “We were somewhere around Sherman, on the edge of the Capitol, when the drugs began to take hold.”


  12. - Just Me - Monday, Feb 8, 16 @ 2:21 pm:

    Don’t they know who you are?!?!?!

    Seriously though — Years later do you think you may regret not being there that day? If so, you should go. Consider covering not the President, but the excitement around having the President in the chamber.


  13. - DecaturGuy - Monday, Feb 8, 16 @ 2:22 pm:

    what the what? you used to work for madigan and you can’t get a ticket. geez


  14. - frisbee - Monday, Feb 8, 16 @ 2:26 pm:

    ===Getting stoned on a park bench blocks from the Capitol wouldn’t make for much of a story. ===

    Of course not, it would be commentary on the state of affairs of the commander in chief coming back to Abe’s stomping grounds to preach bipartisianship to a group of political hounds who fear the ever present campaign cash leashes tightening around their necks.


  15. - Give Me A Break - Monday, Feb 8, 16 @ 2:33 pm:

    Can’t wait for wait for Mapes to check him for popcorn before he goes in.


  16. - My New Handle - Monday, Feb 8, 16 @ 2:33 pm:

    Being stoned was a veneer, but those books seemed to get to some insights that still ring true to me, for example:
    “In a closed society where everybody’s guilty, the only crime is getting caught. In a world of thieves, the only final sin is stupidity.”
    I realize this is not the approach of most reporters or journalists, but it can at least make the depression over the situation a little more entertaining.


  17. - Robert the Bruce - Monday, Feb 8, 16 @ 2:34 pm:

    Will a transcript of remarks be released? I’m hoping so.


  18. - Anonymous - Monday, Feb 8, 16 @ 2:36 pm:

    Borrow the Obamamobile and park it on the bottom steps of the north entrance 10 minutes before the start. How could they refuse you entrance? Unless you have a cigarette holder and are waving around an open beer can, that is.


  19. - silent Majority - Monday, Feb 8, 16 @ 2:47 pm:

    So what exactly is his purpose in coming here since it appears that no one outside of the “chosen” will get a chance to listen (if they wanted to or not)? Other than tie up resources better spend dealing with other matters (you name them… there’s plenty) what is his purpose here?.


  20. - The Dude Abides - Monday, Feb 8, 16 @ 2:57 pm:

    @Anonymous, do you think for one minute that anything constructive could come out of Obama meeting with Rauner? The first words out of Rauner’s mouth when he was told the President was coming was that he disagreed with him but would welcome him. In case you haven’t been paying close attention the past year Rauner has declared all out war on the Democratic party in Illinois. He only wants to meet with the President so that it will make him appear reasonable with the electorate. He isn’t a reasonable man though, obviously.


  21. - Harvest76 - Monday, Feb 8, 16 @ 3:05 pm:

    So the people’s house is closed to the people unless they are people that know people? How oligarchical.


  22. - Katiedid - Monday, Feb 8, 16 @ 3:05 pm:

    ==it appears that no one outside of the “chosen” will get a chance to listen==

    Anyone can watch online on the BlueRoomStream site or on the House audio/video link. BlueRoom already has the link ready to go.


  23. - DuPage - Monday, Feb 8, 16 @ 3:06 pm:

    Will it be televised or on radio?


  24. - Katiedid - Monday, Feb 8, 16 @ 3:10 pm:

    ==Will it be televised or on radio? ==

    The news reports I read said it will be on “local” news stations, but I don’t know if that meant Springfield stations or if Chicago stations will be carrying it as well. WBEZ often broadcasts events like that as well.


  25. - Anonymous - Monday, Feb 8, 16 @ 3:41 pm:

    Paraphrasing - the powerful person isn’t the one who gets a call from the president. It’s the one who says ‘tell him I’ll call him back”.


  26. - Just Me - Monday, Feb 8, 16 @ 3:48 pm:

    To those complaining about the House being closed: It is worth noting that you can’t get into the U.S. House or U.S. Senate without an invite either any day of the year. If you want a ticket to the State of the Union you have to be an extra-special guest too.


  27. - Wensicia - Monday, Feb 8, 16 @ 3:49 pm:

    I hope a transcript of the speech is released †o the media.


  28. - AC - Monday, Feb 8, 16 @ 3:55 pm:

    A visit from the President that only includes a special few, that includes no public appearances or speeches, doesn’t seem as special. In fact it seems, at least a little, like we live in a state of perpetual fear. I know it was just TV, and everything is scripted, but in “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” I did wonder if the President was even allowed to leave the white house. I know we have good reason to keep security as tight as possible for these types of visits, but I also wonder if we’ll soon be so consumed by fear that the President will not be allowed to leave their bunker while they’re in office.


  29. - My New Handle - Monday, Feb 8, 16 @ 4:02 pm:

    After reading Rich’s opening comments from this blog’s Nov. 5, 2008 “Barack Obama Open Thread, it seems odd Rich would not get a personal invite from the President.


  30. - Mama - Monday, Feb 8, 16 @ 4:05 pm:

    Rich, if you don’t go as “press”, won’t you miss out on getting the feel of the room & the legislators first thoughts on Obama’s speech?


  31. - Curious - Monday, Feb 8, 16 @ 4:11 pm:

    How do you get tickets for the Hoogland?


  32. - IllinoisBoi - Monday, Feb 8, 16 @ 4:14 pm:

    How many people can the galleries in the House seat? Not very many, if I recall.


  33. - Marty Funkhouser - Monday, Feb 8, 16 @ 4:24 pm:

    “Will he be making the speech from the same back bench he spent all he Senate time on?”

    Sick burn, Anon 2:02. Especially considering he was twice elected to be, you know, the president of the United States.


  34. - The Dude Abides - Monday, Feb 8, 16 @ 5:29 pm:

    You all can watch it on TV if you want. Chill out.


  35. - The Dude Abides - Monday, Feb 8, 16 @ 5:31 pm:

    He didn’t even buy the Presidency that he won twice, unlike the guy who bought the Governorship in Illinois.


  36. - Anon III - Monday, Feb 8, 16 @ 5:38 pm:

    White House officials said … Obama “will visit with a crowd of supporters, stakeholders, and volunteers gathered to watch his remarks at a local viewing location. The president will thank this group for their support, from the beginning of his political career to today.”

    Better late than never is serious understatement in this context.


  37. - Blue dog dem - Monday, Feb 8, 16 @ 8:07 pm:

    Has a retired U.S. President ever gone on to become either a governor or mayor?


  38. - Been There - Monday, Feb 8, 16 @ 9:19 pm:

    Besides the House Chambers what are the rules for the rest of the Capitol that day? There are committee hearings later that day.


  39. - Harold's Left-wing Dinner - Monday, Feb 8, 16 @ 10:12 pm:

    Blue Dog, I think JQA was the only former president to make a run for governor (MA), and he lost. Don’t think anyone has ever run for mayor.


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