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Stroger roundup

Wednesday, Mar 15, 2006

· Sun-Times:

Unable to walk, slightly disoriented and slurring his speech, the 76-year-old was alert Tuesday evening but will likely spend the final days of the campaign in a hospital bed, as Democratic Party leaders ponder whether Stroger will eventually have to be replaced on the ballot.

It also caused Stroger’s primary opponent, Forrest Claypool, to pull anti-Stroger ads in favor of those touting Claypool’s own record. Claypool canceled Tuesday night appearances as he wished Stroger a quick recovery. It remained unclear how the illness will affect Claypool’s campaign. […]

But Simon said he would advise Stroger to avoid campaigning and it could be a month or more before Stroger can go back on the job.

· Tribune:

Now, Stroger’s campaign must grapple with convincing the public that their candidate remains fit enough to serve a fourth term.

Bruce Washington, Stroger’s campaign manager, said the campaign strategy would not change even with Stroger in the hospital.

“The campaign is fully engaged and aggressively moving forward with a plan that has been structured,” Washington said late Tuesday. “We’re not changing anything. There’s no issue as far as what the campaign is going to do. […]

Stroger’s illness similarly presents a dilemma for Claypool’s campaign, which must continue to chip away at Stroger’s lead without seeming insensitive or opportunistic. […]

Axelrod said that as a result of Stroger’s condition, he moved up by a day a new Claypool TV ad, one that features Claypool and highlights his newspaper endorsements. The ad replaced one that mocked Stroger’s attack ads and hammered the board president’s record on taxation and management of the county’s health system.

Daily Herald:

Simon, who is also on the county payroll as executive chairman of emergency medicine for the Cook County Bureau of Health Services, said he advised Stroger to go to Rush because all of Stroger’s records are there, because Simon is on staff there and because Rush has expertise in handling stroke sufferers.

Mark Brown:

It seems cold to reduce Cook County Board President John Stroger’s health to the political calculus of the moment, so let’s begin by wishing him a complete and speedy recovery. But when you look at the calendar, there’s really no avoiding the politics of it. […]

Will there be a sympathy vote for Stroger?

Probably some.

Will there be voters who had planned to vote for him who change their minds because of questions about his ability to carry out his duties?

That seems likely, too. […]

It was somewhat disappointing, but not that surprising given past history, that the first confirmation of Stroger’s stroke came at 5 p.m. from Simon, 12 hours after Stroger was first taken from his home to a nearby hospital by Chicago Fire Department paramedics.

Then Stroger’s staff said he had been discharged from that hospital — initially neglecting to mention that he was being transferred to Rush.

While reporters waited in the lobby at Rush for word on Stroger’s condition, his people kept giving reassurances that all his tests had come back “normal,” failing to mention that he’d had a stroke.


The political fallout from County Board President John H. Stroger Jr.’s stroke is huge and far reaching. To say that it could change the future of Cook County is an understatement.

Your turn.

UPDATE: Stroger will stay in the hospital for at least a week.

Cook County Board President John Stroger will likely remain hospitalized next week when voters go to the polls, according to an update issued by Rush University Medical Center

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Curious George - Wednesday, Mar 15, 06 @ 9:18 am:

    Claypool people better remember Ashcroft.
    Voters don’t necessarily appreciate a nice guy.

  2. - Wumpus - Wednesday, Mar 15, 06 @ 9:18 am:

    Should I send flowers to Stroger Hospital, will he get them? I wish him well, but why Rush and not the hospital that bears his name?

  3. - ISU REP - Wednesday, Mar 15, 06 @ 9:33 am:

    Because he didn’t want to wait in line and get poor service…Not that I EVER wish anyone ill, but this might be the best thing to happen to Cook County in my short lifetime…I’d rather have a democrat reformer than a democrat crony…

  4. - So-Called "Austin Mayor" - Wednesday, Mar 15, 06 @ 9:43 am:

    Don’t the questions Mark Brown raised regarding the way that Stroger’s people controlled information give you a sense of deja vu?

    It seems to me that many of the questions that were raised by the Cheney/shotgun incident — questions concerning a deliberate deception of the public about the actions or condition of a public official for that official’s political advantage — apply here.

    Or am I missing something

  5. - Level the Playing Field? - Wednesday, Mar 15, 06 @ 9:44 am:

    Shouldn’t Stroger pull his negative ads as well?

  6. - Ambulance chaser - Wednesday, Mar 15, 06 @ 11:08 am:

    I’m with you, Curious and Level. Why does Stroger’s situation change anything?

  7. - Wow - Wednesday, Mar 15, 06 @ 11:10 am:

    “The best thing to happen in Cook County in a long time?”

    You people are unbelievable. Guess we know who alcoholic wife beater Neil Steinberg wrote his column for today.

    The lack of compassion and decency and respect for a person in the hospital will not play well in the community. Keep pushing that envelope on decency, and it may just push right back at Claypool on Tuesday.

  8. - Praying - Wednesday, Mar 15, 06 @ 11:47 am:

    Mario Moreno as President Pro-tempore? God help us, he has the highest number of “present” votes in Cook County Board History!

  9. - Dem Voting R - Wednesday, Mar 15, 06 @ 12:42 pm:

    It is a tragedy when any public figure suffers in this horrible way. Israel reels from its own leader having a stroke so close to an election. But at least they have the chance to absorb the news, grieve and then make an informed decision. We will be left with indecision, incrimination, caution, opportunism and confusion. Anybody’s guess on how this will play out is just that - a stab in the dark. Best wishes to a man who served us well for so long. But somewhere between now and Tuesday, each voter will have to look to the future.

  10. - Making The Wheels Turn - Wednesday, Mar 15, 06 @ 12:55 pm:

    From somebody who has a family member who has been affected by very small strokes (no mental imparement, fortunately), I know pretty much what the Stroger family is facing right about now, only they’ve got all the enormous Cook County government political pressure tossed in as well.

    My betting is that it’s only a matter of time before somebody within the immediate family raises the most critical point that for John Stroger, it’s either (a) Cook County politics, or (b) Family. And it really does come down to that.

    When I see the “unable to walk” part of the article, and having gotten an unwanted primer course in rehab for senior citizen stroke patients, I have watched and come to understand that it’s a long, long, long road back to even a partial recovery - and that there are few full (100%) recoveries out there.

    I’m not a Stroger supporter, but I really wish Mr. Stroger and his family the best in his recovery, and for him, I hope it’s a full recovery. I just can’t see how he can accomplish that and be at the top of the Cook County food chain at the same time.

    Good luck, Mr. Stroger, and get well soon.

  11. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Mar 15, 06 @ 1:10 pm:

    Mr. Stroger has done his time. His health is more important than his political career. He should step down and let Cook county move on.

    Lane Evans is the other guy clinging to power but unable to do his job anymore. For crying out loud, he’s been unable to accomplish anything for years due to his illness.

    Folks like Evans and perhaps Stroger give public servants a bad image when they behave like they are some kind of God-annointed representative that should die in office. For the sake of the work needing to be done, they must step down when it is time to do so.

    I’d hate to think we can be seeing a future version of “Weekend at Bernie’s” where Bernie is an elected official whose corpse is propped up by his staffers and hangers-on. No political office is that important, and political power needs to be brought into priority within one’s life. These men need to buck-up and step down!

  12. - Establishment Republican - Wednesday, Mar 15, 06 @ 1:29 pm:

    First, let’s all keep Mr. Stroger and his family in our thoughts and hope he recovers. Strokes are horrible things as many of us have unfortunately seen with our own family members.

    Looking towards political realities though, how long is it going to be until Stroger’s allies claim that Claypool’s negative campaign is responsible for the stroke?

  13. - insider - Wednesday, Mar 15, 06 @ 1:48 pm:

    You are such a piece of work, wow. First you insensitively belittle Neil Steinberg’s struggle with alcohol, and in the very next sentence lash out at ISU REP for demonstrating a “lack of compassion and decency and respect for a person in the hospital.” So only those individuals fighting health problems in the hospital are worthy of compassion and decency, and it’s perfectly ok to ridicule someone’s addiction problems in public?

    I’d like to know how you keep the cognitive dissonance from exploding your skull.

  14. - ISU REP - Wednesday, Mar 15, 06 @ 2:28 pm:

    He’s a corrupt politician, i’m sorry if people don’t like hearing that or think it’s kicking a guy while he’s down. I wish for his speedy recovery and his exit from public service just as quit. I’ve lived in the urban county (Cook) and the rural county (McLean)…I’ve noticed a big difference between the two, sorry if you Stroger lovers don’t like to hear it but Steinberg was saying is true. Stroger is part of the corrupt old boys network that is more worried about lining their own pockets and the pockets of their friends than they are about government and the welfare of the citizens of the county.

  15. - loyalmtgreenwood - Wednesday, Mar 15, 06 @ 3:16 pm:

    Hey Rich — why not include the Southtown Economist in your roundup?

  16. - Show Your true Colors - Wednesday, Mar 15, 06 @ 3:58 pm:

    ISU Rep, You truly have shown your true colors as an Immature little boy

  17. - Wow - Wednesday, Mar 15, 06 @ 6:05 pm:

    Cognitive dissonance? Sorry, i’m just a dumb Stroger lackey, I don’t know what that is.

    If you want to stick for Steinberg, that’s fine. Watch the blowback over the nedxt couple of days. It’s coming. And it’s coming from people who may not have been fired up before, but are now.

    Steinberg’s b.s. is relevant because he went on TV after his return from beating his wife, asking everyone for sympathy to his very public medical problems. But given the chance to repay that same sympathy, he chose to be snarky, crude and racist (only black when picking peoples’ pockets?).

    I hope you and all the other Claypool supporters play up the health angle as much as possible. Quote Steinberg and invite him to speak at a Claypool rally.

    I knew some people weren’t voting for Stroger anyway. I didn’t know that you would let a wife beating alcoholic lead the charge to bash him while he was down.

    Claypool. Mell. Steinberg. The Tribune. What a great group of “reformers.”

  18. - Jimmy P. - Wednesday, Mar 15, 06 @ 6:42 pm:

    OK, now you`ve piqued my interest. Blowback over Neil Steinberg? What form will this take, an African-American boycott of the newspaper? You would do best to tred very carefully here, so far Stroger has picked up a sizeable sympathy vote, that could be in jeopardy if his supporters are viewed as bullies? Scratch the surface of any minor political squabble in this town and you`ll find racial motives at its` base so be exceedingly cautious here.

  19. - Wow - Wednesday, Mar 15, 06 @ 7:56 pm:

    I know nothing about organized blowback. I just listened to WVON all day and heard caller after caller angrier than ever.

  20. - President of the FFCC - Wednesday, Mar 15, 06 @ 9:44 pm:


    Where to begin?

    Wumpus: Thats just dumb. He first went to the hospital closest to his home, then went to his personal physician’s hospital? STROGER HOSPITAL bears his name because he fought his rear off for years to get a better facility built, which he did.

    Level: Stroger pulled his negatives last night. Period. You know, if you’re going to be negative and accusatory, at least educate yourself first.

    So-called Austin: Get real. The updates were given, as they should be, by…oh, I don’t know…DOCTORS?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! The Stroger staff, from what I heard, got a bad report early, gave it to clamoring, pushy, cynical press, then held until it could get good, reliable information. Of course, I could see where you should call on them to do it by osmosis. Well, not really.

    THE STEINBERG THING: I have taken some time to think about this and I see how one could think that Steinberg was right. If you okay with the fact that an alcoholic, wife-beating columnist could go so far in personally insulting a man (ANY man), then I guess I understand. I understand that you’re an idiot, that is.

    I have addressed a bunch of people I don’t know, but, now, I’d like to introduce you to someone with whom I am somewhat familiar.






  21. - Jimmy P. - Wednesday, Mar 15, 06 @ 10:02 pm:

    This response is for Wow. I can appreciate that callers to WVON would be very angry with Neil Steinberg. On a completely different topic, the Tribune Sunday Magazine will profile WVON on March 19th and the promotional blurb claims WVON plans to become a 24/7 station in the near future.

  22. - Jimmy P. - Wednesday, Mar 15, 06 @ 10:11 pm:

    As expected, a group of African-American religious leaders held a vigil outside of Rush Hospital tonight for President Stroger and they did suggest a boycott of the Sun-Times if columnist Neil Steinberg does not offer an apology for today`s column.

  23. - Bill Baar - Thursday, Mar 16, 06 @ 5:48 am:

    I felt sorry for Stroger watching him on TV last week. He looked awfully frail and I just thought why don’t guys know when to call it quits.

    And then you find this, below, from The Broken Heart of Rogers Park,

    Blognotes: Dr. Simon makes $391,550 a year with the county government at John H. Stroger Hospital as Mr. Stroger’s personal doctor. Why didn’t Mr. Stroger go to Rush Medical Center be treated? Sure doesn’t show confidence in his own ship.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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