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Maybe Obama ought to stay away for a while

Tuesday, Jan 29, 2008

* The governor’s office was not amused yesterday when Lynn Sweet wrote this on her blog

The Obama Illinois campaign, in advance of the Feb. 5 balloting–where the Clinton team is making a run for Illinois delegates–is ramping up, with all the top Democratic office holders stumping for Barack Obama starting on Monday with one exception–Gov. Blagojevich. There’s just too much heat on Blagojevich

* I linked to the piece yesterday and got an e-mail from the governor’s office, but I was already out of the office and didn’t see it until much later. Sweet, however, received a terse phone call…

Blagojevich spokesman Abby Ottenhoff called to say that the Obama campaign has given Blagojevich an assignment, to woo six Democratic governors for Obama.

She also said that a new poll from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch shows the governor has better ratings than the legislature and aked that this be noted. The six governors on Blagojevich’s list are…

Freudenthal (WY)
Schweitzer (MT)
Bredesen (TN)
Ritter (CO)
Richardson (NM)
Henry (OK)

* Anyway, I told subscribers this morning and the esteemed Union League Club attendees of my somewhat tongue in cheek suggestion for the Obama campaign.

Since just about everybody who is anybody in Chicago politics has taken money from Rezko, including four of the five statewides that held that press conference for Obama yesterday (plus people like former Republican Gov. Jim Edgar - here’s a handy list), and since the Rezko story appears to be really heating up again, perhaps Sen. Obama’s campaign ought to just steer clear of Illinois until after Super Tuesday.

Thoughts on this?

- Posted by Rich Miller        

37 Comments
  1. - Just Sayin' - Tuesday, Jan 29, 08 @ 11:01 am:

    Pennsylvania’s Gov. Rendell, who just endorsed Hillary, is wrapped up with Rezko too. OK, not exactly wrapped up, but getting grief.

    http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/state/s_549736.html


  2. - GoBearsss - Tuesday, Jan 29, 08 @ 11:02 am:

    Worst is that not all of those statewides have given all the money back, but that’s a different story.

    I think Mr. Obama was unfortunately drawn into this Rezko stuff, and Hillary’s campaign had a large hand in it. Their campaign’s smear outpost/blog has been drumming it up for months, and their backgrounders to the press finally found some gullible journalists.

    In the end, it is a problem for Obama. But a small problem, considering there is not really any connection between him and any corruption.

    But the more Obama sticks around here, the less time he can spend elsewhere and be more useful.


  3. - kate - Tuesday, Jan 29, 08 @ 11:06 am:

    Cook Cty assessor Houlihan already did enough for Obama. He fixed the taxes on his house. Read it at http://jimhoulihanandstoges.blogspot.com


  4. - IncrediblyDumberThanYouThink - Tuesday, Jan 29, 08 @ 11:08 am:

    Holy Spinozoid Batman, the SpinSister Slim wants us to believe Obama asked Blaggodiot to call Bill Richardson? Come on guys you can do better. Next they will say Obama wants them to call former Cubs Managers….Hellooooo Dusty.


  5. - Wumpus - Tuesday, Jan 29, 08 @ 11:13 am:

    So Obama is clean of Rezko? Hs anyone esssplained that whole real estate deal?

    WIll his wife become an issue, given the huge pay raise she got after he was elected? I knwo she is intelligent, but that was a pretty hefty increase.


  6. - Don't Worry, Be Happy - Tuesday, Jan 29, 08 @ 11:23 am:

    Why is Abby, as a state employee, serving as a spokesperson on a campaign issue?

    Or was Abby outside the building, emailing from her personal blackberry while taking a vacation day?


  7. - plutocrat03 - Tuesday, Jan 29, 08 @ 11:27 am:

    Still not clear as to whether BO is clear of corruption.

    It kind of feels like a soap opera plot… Who was responsible for the meteoric rise is spousal salaries, did the assessor put in a fix for the property taxes on the old homestead (remember Rep. Guiterrez?), Is there something that supports the story of the house purchase… did he really express a preference for oatmeal over toast for breakfast? Stay tuned in for the next episode of “As the Candidate Turns”

    Looks like Illinois politics as usual. The machine supported candidate gets all the breaks (and the riches as well).

    I guess it all boils down to your own definition of corruption.

    One way to put things in perspective is to ask how many newspaper and electronic media reporters have become millionaires while working their jobs in comparison to Illinois politicians?


  8. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Jan 29, 08 @ 11:29 am:

    If Obama wants to further tarnish his image, he would handle the Rezko situation he faces just like any other politician. And that is what he is doing, isn’t he?

    Obama is supposed to be something special. His Rezko connection is an opportunity to show voters that he is indeed something special. Obama either has something to hide and you don’t care about it, or he is just playing politics and you don’t care about it.

    Either way, those who are willing to let Obama play stupid, or naive, or willing to let Obama slide on this one are the ones who wish to be duped, want to be deceived or are cynical.

    Come off your high horse Barak and start telling us the truth. No more games.


  9. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Jan 29, 08 @ 11:32 am:

    He should stay away no matter what. Last poll I saw had him up by 29 in Illinois. I bet he wins by more, with loads of Independents and Republicans pulling Dem ballots.

    His business is in the South, Missouri, Minnesota and California.


  10. - GoBearsss - Tuesday, Jan 29, 08 @ 11:37 am:

    Dumber - is your boss going to return those Rezko donations?

    Or is it still “Ancient History”?


  11. - OneMan - Tuesday, Jan 29, 08 @ 11:52 am:

    It makes me think of the “Bart to the Future” episode of the Simpsons
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bart_to_the_Future

    Where president Lisa sends Bart to Camp David to work on making the country more cool.


  12. - Angry Chicagoan - Tuesday, Jan 29, 08 @ 11:58 am:

    I don’t get all the tub-thumping about Rezko and Obama, other than the gullibility and laziness of mainstream media journalists in this country. Obama has returned every cent that ever went anywhere near Rezko or his associates. He’s been beyond open. And yet, VM, you’re reverting to type by tarring him with the same brush.

    If you want legitimate reasons to go after Obama, there’s material, but it isn’t in his character. His health care plans are vague and don’t seem to make a lot of sense, he thinks aloud too much, he underestimates the extreme hyper-partisanship of Beltway Republicans.

    But here you are, buying into the Clinton slime, which they themselves learned from the Beltway Republicans. And it’s the same kind of slime Blago so loves to inflict on our own Illinois Republicans. Whatever it is, and wherever it comes from, it’s slime, and you shouldn’t be swayed by it.


  13. - Macbeth - Tuesday, Jan 29, 08 @ 12:01 pm:

    Did Abbey fail her web-based ethics test?

    Last time I took the test (and it wasn’t long before I quit the state for good) campaign politics on state time was a big, big, big, big no-no.

    Our agency’s GC advised us not to talk elections — any elections — in the hall lest we be overheard and reported to the OIG.


  14. - North of I-80 - Tuesday, Jan 29, 08 @ 12:09 pm:

    Best solution for Obama [and Rod]: spring Rezko from custody so he can flee to Syria and hide out until after Nov election…. tell him not to take a train through Colorado, especially if delirious. By the time Rezko resurfaces, it’ll be too late + no one, other than the Governor, will care.


  15. - Rose Law Firm - Tuesday, Jan 29, 08 @ 12:19 pm:

    Seriously…with Clinton in the race is any scandal involving a shady land deal really going to matter? Come on.


  16. - IncrediblyDumberThanYouThink - Tuesday, Jan 29, 08 @ 12:33 pm:

    Speaking of SpinSisters when is Capt Fax throwing the big awards bash?
    Or did he think he could escape unnoticed.
    BTW Mr/Ms GoBares —- It Is IncrediblyDumber…. we out did ourselves with the CTA silliness.

    BTW x2 we are currently bossless so if you have some big idea that won’t require fee sharing with a criminal defense lawyers just out the details under the big rock outside Capt. Fax’s mansion and our people will pick it up


  17. - Vole - Tuesday, Jan 29, 08 @ 12:40 pm:

    Did Gov. Blagojevich call those governors to support Futuregen or the future generation?

    I am much more concerned about how much support Obama will give coal to liquids, corn ethanol, etc. than I am to the Rezko deal. But is there a connection to whom or what interests Obama might be indebted should be become president? From my perspective the pay to play system is alive and well at all levels of government. I am skeptical that anyone is going to clean up any of it. The power of money will continue to dominate and Obama will like all politicians cozy up to the elites. Illinois is just a crappy symptom of much bigger problems with democracy in America.


  18. - Gregor - Tuesday, Jan 29, 08 @ 12:48 pm:

    Whatever you do, Senator O, leave Rod out of it. Until the election is over, treat Rod like any family with a crazy relative trussed up in the attic until company leaves.


  19. - Reading on Walden - Tuesday, Jan 29, 08 @ 12:55 pm:

    Obama does not need to avoid Illinois because of Rezko. He needs to campaign vigorously in states like California and any place else that he has an even chance of winning. Illinois is the least of his worries but avoiding Illinois for “Rezko” reasons: Nah. He has a real chance to get very close to the required number of delegates to win the nomination. “Rezko” is a non-issue for Obama. Now concerning the guv, “Rezko” is very much an issue. A very serious issue.


  20. - Ghost - Tuesday, Jan 29, 08 @ 1:11 pm:

    GB it appears the CLinton use of the Rezko stuff backfired big time when that picture of Rezko and the Clintons popped up.

    I agree Obama should focus elsewhere, since I think he can count on IL. besides Bill Clinton is here, and so far he does a great job of drumming up support for Obama.

    Just reprint the Ted kenedy line about Obama being ready to be president from Day One and work elsewhere.

    Exctiting race, may actually come down to the super delegates.


  21. - Deep South - Tuesday, Jan 29, 08 @ 1:11 pm:

    Abby speaking for the governor’s campaign is a huge ethics violation. Someone needs to pick up on that…but then…it’s not as sexy as Rezko….


  22. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Tuesday, Jan 29, 08 @ 1:58 pm:

    Way to go Abby Ottenhoff!!!!!!

    Why don’t you just turn the entire Obama campaign strategy over to Hillary Clinton?

    Whomever made the decision to release this info is no friend of Barack Obama.

    What was she thinking???


  23. - Jake From Elwood - Tuesday, Jan 29, 08 @ 2:21 pm:

    Which is worse: a photograph taken with Rezko or a photograph taken with Blago? Or is it the same thing?


  24. - Anon - Tuesday, Jan 29, 08 @ 2:33 pm:

    Abby should do what Steve Brown does. Go on contract. That way he can speak for the speaker or for the dem party. Not sure if he actually leaves state property but, if he is only on contract, does that matter?


  25. - Prairie Sage - Tuesday, Jan 29, 08 @ 2:52 pm:

    Yes, when is the Golden Horseshoe awards ceremony? Or has it been delayed by the writers’ strike? ;-)

    BTW, although the Obama campaign is saying “no $$ for TV in Illinois” remember that Obama is on TV in Metro East, contesting Missouri, so that should help push up MetroEast turnout.


  26. - Just Sayin' - Tuesday, Jan 29, 08 @ 3:33 pm:

    I doubt Blago has ever met any of those governors but Richardson (who headed the Democratic Governors Association)


  27. - IncrediblyDumberThanYouThink - Tuesday, Jan 29, 08 @ 3:54 pm:

    Hey how did the calls go? Any follow-up?
    Any Governors get the jingle and flip to HRC or better yet McCain.
    What is the over under on how many calls Blaggodiot made? Wanna say: three.


  28. - Mr. Cub - Tuesday, Jan 29, 08 @ 4:04 pm:

    Wish I could’ve been on the line when Blag called Bill Richardson. Yeah, that call happened. Like any of these folks need Rod’s advice on ANYTHING!


  29. - IncrediblyDumberThanYouThink - Tuesday, Jan 29, 08 @ 4:04 pm:

    Perhaps the Blaggodiot should have phoning DC:
    WASHINGTON (Crain’s) — The Energy Department is pulling the plug on the FutureGen project, an experimental, $1.75-billion, super-clean coal-fired power plant slated for Downstate Mattoon.

    The stunning decision, announced by Energy Secretary Sam Bodman in a rancorous meeting with Illinois lawmakers Tuesday morning, comes little more than a month after Illinois won a heated national competition to host the project and one day after President George W. Bush mentioned the technology in his State of the Union speech.


  30. - mjk - Tuesday, Jan 29, 08 @ 4:45 pm:

    I suppose Blago will offer the 6 governors free rides on the CTA>


  31. - Leave Abby Alone - Tuesday, Jan 29, 08 @ 4:57 pm:

    How shrill you can get over Abby making a phone call. Rich made a good point awhile back about how ridiculous it has become when you can’t even discuss the fact you’re running for congress without leaving the state capitol grounds. I’m sure there’s room–even in the feds’ hearts–for comments like Abby’s that have political content but are made on state property.

    Lighten up, Francis, and grab some sun.


  32. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Tuesday, Jan 29, 08 @ 5:15 pm:

    Leave Abby Alone –

    I adore Abby and don’t fault her on ethics.

    I fault whomever gave her the order to make part of Obama’s campaign plan public.

    You an bet those governor’s are getting faxed all of the dirt on Blagojevich and Rezko today, and getting a follow-up call from the Clinton campaign.

    Just plain stupid.


  33. - Anon45 - Tuesday, Jan 29, 08 @ 5:38 pm:

    Rod won’t be calling anyone on Barack’s behalf because:

    a)Rod’s irrelevant
    b)Rod is green with envy over Obama’s rise
    c)Rezko
    d)all the above


  34. - Bud Man - Tuesday, Jan 29, 08 @ 5:42 pm:

    Leave Abby Alone -

    While I agree with the analysis of YDD, I also have to say that when the Gov’s office uses the ethics exam as a poliical issue and sends notices to non-compliant employees threatening discipline, the higher ups in the office must lead by example. If she made the call from her office or on her state blackberry, there should be a public hand slapping for it (media reports). If she used a personal cell phone in the building, the its no bid deal. The hypocricy is the problem!


  35. - Nice Suit - Tuesday, Jan 29, 08 @ 8:49 pm:

    Seeing as how Rod never really networked or interacted with them at any DGA or NGA meetings (you need to show up for that to happen–which happened once so far in his service as Governor), it would be hard to fathom that any of them did little more than give Rod a long distance pat on the head and say “Isn’t that cute? Rod’s calling us for a favor.”

    And quite frankly, Abby should have had more sense than to talk about any work that Rod is doing for Senator Obama.


  36. - Chicago Cynic - Tuesday, Jan 29, 08 @ 10:38 pm:

    Angry Chicagoan,

    About that “Obama has returned every cent…” ummm, you might want to check the story about how this evening he returned yet another $70,000…or perhaps the NBC Nightly News Story about how in effect Rezko subsidized Barack’s purchase of the adjacent lot at 300,000 under market. Trust me, there’s lots there - your Mr. Clean ain’t so clean.

    Returning 70k story
    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/sns-ap-obama-rezko-money,0,7062122.story

    NBC Story
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3032619/#22901959


  37. - David Ormsby - Tuesday, Jan 29, 08 @ 11:45 pm:

    Rezko is radio active. His political donation threaten to poison recipients by degrees of proximity.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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