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Question of the day

Monday, Jan 28, 2008

Tell us about the latest political mailers you’ve received, ads you’ve seen or heard, etc.

- Posted by Rich Miller   91 Comments      


Lead, follow, or get out of the way

Monday, Jan 28, 2008

* My syndicated newspaper column this week takes a look at how a looming national recession is spurring a hopelessly divided Washington, DC to take unifed action. And then I compare it to the current situation here in Illinois. The conclusion…

The capital plan will create hundreds of thousands of jobs all over Illinois, either directly or indirectly.

It will help cushion the blow of an economic downturn. Heck, even if nothing bad happens, it still will be hugely beneficial to the economy and to ordinary, everyday citizens who drive on those dilapidated roads and bridges, send their kids to crumbling schools and ride on rickety rail lines.

If Washington, D.C., politicians can get their act together, surely Springfield can.

The governor needs to decide whether he wants to be a silly, can’t-do buffoon who lives to score cheap political points, or a real leader.

He needs to do whatever it takes to get this done.

And if he can’t lead, he ought to get out of the way.

* Meanwhile, Kurt Erickson plays “Answer Man”…

Q: People always complain about the goofy things Blagojevich says and does. Is he the only one who acts this way?

A: Absolutely. Most lawmakers are very reasonable. For example, state Rep. Kenneth Dunkin, D-Chicago, recently introduced legislation that would ban a pedestrian from using a cell phone while crossing the street.

Q: Since Blagojevich previously served in the Illinois House and in Congress, wouldn’t it make sense that he’d know how to deal with the General Assembly?

A: You’d think. But, in a stop last week in Decatur, he made it clear that he’d prefer not having to deal with those pesky lawmakers. Here’s what he said: “I must confess, I kind of wish I could do just about everything by myself, because I feel Illinois would be a heck of a lot better.”

* Bernie’s column is also pretty funny, but probably not intentionally…

Like lots of folks, U.S. Rep. PHIL HARE, D-Rock Island, is worried that unless a capital projects bill is passed by the Illinois General Assembly, billions in federal matching dollars for highways and bridges will be lost.

To express that view, Hare told me in a visit to Springfield Friday, he has tried to contact Gov. ROD BLAGOJEVICH many times.

“Well, I haven’t talked to the governor,” Hare said. “I’ve sent three letters and made a number of calls.”

How many times did he call?

“Eighteen times,” he said.

He initially estimated those calls were made over the last four or five months, but when asked again, he said they may stretch back to last February.

* Related stuff, compiled by Kevin…

* Free rides for seniors? Why not for all?

* Letter from Congress: Build Illinois infrastructure

* A million here, a million there adds up to mystery

* Statehouse Insider

- Posted by Rich Miller   48 Comments      


New poll shows support for senior freebie plan

Monday, Jan 28, 2008

* The Post-Dispatch has a new poll out, and many of you are not going to like some of the results.

For instance, when asked…

Illinois law has recently been changed to require that senior citizens be allowed to ride free on all local public transit systems. What’s your opinion?

71 percent said they agreed with the plan, and just 18 percent said they disagreed.

* Also, 42 percent said they had a favorable opinion of the governor (double the results in the last poll), while just 37 percent said the same about the Illinois Legislature. 54 percent said they viewed Dick Durbin in a favorable light.

* 41 percent approved of Blagojevich’s job performance, while 59 percent disapproved. That ain’t great.

* But, when asked…

Gov. Rod Blagojevich has said universal health care coverage for Illinoisans is the most important issue facing the state. What’s your opinion?

52 percent agreed that it was the most important issue while just 33 percent disagreed.

Go read the whole poll and discuss these and other results.

…Adding… The poll may have a bit of good news for Blagojevich, but Obama doesn’t want him around

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.

Blagojevich’s name is surfacing in too many corruption investigations, including that of indicted Tony Rezko, a major Blagojevich fund-raiser who has also raised money for Obama. With Rezko surfacing as a campaign issue for Obama–and with Blagojevich’s own problems, no wonder he won’t be at the Monday press conference in Chicago.

- Posted by Rich Miller   44 Comments      


The ol’ switcheroo

Monday, Jan 28, 2008

* This is one of the older tricks in the political playbook…

[GOP Congressional candidate Chris Lauzen] won the fundraising battle in the third quarter, raising $536,505 and thereby beating Oberweis at his own game.

Much of that money consisted of a $324,750 loan from Lauzen himself that he took out Sept. 27 — just three days before the reporting period ended. Curiously, he repaid that loan Oct. 1, which begs the question: Why did he need the loan? To maintain the appearance of being able to keep up with a man he accuses of buying the election with “big money and big insider establishment clout?”

Yep. That would be the answer. He wanted it to look like he had the personal finances to keep up with Oberweis. But then he repaid the loan a few days later, so he apparently doesn’t have the bucks to spend.

* Meanwhile

Fundraising slowed in the fourth quarter for Jay Footlik in his bid to win the Democratic nomination in the 10th Congressional District.

Footlik… raised about $130,000 since Oct. 1 and had about the same amount on hand, according to the federal report he filed. Footlik, who returned home to the suburbs to run for Congress, had raised about a half-million relatively quickly last year.

His primary opponent, Dan Seals, had nearly five times that for the stretch run leading up to the Feb. 5 election.

* And

In the world of campaign finance, money is often the barometer of strength.

By those terms and based on latest financial reports, Aaron Schock is looking like Superman compared to his opponents, having raised more than $800,000 for his congressional campaign to date with more fundraisers already planned. And John Morris, a professional fundraiser by trade, has raised just more than half that amount, nearly exclusively in individual contributions.

Jim McConoughey, on the other hand, raised only about $121,000 and is indebted to himself to the tune of about $270,000. He’s got $47,000 cash on hand, but about $44,000 in outstanding bills.

* More congressional stories, compiled by Kevin…

* Campaign director would pick Lauzen

* 14th Congressional District starting from scratch

* A rosy Rose Bowl remembrance

* 6th Dist. candidates talk economy

* Walls seeks No. 1 spot in the 1st

* In Illinois, Super Tuesday Will Be Even Bigger

* NARAL mailer blasting Congressman Lipinski

- Posted by Rich Miller   3 Comments      


Morning shorts

Monday, Jan 28, 2008

* Union Rates Increase in 2007

* How cash, clout transform Chicago neighborhoods

* Changes to smoking ban smoldering

* Cook Co. clerk: Election is drawing young voters

* Obama felt in state’s attorney race

* State’s attorney candidates’ forum focuses on Burge

* Untruths and Consequences

* Cook state’s attorney candidates,tout plans allies as primary nears

* Durbin a tough test for GOP in Senate race

* U. of Illinois builds its first eco-friendly residence hall

* Romney’s son visits Twin Cities with confident

- Posted by Kevin Fanning   2 Comments      


This just in… Rezko arrested on reported bond violation

Monday, Jan 28, 2008

* This can’t be good for Barack Obama’s post South Carolina momentum…

Antoin “Tony” Rezko, a key fundraiser for Gov. Blagojevich and other Illinois politicians, was arrested early today by federal agents after prosecutors alleged he had violated terms of the bond in his fraud case.

“Tony Rezko was arrested without incident at his home in Wilmette,” FBI spokesman Tom Simon said. “It was pursuant to a warrant issued following a government motion to revoke his bond.”

Rezko appeared briefly this morning before U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve, who is to preside over his fraud trial next month. Another hearing will be held at 12:30 p.m. today; Rezko remains in federal custody.

* More

Investigators had in recent weeks become concerned about the movement of some of his finances, a source said.

- Posted by Rich Miller   35 Comments      


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Monday, Jan 28, 2008

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