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This just in…

Wednesday, Dec 3, 2008 - Posted by Rich Miller

* 4:23 pm - What a stupid thing to do

Just days after shuttering several state parks and historic sites and asking for understanding from Illinoisans amid bleak economic times, Gov. Rod Blagojevich took his taxpayer-provided aircraft to Philadelphia to tell fellow Chicagoan Barack Obama how bad things are in the state they both live in.

Blagojevich spokesman Lucio Guerrero defended the trip and use of the state plane, noting that if the governor hadn’t gone, he’d surely have faced media criticism for his absence.

“This was a historic meeting that was attended by virtually every governor in the United States and our being there could help brings billions of dollars to Illinois,” Guerrero said Wednesday in an e-mail responding to Daily Herald questions. […]

“And, had we not gone out, I am sure you would question us on why we failed to go out and meet with the other governors and the President-elect,” Guerrero added. […]

“And lastly, it’s naive to think that we can just call a meeting with Obama because he ‘lives just a few miles away.’ The President-elect has made it very clear that no state - not even his home state - would get any special treatment or favors. The economic situation facing Illinois is real and we need help. The governor will take that message to the President-elect any way he can,” Guerrero said.

Blagojevich can’t call a local meeting with Obama because Obama wouldn’t attend. Barack ain’t no fool.

* It’s amazing to me that Blagojevich apparently didn’t learn from what happened to the Big 3 auto CEOs when they flew their corporate planes to DC to beg for money. Is he just completely daft?

“Hi, I am in desperate need of a federal bailout, which is why I spent thousands and thousands of taxpayer dollars to fly myself and my staff to this meeting.”

Ever heard of commercial flights, guv?

How do I know the governor took his staff to Philly? This is from the Philadelphia Daily News’ version of Sneed

Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich dined Monday with staff at Ralph’s (760 S. 9th). The table ordered veal and chicken parmigiania and fettucine Alfredo.

I sure hope we didn’t pay for that. [UPDATE: The governor’s office assures me that the state did not pay for the meal.]

* 4:33 pm - Attorney General Madigan today when asked about Sen. Durbin’s request that George Ryan’s sentence be commuted to time served…

“I respect the work that Dick Durbin has done for the people of the State of Illinois, but I think he is wrong to seek a commutation of Former Gov. Ryan’s sentence.

“As a prosecutor, we see the impact that crimes have on the victims. In this case, the 6 Willis children and the almost 13 million people of the State were harmed by what George Ryan did.

“His case was prosecuted and he was sentenced to 6 ½ years in prison, he should serve his time. Every person who is sent to prison suffers as do their families. This is a consequence of committing a crime.”


  1. - IrishPirate - Wednesday, Dec 3, 08 @ 4:41 pm:

    So Blago traveled across the country on a state plane and no lightning hit him?

    That was a silly silly silly flight on his part.

    Take a commercial airline gov. Your approval rating just hit 10 percent.

  2. - BIG R.PH. - Wednesday, Dec 3, 08 @ 4:41 pm:

    What there was no commercial flights from Chicago to Philadelphia? Like they didn’t have this conference on the schedule since last year? How many $200 round trip tickets could they buy for how much it cost for the private plane?

    Us peasants are just sitting here watching. Inspector General where are you???

  3. - Vote Quimby! - Wednesday, Dec 3, 08 @ 4:51 pm:

    Good grief…he shoulda driven the Obamalac!

  4. - Bill - Wednesday, Dec 3, 08 @ 4:53 pm:

    Wait a minute. Isn’t attending a governors meeting to advocate for federal funding state business? Isn’t this type of meeting exactly what the governor of our state should be doing? So you think it would make more sense for the Governor to drive a Prius to Philadelphia and take him away from his job of governing for several extra days?
    The state plane exists for use on state business. I’m sure that all staffers paid for their modest meal and will be reimbursed with the standard per diem after waiting the usual six months for their reimbursement. Why should staffers each have to subsidize the state? A lot of them tell me that they won’t travel much at all anymore because they can’t afford to wait so long for their money.
    The Governor is doing a good job in seeking federal funds. Lucky is right. You all would be all over him if he skipped it.

  5. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Dec 3, 08 @ 4:56 pm:

    Bill, nice try. You failed, however, to mention the option of flying commercial.

    For Pete’s sake, the CEO of General freaking Motors is driving to DC to beg for money tomorrow.

  6. - ArchPundit - Wednesday, Dec 3, 08 @ 4:57 pm:

    ===Blagojevich can’t call a local meeting with Obama because Obama wouldn’t attend. He’s no fool.

    LOL. You might consider clarifying that.;)

  7. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Dec 3, 08 @ 4:58 pm:


  8. - Who Knows - Wednesday, Dec 3, 08 @ 5:09 pm:

    As Forrest Gump’s momma would say: “stupid is as stupid does”.

  9. - Anon - Wednesday, Dec 3, 08 @ 5:18 pm:

    Maybe he couldn’t fly to Philly commercial because he used all his frequent flyer miles going to California to see Arnold. Those airline toilets really are loud when they flush aren’t they?

  10. - The 'Broken Heart' of Rogers Park - Wednesday, Dec 3, 08 @ 5:21 pm:

    ===For Pete’s sake, the CEO of General freaking Motors is driving to DC to beg for money tomorrow.===

    In the Obamalac?

  11. - Bill - Wednesday, Dec 3, 08 @ 5:24 pm:

    He’s driving one of those hybrids. I hope he brought some mechanics with him.

  12. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Dec 3, 08 @ 5:26 pm:

    I didn’t see a citation on the Madigan quote ~ was that a CapFax scoop?

  13. - A Citizen - Wednesday, Dec 3, 08 @ 5:27 pm:

    As a famous Chicago mayor put it - “coo coo!”.

  14. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Dec 3, 08 @ 5:28 pm:

    ===take him away from his job of governing for several extra days

    LOL. Bill you’re hilarious. Illinois should be so lucky.

  15. - Some former legislative intern - Wednesday, Dec 3, 08 @ 5:45 pm:

    Durbin has completely lost his mind, and my amazement at how stupid this administration is grows by the day.

    Can I get my $250 contribution to Blagojevich back in 2002 back yet? Tell me who to contact. Everyone else I knew either who worked for the campaign and/or got a job with the administration is long since gone.

  16. - With Liberty for All - Wednesday, Dec 3, 08 @ 5:54 pm:

    I love the govenor’s office reply that the Pres-elect won’t give any special favors, but the governor flew to Philly to ask for money. So is this money for every state? Or did the governor expect to get special treatment from Illinois’ future President? Which way is it guys? Really, the gov’s office should check their statements before they send them out.

  17. - Unspun - Wednesday, Dec 3, 08 @ 6:48 pm:

    I’m with Bill on this one. Lucky was on the mark, too. The media would be pounding the Gov for not attending. As for flying commercial, it would be logistically freaking impossible for the Governor. No way.

  18. - IrishPirate - Wednesday, Dec 3, 08 @ 7:00 pm:

    Logistically impossible?

    How bout dis?

    Drive the Governor to O’Hare.

    He gets on commercial flight. Flies. Gets off. Hails a cab.


  19. - Big Mama T - Wednesday, Dec 3, 08 @ 7:01 pm:

    - Unspun -

    Could you maybe explain why it would be “logistically freaking impossible” for Blago to fly commercial? I’ll bet there are at least 50 flights a day to various cities on the east coast. Or are you saying the Guv’s state credit card is maxed out?

  20. - Frequent Flyer - Wednesday, Dec 3, 08 @ 7:04 pm:

    I think the Gov. should have flown out there with Stu Levine and Joe Cari. That seeemed to work out so well for all involved last time.

    Oooops; sorry I forgot they were otherwise in disposed at this time.

    “Stick with us and you’ll do well for yourself”

    How’s that working out for you Stu and Joe?

  21. - Dan S, a Voter and a Cubs Fan - Wednesday, Dec 3, 08 @ 7:12 pm:

    When oh when will the GA grow a pair and impeach the maniac? Are they waiting for DH or AG to declare bankrupcy?

  22. - Ultra50k - Wednesday, Dec 3, 08 @ 7:24 pm:

    Blago just doesn’t care anymore, he lives in his own little world of delusion.

    I would’nt worry to much about Durbin…he’s the ultimate panderer…I’m sure he’ll take a second look at the poll’s and editorials on George Ryan and decide he needs to spend a little more time in jail.

  23. - OneMan - Wednesday, Dec 3, 08 @ 7:28 pm:

    ==He said flight reliability, staff travel and in-flight communication access all factor in.==

    You know the world isn’t going to end if Rod can’t be reached for a couple of hours…

  24. - concerned tax payer - Wednesday, Dec 3, 08 @ 7:31 pm:

    And the Blago list goes on & on & on & on ……….

  25. - Pot calling kettle - Wednesday, Dec 3, 08 @ 7:36 pm:

    Is Pat Quinn in charge when the Gov is out of the state? Can he toss the payroll leaches and reopen the parks?

  26. - Pot calling kettle - Wednesday, Dec 3, 08 @ 7:37 pm:

    The Gov should go to Philly, he should take a couple of staffers, and we should pay them per diem for their meals.

  27. - A Citizen - Wednesday, Dec 3, 08 @ 7:43 pm:

    Illinois would be sooo much better off if guv’s travel people just bought one-way tickets.

  28. - Cassandra - Wednesday, Dec 3, 08 @ 7:52 pm:

    I’m ok with the state plane. If governors are going to have planes available to them (not written in the sky, but I assume most do) then going to a meeting about a federal bailout with the future Prez seems to be a good use of one.

  29. - Disgusted - Wednesday, Dec 3, 08 @ 8:54 pm:

    Logistically impossible? It’s not like anyone knows who the hell he is outside of Illinois. He would just blend into the crowd but I guess he would have to fly first class because of the extra room needed for the “do.”

  30. - Just Me - Wednesday, Dec 3, 08 @ 9:05 pm:

    ==Is Pat Quinn in charge when the Gov is out of the state? Can he toss the payroll leaches and reopen the parks? ==

    I seem to recall how, 30 years or so ago, when Phyllis’ George’s husband was Governor of Kentucky, he left the state for the state and the Lt. Governor managed to get the legislature to pass a bill ratifying the 13th Amendment and she signed it.

    ==The Gov should go to Philly, he should take a couple of staffers, and we should pay them per diem for their meals. ==

    That explains why he really went by state plane. I’m a state employee, and I haven’t been reimbursed for travel and per diem going back to August. Heaven forbid our beloved Gov should have to pay something out of his own pocket and then wait to get reimbursed.

  31. - Gregor - Wednesday, Dec 3, 08 @ 9:17 pm:

    I’m just amusing myself, contemplating Rod going thru civilian airport security screening like the rest of us. Infinite potential for amusement there.

    On his plane, the in-flight movie is his old anti-Topinka TV spots on continuous loop.

  32. - Is She a Lawyer? - Wednesday, Dec 3, 08 @ 9:24 pm:

    He wasn’t charged or convicted of harming any children, directly or indirectly. If every convicted criminal should just serve all their time why are there various legal proceedings to seek relief. Or, is she just keeping her anti George credentials in order if she happens to run for a higher office?

  33. - IrishPirate - Wednesday, Dec 3, 08 @ 9:34 pm:

    I want to apologize. I didn’t realize why it was logistically impossible for Blago to fly.


    Can’t take it on a commercial flight in your carry on bag.

    Sorry, Gov.

    My bad.

  34. - DzNts - Wednesday, Dec 3, 08 @ 10:02 pm:

    I’m still laughing at Bill’s suggestion that the staff accompanying the Governor had “modest” meals when the report clearly suggests that the meals were slightly more upscale than a $5 footlong from Subway. Any downtown restaurant in Philadelphia -let me rephrase -any restaurant that the Governor would dine - will not have modest menu prices, even for veal. Valiant effort, Bill, but perception is reality and there’s no way the Governor should have spent thousands of dollars flying the state plane when he could have accomplished the same purpose flying United Airlines (which would also be shown as a support of an Illinois business).

    Child care centers in southern Illinois are at risk of closing. Doctors refusing to take patients because the the State of Illinois under this Governor is worse than a deadbeat dad, yet, the CEO of the State spends thousands of dollars lobbying for money that won’t likely to be seen (if at all) until next fall. Yes, he should lobby, but if the President-Elect won’t take a special call from the Governor of his home state, we’re way worse off than previously imagined.

  35. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Dec 3, 08 @ 10:22 pm:

    If it’s a meeting of Govs, then our Gov should consider being there based on objectives and the probability of meeting same. Using the plane can probably be justified if costs and security were compared to a commercial flight, ONLY necessary staff are going, and use of State jet is more cost effective and/or safer. Done.

    On the other hand, if a private meeting was requested, why wouldn’t Obama agree to meet in Illinois while he’s still spending quite a bit of time here to avoid additional cost for the State? (I’m not fully up on protocol, but it should be an issue yet, right, because Obama’s not in DC yet. And, I’d imagine he’d entertain a meeting with a Gov from another state in that state if he were visting.) If fear of requests for “special treatment or favors”, then that should be made clear by his Staff in a way that Blago’s Staff would “get the message”.

    However, while the events/comments in the setup could be considered related/unrelated and I admire the message and intent, it does raise a concern.

    Is there a possibility that Illinois is now going to be dealt with more “harshly”–for lack of a better word–re: funding, etc. because Obama’s staff is in fear that anything done for our State could be interpreted by others as “special treatment or favors” for Obama’s home State?

    That would be a real bummer. Axelrod?!!!!

  36. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Dec 3, 08 @ 10:25 pm:

    Sorry. “I’m not fully up on protocol, but it should NOT be an issue yet….”

  37. - BandCamp - Thursday, Dec 4, 08 @ 8:30 am:

    You know why the “regular” people of the state get upset with events like this?

    At lunch yesterday, a buddy told me he took a trip over 3 months ago, out of state, for state business. Paid out of his own pocket for everything. Still hasn’t seen his reimbursment check. The state expects us to pay for everything on their business, put doesn’t timely pay back. We don’t have the cash the executive branch employees have. And I would guess they have state AmEx cards, which they took away from us to save money.

    Very frustrating to read stuff like this all the time.

    The rich, well-off, whatever…get taken care of. The rank and file, grunts, etc…get the bird.

  38. - 2ConfusedCrew - Friday, Dec 5, 08 @ 7:31 am:

    Three good points.
    Governor could have disguised himself as a ball boy and gone to one of Lexi’s roundball games for his meeting with Obama.
    Governor has failed to make most, if not all, NGA events over the the past 6+ years. Why start now?
    Mr Lucky is worried about the governor being blasted for skipping event? That is a totally new emotion for the Blagoof crew

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