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Morning campaign roundup

Thursday, Oct 29, 2009 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Mark Kirk is airing radio ads

U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk of Highland Park has started running radio ads touting his opposition to Obama’s push for government-run public health insurance as part of his health care reform measure. Kirk has been attempting to win back Republicans who have been upset with his occasional votes that go more along Democratic lines.

* Kirk’s not only bashing the health insurance proposal, he’s also whacking the GM bailout

Citing revelations that taxpayers have lost nearly half of the $49 billion government bailout of General Motors (GM), U.S. Representative Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and 19 colleagues will send a letter to President Obama today calling for more accountability of taxpayer funds.

“Despite this Administration’s pledge of transparency, the terms of the ‘Bridge Loan to Nowhere’ remain secret,” the lawmakers wrote. “Taxpayers are in the dark on the basic details of the taxpayers’ money at GM.”

Good primary fodder, questionable general election material.

…Adding… From the DSCC…

“Mark Kirk continues to show that he is willing to put politics ahead of helping the people of Illinois, and that he is solely worried about covering his political bases and pandering to the right-wing” said Kathleen Strand, Senior Advisor to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. “All evidence shows that Americans want health care reform, but all Kirk is offering them is the same old political games that people have gotten fed up with. The next Senator from Illinois will be someone willing to stand up for Illinois families, not a flip-flopping Washington insider who is only looking out for number one.”

* Gov. Pat Quinn responds to an Andy McKenna line that the accidental guv is “Rod Blagojevich with a little bit less hair“…

“I think the people of Illinois know I’ve been here nine months,” he said. “It’s serious. This is not a joke. … There’ll be a lot of name-calling in politics. I don’t particularly get into that. … I don’t call people names.”

But how about the time he referred to his main opponent in the 2010 Democratic Primary for governor, Comptroller Dan Hynes, as one of the “ankle-biters over on the sidelines?”

“I didn’t call anybody a name,” Quinn said. “I just said there are ankle-biters out there, and if the shoe fits, wear it.”

To which Hynes spokesman Matt McGrath later replied: “Dan doesn’t think the families that are struggling in this economy and across the state are worried one bit about the name-calling between the people running for office. So we keep that in mind whenever we hear whatever new, bizarre name the governor calls Dan.”

“I know you are, but what am I?”

You ever get the feeling that these two guys really don’t like each other?

* Hinz gently mocks Andy McKenna’s claim of oustider status…

I’m not sure I buy the underlying message, that McKenna’s “the outsider who can hold government accountable.” Someone who has served for years as chairman of the Illinois Republican Party isn’t an outsider, no matter what he says.

* Chuck Sweeny boosts Jim Ryan…

On his Web site, Ryan features an “image” commercial from his 2002 campaign. It says, “He’s faced his share of challenges. Some he could prepare for, some he couldn’t. But he never quit, and he never let us down. A man of integrity and strength, a governor who will make us proud.”

If I were Dan Curry, Ryan’s campaign consultant, I’d run that commercial again. I’d label it “2002” and add these words: “Remember what could have been? It still could be. Jim Ryan for governor.”

* Democratic US Senate candidate David Hoffman has revamped his website and included a Twitter feed at the bottom. The feed appears to include tweets about Hoffman from anybody, so one can’t help but wonder if this feature might eventually be “invaded” by rivals. [Hat tip: Progress Illinois.]

* I’m not quite sure what this means because her campaign just started

Austin Weekly News asked, “Are you sick and tired of questions that are asked of you as a black woman that are not posed to other candidates?”

“You know it’s because I’m different,” she replied, “and it’s OK. People have lots of questions about things that are different, and I don’t mind being different. If being different means that I understand people’s problems better, then that’s OK, they can ask those questions. If being different means that I know having a special insight and perspective of problems facing people today, like joblessness, fighting to keep the doors open in small businesses, fighting to access to health care, foreclosures, veterans who have been overlooked and forgotten about, then that is OK. I’ll accept those questions and answer them every time.”

* More talk about diversity in the US Senate…

A Chicago lawyer who was in line Monday morning to file his own petitions for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate is not shy about that fact that if elected, he would be the only openly gay member of the upper chamber of Congress.

“I think Illinois is ready for it,” said Jacob Meister, 44, a Milwaukee native who has spent most of his adult life in Chicago.

His spokeswoman, Karen Craven, had mentioned Meister’s sexual orientation in the past, and when I asked him about it, he made it clear that it is just part of who he is.

“I have brown hair, I have four siblings, and I happen to be gay,” he said.

* Related…

* Essence Magazine names Cheryle Jackson an emerging leader for 2010

* Fund-raising precedes filing period


  1. - Tom Joad - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 11:18 am:

    By calling himself an outsider, I think Andy McKenna means he doesn’t know what is going on, and that is what the people want. Otherwise, calling himself an outsider makes zero sense.

  2. - wordslinger - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 11:18 am:

    Is Kirk still concerned about the security of the Chinese investment in U.S. Treasuries?

    Perhaps he has a follow-up letter as to where the AIG money went last year? Hint: to prop up over-leveraged, overseas banks.

    The government owns GM stock and the stock went down. What’s the mystery? With the GM bailout, at least you have a chance to make it back if the stock goes up. In the original Chrysler bailout, the Treasury made money.

    That AIG money is never coming back.

  3. - OdysseusVL - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 11:34 am:

    “I just said there are ankle-biters out there, and if the shoe fits, wear it.”

    And “Blago with less hair sure seems to fit.

  4. - Bakersfield - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 11:35 am:

    I see Jackson is taking her talking points from Justice Sotomayor.
    Please, tell us more about being different.

  5. - bored now - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 11:42 am:

    while i don’t think anyone believes that cheryl jackson will win the democratic primary, she will come out of this year as a winner. her profile has been raised dramatically, her connection to blagojevich doesn’t appear as toxic as perceived by conventional wisdom, so essence is probably onto something…

  6. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 11:45 am:

    ===her connection to blagojevich doesn’t appear as toxic as perceived by conventional wisdom===

    It’s early. Very early.

  7. - Levois - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 11:47 am:

    Quinn and Hynes doesn’t like each other? The Democratic primary could turn into a huge wrestling match between those two. A lot of verbal jabs thrown about!

  8. - irving & ashland - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 12:16 pm:

    >“Remember what could have been? It still could be. Jim Ryan for governor.”

    In other news, the Nicarico family is finally seeing the murderer of their daughter sentenced, after years of delay caused in part by Jim Ryan’s insistence on an utterly implausible case against someone who had nothing to do with it. All because it made more sense for him politically.

    Remember what could have been, if only Jim Ryan had actually faced up to his moral challenges.

  9. - SangamoGOP - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 12:17 pm:

    I love this bit from the Meister piece: “It features voices of men and women — real interviews done in Oak Park, Craven said — talking about how hard it is to make ends meet and save for the future.”

    As a Oak Park ex-pat, let me just say that the rest of the state empathizes with those who have it oh so tough in Little Old Oak Park.

  10. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 12:23 pm:

    ===“Remember what could have been? It still could be. Jim Ryan for governor.”===

    Yeah. Who knows what additional wonders Stu Levine would’ve accomplished?

  11. - Greg - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 12:38 pm:


    It would take a heckuva GM IPO for the US to come close to recovering that money.

    And most smart investors I know are worried about long-term treasury rates. Read David Einhorn’s recent speech - sorry if it offends everyone’s patriotism, but our long-term ability to service our debt is viewed with wide skepticism.

    I guess a congressman is not supposed to state such realities.

  12. - proud vet - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 1:14 pm:

    Not sure I see why you think health care and GM bailout are bad general election issues. The Rasmussen poll you had up in August showed a plularity in IL were more afraid of the government that insurance companies. And I think something like 60% of independents opposed the President’s bill. Meanwhile, what Independent or Democrat thinks it’s a good thing to lose $25 billion in GM???

  13. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 1:17 pm:

    ===something like 60% of independents opposed the President’s bill===

    One thing to keep in mind about independents is that it’s a very different group from just a few years ago, or even more recently.

    Hordes of people have simply stopped identifying themselves as Republicans and now say they’re independents. That means independents, as a group, are now a lot more conservative than they once were.

  14. - Bill - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 2:02 pm:

    Quinn says he’s been around only nine months? Should we just forget the last 8 years..or the last 30 years for that matter?

  15. - wordslinger - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 3:37 pm:

    –It would take a heckuva GM IPO for the US to come close to recovering that money.

    And most smart investors I know are worried about long-term treasury rates. Read David Einhorn’s recent speech - sorry if it offends everyone’s patriotism, but our long-term ability to service our debt is viewed with wide skepticism.

    I guess a congressman is not supposed to state such realities–
    - Show quoted text -

    Greg, are you the guy who says the paydown loan people don’t make any money?

    Gee whiz, Greg, I’m trying to conjure up some respect for the judgement of the “smart investors” who we entrusted to run the international financial shop, slicing and dicing every non-productive financial instrument so they could collect the juice for churning it. I’m coming up short.

    I noticed you didn’t have a comment about AIG. But as far as GM goes, they actually do produce something, and a lot of people draw a paycheck for doing it. The good people of Michigan, for example — Americans, last time I checked.

    And sorry, the credibility of the whiz kids as to what is a “good” investment is a little lacking at the moment.

    Kirk’s running to the right, and that’s his choice. But the GM bailout is his hook? I find that fascinating.

    We could have let GM toss off their pension and healthcare obligation, and that would have satisfied many as “good” business. Yeah, buddy.

    But I would remind patriots like Commander Kirk that he represents the people of the United States of America, and tossing GM on the scrapheap because some cheap hustlers screwed the pooch might not be acceptable to all of us. It’s our money, too, right?

    Those good folks in Michigan, the UAW people, by the way, did defeat the Nazis and stare down the Commies. That might not be a factor to brilliant economists, but it means something to others.

    But Kirk, it’s his choice. Go with it. We’ll remind him in the general election.

  16. - JonShibleyFan - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 4:46 pm:

    Is Jacob Meister’s current flack Hynes’ old flack?

  17. - CarterK - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 9:13 pm:

    Bill’s right, Quinn has been in for a long time. Learning how to lead under Blago’s tutelage. Some mentor he chose.

  18. - JonShibleyFan - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 10:49 pm:

    CarterK, one could hardly say with a straight face that Quinn and Blagojevich had a protege/mentor relationship. In fact, the idea is quite preposterous. You can level many a charge at Quinn -even say he’s not a real Irishman- but that one…not so much.

  19. - troutcurly - Friday, Oct 30, 09 @ 5:59 pm:

    Diversity in senate race? One has conservative background but registers as a democrat. One was talking head in corrupt state administration. One is member of a clan with questionable banking practices. One is openly gay lawyer. That is diversity Illinois. Lets get them together in some debates to see if any members of this menagerie have the skills, insight and wisdom to be a real Senator.

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