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*** UPDATED x1 - Berrios responds *** Angry claims flood my in-box

Friday, Sep 17, 2010

* Did you know that Pamela Abdy, the producer of Garden State and some other bigtime movies, once allegedly lived with a Jersey mobster?

Heck, I didn’t even know who Abdy was until today, let alone anything about her history. But, it turns out, a mobster was busted three years ago while Ms. Abdy was allegedly cohabitating with him. Abdy’s uncle was also apparently busted in the same sweep. And, as it happens, Ms. Abdy just co-hosted a fundraiser for Alexi Giannouias out in Hollywood. Fox News gives us the fair and balanced story

Giannoulias aides told FOX News that Abdy was not arrested for anything and was never even investigated. Those same aides point out that Abdy is an award-winning executive at Paramount Pictures, no longer romantically linked with Perna and that it’s not fair to lump her in with her mobster uncle.

Communications director for Giannoulias, Kathleen Strand, called the story, “another ridiculous lie being pushed by Congressman Kirk’s desperate campaign. His earlier attacks have been called out as false by independent fact check organizations, and this one will find the same resting place.”

Uh, Kathleen, when defending one’s involvement with an alleged mob niece/moll, it’s probably best to avoid the use of phrases like “resting place.” Just sayin’.

I challenge all commenters to come up with a snarky mob-talk response that we can substitute for Ms. Strand’s quote. Have fun, but let’s not get sued.

* House Republican Leader Tom Cross is accusing House Speaker Michael Madigan of calling Cross’ big donors and intimidating them. Madigan, in return, accuses Cross of helping elect the new chairman of the RTA in exchange for a contribution, and of accepting “laundered” money through a little-known political committee.

Trouble is, nobody but the two sides are speaking on the record to the press so far, except to issue denials and no comments.

Madigan has, indeed, been calling bigtime Republican donors since at least early August, and the House GOPs have been trying to push the story. The contributors were certainly surprised to get the calls, some said they were angry, but nobody I talked to said they were threatened. Cross tells Greg Hinz something different, however

“A dozen or so of my donors have been called by [Madigan],” Mr. Cross said. “Some of them never had talked to him before.”

Mr. Madigan asked questions like, “Why are you helping (Cross),” Mr. Cross said. And some — including Mr. Gates — faced “accusations” by the speaker.

And check out this quote by Madigan’s spokesman…

“Usually, when people support political candidates, they support candidates. They don’t go through some side process and launder money.”

You mean, like, well, sending money to the Democratic Party of Illinois instead of directly to candidates? Oh, wait. Nevermind. That’s totally different, I’m sure.

* Joe Berrios and Forrest Claypool were apparently supposed to be at the Tribune editorial board today for a debate. Claypool’s campaign manager says Berrios didn’t show up and taunted the candidate via Twitter

joeberrios doesn’t show up to the Trib Debate. Baauck, buck, buck, buck. Baaaauuck, Buck, buck. BECAAK!

I got not words for that.

*** UPDATE *** The Berrios campaign responds by sending me a copy of the letter they sent the Tribune on September 2nd

I will not be attending the Chicago Tribune’s endorsement session scheduled for September 13, 2010.

The Tribune has shown time and again that it has already selected its candidate to endorse, and that it cannot be fair and unbiased as a media outlet should be. I need to look no further than your editorials over the past few months to know that you have long been backing my opponent, former Democrat Forrest Claypool.

Go read the whole thing.

[ *** End Of Update *** ]

* And, finally, we have this

Republican congressional candidate Adam Kinzinger is upset over protesters’ pictures that portray him and former Alaska governor Sarah Palin with Hitler-style mustaches.

Kinzinger, a veteran and member of the Wisconsin National Guard, and Palin were both shown in the pictures with rectangular black mustaches sandwiched in between the caption, “Naz-Tea Party” and their last names, according to pictures supplied by Kinzinger’s campaign.

The protest occurred outside an Americans for Prosperity rally Wednesday night in Joliet, Kinzinger spokesman Brad Hahn said.

“I saw the picture and I just almost have no words. It’s unbelievable. I’m the grandson of a man who fought the Nazis and I fought to protect our country too,” Kinzinger said in a telephone interview. “It’s beyond any political satire. It’s terrible.”

The conservative group held a rally with about 500 people, including Samuel Joseph “Joe the Plumber” Wurzelbacher as a keynote speaker, said Joe Calomino, state director for the Illinois chapter of Americans for Prosperity. The protest with the anti-Kinzinger and anti-Palin pictures occurred across the street from the rally, Calomino said.

The Kinzinger campaign sent over a video taken of the counter-protest. It looked to me like the two guys carrying the Hitler signs stood separately from the other ralliers. The video also shows some of the protesters going into the coordinated campaign’s nearby office, but neither of the morons with the Hitler mustache signs appeared to be with them.

The Halvorson campaign flatly denied any involvement. From a statement they sent me yesterday…

Some of the protesters stopped by the Illinois Victory office after the protest to say hello and get some water. In fact, some folks who were there in support of the AFP rally stopped by and dropped off some of their literature on the fair tax and negative lit on Debbie.

Our campaign had nothing to do with anyone holding signs linking Adam Kinzinger to Nazis. Those signs are not only offensive, they distract voters from the real issues in this race, like protecting jobs and seniors. Congresswoman Halvorson condemns these offensive tactics and would never condone such actions.

Verdict: Not totally clear, but not guilty yet, either.

…Adding… And on a far more positive note, click here for your exclusive first listen to WBEZ’s great new program Best Game in Town. From the producer…

This week on WBEZ’s political podcast: It is all about campaigns and corned beef. We broadcast from the legendary Manny’s Deli on Chicago’s near South Side.

Chicago City Clerk Miguel De Valle and State Senator Ricky Hendon join Steve Edwards to discuss their candidacies for Chicago mayor. They lay out their plans and talk about the prospect of running campaigns against Rahm Emanuel.

Right Nation rumbles into Hoffman Estates this weekend and we gather GOP analysts and operatives to talk about the Tea Party and its impact on Illinois.

Our panel includes: John McGovern, Christine Dudley and Ryan McLaughlin.

And don’t forget to subscribe to their free iTunes podcast.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - RMW Stanford - Friday, Sep 17, 10 @ 1:37 pm:

    I never quite figured out the reason why people change pictures of people who they oppose politically to make them look like Hitler. I doubt it wins anyone over to their side and just makes you look like a goof ball and may harm your side. In a case like this regardless of whether or not any of Halvorson people had anything to do with it, it could still hurt because people will hear versions of the story where it sounds like it was 100 percent clear that the people carrying the signs went back to the office. That the way that WLS seemed to be carrying the story.

  2. - Pioneer P. - Friday, Sep 17, 10 @ 1:37 pm:

    I got some words for it starting with “immature.” Who would let their snotty kid put something like that out there, much less their campaign manager?

  3. - Northsider - Friday, Sep 17, 10 @ 1:41 pm:

    I’m certainly glad to see such seriousness of purpose and solemn consideration of the myriad woes facing our city, state, and nation. Brings a tear to my eye, it does…

  4. - The Mad Hatter - Friday, Sep 17, 10 @ 1:42 pm:

    Mr. Kirk’s campaign sleeps with the fishes.

  5. - bored now - Friday, Sep 17, 10 @ 1:43 pm:

    i’d bet kinzinger has no problem with his tea party colleagues doing the same thing to the president. i’d love to see where he’s condemned *their* behavior. then he’d have a right to be outraged.

    this pretty much proves that kinzinger doesn’t have the stomach for inside the beltway politics. he may be adored at tea party rallies, but d.c. is a lot different and it’s clear he doesn’t have the guts for it. maybe when he gets older (the hero thing works in most election cycles).

  6. - Chicago Dem - Friday, Sep 17, 10 @ 1:46 pm:

    This is Madigan’s MO. He did the same thing in his daughter’s race against John Schmidt for AG–visiting and calling Schmidt donors.

  7. - just sayin' - Friday, Sep 17, 10 @ 1:51 pm:

    Mike Madigan also accused Tom Cross of being a little girl.

  8. - Cincinnatus - Friday, Sep 17, 10 @ 1:51 pm:

    It’s obvious that Debbie Halvorson and EACH AND EVERY ONE of her supporters and every Democrat in the state are left wing communist/socialist nutroots radicals who hate this country and are 9/11 Truthers.

    And that statement, ladies and gents, is as ridiculous as the comments I see posted here about the Tea Party. Remember this lesson next time you call Tea Partiers “baggers,” “birthers,” or other such terms.

  9. - 47th Ward - Friday, Sep 17, 10 @ 1:52 pm:

    ===I never quite figured out the reason why people change pictures of people who they oppose politically to make them look like Hitler.===

    They are LaRouchies. The had 8 years of painting Hitler mustaches on Bush and Cheney, and they’re the same ones doing it to Obama, Pelosi, and now apparently Kinzinger. They are detached from reality. The believe the CIA and the Queen of England are behind the international drug trade.

    Here’s a helpful reply for Ms. Strand:


  10. - A.B. - Friday, Sep 17, 10 @ 1:56 pm:

    “Deez two yoots never had nuttin to do wit one anotha, but dis clown Kirk, he comes up with deez claims an yous guys believe him? Dis nice lady ain’t dun nuttin wrong and I gots utter people who will say so.”

  11. - just sayin' - Friday, Sep 17, 10 @ 1:59 pm:

    What the heck would John McGovern, Christine Dudley and Ryan McLaughlin know about the tea parties? Bet they don’t even know anyone who knows a tea partier.

  12. - Bluefish - Friday, Sep 17, 10 @ 2:02 pm:

    The proper official Jersey mob response would be a “no comment” issued through an attorney. The private old school Jersey mob response would be that someone needs to take a tour of da Meadows.

  13. - Responsa - Friday, Sep 17, 10 @ 2:06 pm:

    Kathleen to the press: ” Let me be clear. Alexi’s LA fundraiser hostess, Ms Abdy, has nothing, NOTHING to do with mobsters and Alexi knows that for a fact because he checked wi… Well just because he knows. I will leave it at that, and strongly suggest you do too.”

  14. - Way Way Down Here - Friday, Sep 17, 10 @ 2:08 pm:

    Thank you for meeting with me concerning Ms. Abdy. Is that a picture of your dog? Cute. My employer is very concerned with these accusations. Nice office by the way. . .

  15. - Anonymous - Friday, Sep 17, 10 @ 2:10 pm:

    Now, I’m not saying Giannoulias is a mobster or anything like that, but I heard that The Sopranos is his favorite TV show. Clearly he owes an explanation to Illinois voters.

  16. - Cincinnatus - Friday, Sep 17, 10 @ 2:12 pm:


    “The exec veep of production and “Garden State” producer was caught on wiretap with New Jersey mobster Joseph Perna discussing the multibillion-dollar illegal gambling ring that he helped run.”


    “Abdy, a New Jersey native, became tainted by the scandal Thursday when news broke in the New York press that her conversations with Perna were part of a 195-page affidavit filed by the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office in the case.”

    Kinda brings a new meaning to “mob banker” huh?

  17. - fed up - Friday, Sep 17, 10 @ 2:13 pm:

    Lets see Alexi loans money to members of organized crime at his bank that fails. Restaurant owners indicted of Check kiting that tried to flee the country before being arrested are financial backers of Alexi and now this yeah nothing to see here move along move along.

  18. - South Side Mike - Friday, Sep 17, 10 @ 2:16 pm:

    Claypool’s campaign manager may have just issued the Tweet of the Year For Illinois Politics. It’s hard to top that one. So unbelievably immature, yet so appropriate for that medium.

    As for Strand’s response, I have to reply using 1920s Prohibition speak:

    “Anyone who believes dis doll Abdy has been floozying around with a friend of ours has been hitting the giggle water. Some canary with a beef told elephant ears that her uncle was a shylock and dat her gentlemen friend saw some of da cabbage. Dis is not true, and anyone who sez otherwise will be hearing from our hard case. Capiche?

  19. - Amalia - Friday, Sep 17, 10 @ 2:21 pm:

    in a way, I don’t blame Bowen for gloating over Berrios not
    showing up.

    but, bigger picture, this means that Berrios stiffed the Trib?
    and this means that the video of Forrest stands alone on the
    Trib? isn’t it more important to get those facts out than
    some sophmoric, though understandable gloat? you know,
    actual things that might convince voters?

    we know it’s Friday Tom Bowen, but eyes on the prize, please.
    nothing has shown up in my email box to say that Berrios
    did not show. it’s a big thing when a candidate stiffs an
    editorial board. do something with the information!!!!

  20. - Pot calling kettle - Friday, Sep 17, 10 @ 2:23 pm:

    I guess this shows that Godwin’s Law is more broadly applicable.

    Anyone with a sign mentioning Hilter or portraying someone as Hitler should be ignored.

  21. - shore - Friday, Sep 17, 10 @ 2:42 pm:

    the hitler references have been one of the worst political developments of the last decade on both sides.


  22. - Downstate weed chewing hick - Friday, Sep 17, 10 @ 2:43 pm:

    On advice of counsel, I decline to answer any questions about Ms. Abdy.

  23. - Really?? - Friday, Sep 17, 10 @ 2:46 pm:

    Kinzinger’s disgust with those signs would have been more valid if he also condemned tea party members who do the same thing to President Obama. I agree with him that it is wrong, and goes beyond political satire, but if it is wrong to do that to pictures of Republicans, then it is wrong to do it to pictures of Democrats as well.

  24. - 10th Indy - Friday, Sep 17, 10 @ 2:52 pm:

    Responding to the claims that Giannoulias fundraiser and hollywood producer Abdy has ties to organized crime, campaign spokesperson Kathleen Strand retorted, “She’s a bleepin’ d-girl”

  25. - Louis G. Atsaves - Friday, Sep 17, 10 @ 2:59 pm:

    Check out for more Hitler mustaches, this time one of Kirk.

    The Hitler stuff in political campaigns is stupid. Trying to use it as a joke is stupid. Trying to justify the Hitler stuff by claiming the other side does it too is also stupid.

    Throwing out Hitler stuff is just leading with your chin in a fight. Makes it easy for your opponent to clobber you.

    Speaking of leading with his chin out . . .

    The niece of a notorious New Jersey mobster who was dating and living with another New Jersey mobster ended up hosting a fundraiser for Giannoulias. A Google search of her name and the mobster’s name should have had the Giannoulias campaign saying “thanks but . . no thanks” to that fundraiser just to avoid the obvious snickering.

    Google the name of the mobster in question and several references to The Sopranos are made, as he was arrested for doing some things that were highlighted on that show, basically everything but the “Badda Bing.”

    Why would the Alexi campaign lead with their chin on that one? Who is vetting these things for him?

  26. - D.P. Gumby - Friday, Sep 17, 10 @ 3:01 pm:

    Hitler is so yesterday. They should have used Heath Ledger Joker make-up on the faces…you know, like the Tea Baggers use on their posters of Obama……

  27. - Corduroy Bob - Friday, Sep 17, 10 @ 3:05 pm:

    “And as for Mark Kirk, he will soon sleep with the fishes.”

  28. - Cincinnatus - Friday, Sep 17, 10 @ 3:10 pm:

    “Leave the Greek, take the cannoli.”

  29. - fed up - Friday, Sep 17, 10 @ 3:17 pm:

    Cincinnatus That got a laugh out of me.

  30. - wndycty - Friday, Sep 17, 10 @ 3:20 pm:

    When you think about it did Berrios have a shot at the Chicago Tribune endorsement? What did he really have to gain by attending an endorsement session for an endorsement he was never going to get?

  31. - Bubs - Friday, Sep 17, 10 @ 3:20 pm:

    Chicago IL (AP) – September 17. Several sources today report that Mob leaders have taken out a “contract” for “hit” on a Mark Kirk campaign story against Alexi Ginnoulias. The only problem is that confused Mob buttonmen can’t seem to find it.

    “Yo, howdaya find a freakin’ story?” one frustrated gunman complained. “I mean, it’s like it’s floatin’ in Da Void, or somethin’.“ he added.

    “I dunno,” said his companion. “But if I doo find it, I’m blowin’ its freaking brains out all over.”

    “Hey, I hoid of ‘killin’ a story’ before, but I don’ know how dey doo it,” complained another. “Whadda ya aim at, anyway? It ain’t got no head or nuthin.”

    The search continues.

  32. - Doubledown - Friday, Sep 17, 10 @ 4:25 pm:

    This was just posted on redstate regarding the Nazi issue

  33. - Responsa - Friday, Sep 17, 10 @ 4:42 pm:

    ==When you think about it did Berrios have a shot at the Chicago Tribune endorsement? What did he really have to gain by attending an endorsement session for an endorsement he was never going to get?==

    So, now the rule of thumb is, if you think you won’t get an endorsement in an important election you should not even bother to show up to plead your case or state your positions or answer questions? Blowing off one of the 2 big newspaper editorial staffs in the city and letting them publish that, is a pretty interesting move for a pol, especially the Cook County Democratic Chairman. Berrios must be either very scared or very cocky. Won’t look too good to voters either way.

  34. - Cuban Pilot - Friday, Sep 17, 10 @ 4:42 pm:

    “Ms. Abdy has nothing to do with the mob. She is a successfull businesswomen who proudly served her country as a hollywood producer. Further, she only raised money for Lexi because he was the greatest politician she has ever seen, and she has know politicians all over the world.
    So,this money was not really for Lexi’s campaign. Rather, she raised a few dollars, but this money was solely to be used Lexi’s acting lessons, dancing lessons. Thus, the Kirk campaign is wrongly trying to ruin Lexi.”

  35. - Obamarama - Friday, Sep 17, 10 @ 5:04 pm:

    I love the tweet. Is it immature and ridiculous? Sure. But I’m sure that it was a nice mood-lifter for Bowen’s staff on a Friday afternoon and wouldn’t be surprised if it riled some of the Berrios team.

    Kinzinger, give me a break. The Hitler stache means you have hit the big times. If this is what your oppo is reverting to, you’re doing something right. Stay on message and let them look like a pack of crazies. Either that or take a seat if you don’t have the chin for the big leagues.

  36. - wordslinger - Saturday, Sep 18, 10 @ 9:16 am:

    Manny’s Deli is so good. Nothing better on an early fall day than a Reuben followed by serious couch time and college football. Maybe a John Wayne/John Ford movie somewhere in there.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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