[Bumped up to Tuesday morning for visibility.]
* The Tribune reports on a Nov. 14, 2008 FBI surveillance recording of a phone conversation between then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich and JB Pritzker discussing options for filling President-elect Barack Obama’s US Senate seat…
“I’m sure you thought of this one, but Jesse White,” Pritzker tells Blagojevich. “Even though I know you guys aren’t like, you know, bosom buddies or anything, it covers you on the African-American thing.” […]
Pritzker notes that elevating White to the Senate would open up another appointment for secretary of state, an office coveted for its patronage jobs. “It’d be a lot less pressure on you. You don’t have to put an African-American in that spot,” Pritzker says. […]
“All I would say is I think that there need to be more, you know, people of color that serve in public office,” Pritzker said. “I mean, I think that’s something, I’ve supported a lot of candidates over the years who are people of color and Jesse White’s, I think, a beloved person in the state of Illinois, so I can only imagine that’s what I had in mind.”
Interesting how Pritzker would point out to Blagojevich the immense patronage benefits of elevating White to the Senate and appointing his replacement. It’s not inconceivable that Pritzker could appoint White’s replacement if he wins.
* MAA’s take…
In listening to the recording again, it sounds to me that Pritzker’s main goal for this particular conversation was to dissuade Blagojevich from appointing then-Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. to the open seat. Blagojevich and Jackson had been close at one time, but they’d had a huge falling out and Pritzker could’ve saved his breath.
* OK, for this next part, you may have to first click here for some background information on Rev. Wright and click here for background on Bill Ayers. Here’s my transcript of the rest of the tape about possible Senate appointments…
Blagojevich: And how about this one? God, if I knew for sure I wasn’t running again…
Blagojevich: How about Rev. Wright?
Pritzker: Oh, my God! [Both laugh] Bill Ayers!
Blagojevich: How about f-ing sending Rev. Wright there? I’d bet ya he’d take it.
Blagojevich: Huh? Would that be f-ing funny?
Pritzker: Hilarious. Oh my God. [Both laugh]
Blagojevich: Yeah. [Laughing] Right there on the Senate floor. It’s not ‘God Bless America,’ it’s ‘God Damn America!’
Pritzker: God damn America.
Blagojevich: ‘Well now, when Barack was in Sunday school, I used to tell him’…
Pritzker: That’s funny.
The guy had better get out the checkbook again.
* From Galia Slayen at the Pritzker campaign…
On the same day Bruce Rauner released a new attack ad in the Democratic primary with edited audio of illegally leaked calls, the Chicago Tribune has now released portions of calls they’ve chosen to sit on for nine months. JB has always made clear how much he admires Jesse White and believes he would have made a great Senator for Illinois. Bruce Rauner should spend less time colluding with a newspaper on how to play politics in another party’s primary and more time figuring out how to be in charge and stop failing this state.
*** UPDATE 1 *** Rauner campaign…
“The Pritzker campaign must be panicking because now they’re just making things up.”
*** UPDATE 2 *** Biss campaign…
On Monday, the Chicago Tribune published a never before released recorded phone conversation between J.B. Pritzker and former governor Rod Blagojevich revealing an inappropriate and ongoing conversation regarding Pritzker’s requests to be appointed to office by Blagojevich in 2008, after Barack Obama was elected president.
“The recorded conversations between JB Pritzker and Rod Blagojevich represent everything that’s wrong with the connection between money and power,” said Daniel Biss. “For too long our broken system has allowed the wealthy to have unfettered access to the decision-makers in our government. That’s what breeds corruption. And when that access involves two influential white men making political calculations based on skin color, that’s what perpetuates a racist system.”
“People shouldn’t be reduced to their race,” said Litesa Wallace. “Like anyone else, black people have individual strengths and weaknesses, and none of those are predicated on the color of our skin. When I hear conversations between the rich and powerful that minimize anyone based on race, or gender, or any other characteristic, it reminds me of the work that remains for all of us. We must stop treating people like commodities and build a world where we have co-governance and a true representative democracy.”
“JB Pritzker owes us all an apology,” continued Biss. “What JB said is racially insensitive at best and at worst reveals an attitude that is disrespectful to African Americans. He needs to stop blaming others and take responsibility for his actions, not hide behind statements issued by a campaign spokesperson.”
*** UPDATE 3 *** Kennedy campaign…
“To hear JB Pritzker say the words ‘least offensive’ to describe black men in America, black elected officials from Illinois, is beyond offensive. We are more than a ‘thing.’ We are leaders, we are voters, we are parents, we are sons and daughters, we are neighbors, and we are trying to overcome generations of racism. Structural inequities make that difficult, if not impossible, and JB Pritzker’s demeaning language unravels the progress we’ve made.”
“Our true character shows when we think no one is watching. JB’s conversations with Blagojevich are disqualifying and they’re a reflection of his integrity. The language he used to marginalize the African-American community is unacceptable. To use the term ‘least offensive’ to describe anyone, particularly one of our state’s longest-serving African-American leaders, is dismissive and disrespectful. JB Pritzker should apologize instead of blaming others.”