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Bill Daley out of Senate race

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* No surprise at all

Former U.S. Commerce Secretary Bill Daley is opting off a political fast track.

• • To wit: Daley, the brother of Mayor Daley, told Sneed in February he planned to enter the U.S. Senate sweepstakes for the seat once held by President Obama, now held by the embattled Roland Burris.

• • It’s over: “I was gung-ho, and hired pollsters and talked to fund-raisers and planned to make an announcement in mid-April,” Daley told Sneed yesterday. “But I’m getting remarried in June and decided I want to take a new tack in my life. I just don’t want to live a commuter life back and forth from Washington.”

• • The China connection: Sneed also tipped March 25 that Daley may be getting his chopsticks ready — becoming the next U.S. ambassador to China, but has nixed that idea. “It’s true, there were serious discussions about China, but I recently decided, ‘No.’”

* Meanwhile, the Post-Dispatch looks at the Bright Start loss which might possibly haunt Democratic state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias’ race for US Senate…

Imagine your shock when, on opening your statement, you learn that your conservative, state-sponsored fund lost 38 percent of its value last year. If you’re astute enough to dig deeper, you learn the fund was using derivatives to increase its exposure to mortgage-backed securities.

Yes, even as the housing market was tanking, someone thought it was a good idea to make a risky, leveraged bet on mortgage bonds. And they did it with your kid’s college fund. […]

Illinois was the first state to react to the problems. On Dec. 4, it began directing new money into other investments instead of Oppenheimer Core Bond.

However, Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias announced that existing balances would remain in the Oppenheimer fund “to avoid locking in past performance declines.” That looks like a mistake: Core Bond has lost 3.2 percent since early December, compared with a positive return of 4.7 percent for a Bloomberg bond-fund index.

The piece concludes with a generally positive view of the Bright Start program, however.

* Incumbent US Sen. Roland Burris was recently endorsed by, um, this guy

Scott Baier, a 28-year-old former Mercer County [New Jersey] Republican Committeeman who was a Socialist Party candidate for State Assembly in 2005. His platform includes putting George W. Bush, Richard Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld on trial for war crimes, abolishing the U.S. Department of Defense, the nationalization of the media, legalization of all drugs, a constitutional amendment banning all guns, and a “total ban” on pornography.

* More campaign stuff…

* Democrats getting ready for 10th District run

* Dems looking at alternatives to Sen. Burris

* Burris Grills Hearing on Funds for Minority Businesses

posted by Rich Miller
Friday, Apr 24, 09 @ 8:40 am


  1. Bill Daley, like Jeb Bush, have discovered the drawbacks of having a politically powerful father and brother. As their sibling’s careers floundered, they discovered that the electorate wouldn’t want them either.

    Giannoulais has a problem. Not only does this little incident tarnish the only real job the guy has ever had off a basketball court, it is the kind of issue most voters are hypersensitive about right now. He needs to either innoculate himself by demonstrating a willingness to be openly critical of his decision and let the issue die after being discussed to death, or he has to hope that the electorate will have a change of heart concerning Wall Street, and bankers like his family so that he can overcome it that way. He has a problem here, but he shouldn’t be surprised.

    Burris is an idiot, endorsed by an idiot.

    Comment by VanillaMan Friday, Apr 24, 09 @ 8:48 am

  2. I can’t really fault Giannoulias for taking the strategy to not sell. Technically the loss is not realised until you sell, and if the fund recovers you can avoid or reduce the current loss.

    I was impressed that he was the first to react and redirect new money to different funds.

    Comment by Ghost Friday, Apr 24, 09 @ 8:49 am

  3. “Technically the loss is not realised until you sell, and if the fund recovers you can avoid or reduce the current loss.”

    And how may voters are going to get that vs….

    Invested the savings people trusted with the state in risky Mortgage Backed Securities…

    Comment by OneMan Friday, Apr 24, 09 @ 8:54 am

  4. But the article doesn’t mention Alexi fired the firm running Bright Start after he took over, and installed Oppenheimer himself. I have a direct-sold (no commission fees), self-directed Bright Start plan for my kids, all of it in the index funds the article is fond of.

    When I received the Alexi note he was unilaterally directing moeny out of a fund (that didn’t apply to me so I didn’t read the details) I thought is was odd: apparently he has never heard of dollar-cost averaging. But I guess he is trying to CYA on a firm he picked himself that turned out to be as bad as any other. And we’re supposed to think he has great insights or something to be a Senator? What was he thinking?

    Comment by Vote Quimby! Friday, Apr 24, 09 @ 8:54 am

  5. Hey Rich, they had footage of Rod on NBC5 in front of a green screen doing promo work for the reality show.

    Any chance you can get some of that and make the file available, could be fun to play with…

    Comment by OneMan Friday, Apr 24, 09 @ 8:55 am

  6. I like how Daley spoke of his victory as a foregone conclusion. “Don’t wanna live the commuter lifestyle” sounds much better than “I don’t know if I can make it through a challenging and demanding primary and general election.”

    Comment by Sewanee Friday, Apr 24, 09 @ 8:55 am

  7. Forgot to say: I do like Bright Start for its tax savings, and the website is easy to use. You can contribute to your savings online!

    Comment by Vote Quimby! Friday, Apr 24, 09 @ 8:57 am

  8. I guess this may have put an end to Alexi’s Bright Start in politics.


    Comment by Wumpus Friday, Apr 24, 09 @ 9:02 am

  9. IOW, Bill Daley realized he had zero chance of winning.

    Comment by Ravenswood Right Winger Friday, Apr 24, 09 @ 9:14 am

  10. So Bill “Hamlet” Daley has spoken. “2 b or not 2 b, dat is da question.” Although in fairness he is more eloquent that his elder brother.

    I expect he will again contemplate a run for elective office(randomly insert office here) within the next few years.

    As for the bozo who is endorsing Burris…….I’m sure Burris’ flack will say “A tide of support is building for Roland and will soon reach Tsunami like proportion”.

    Comment by IrishPirate Friday, Apr 24, 09 @ 9:18 am

  11. For the life of me, I don’t see why any politician would want to tie themselves so closely to a risky investment product. Farm it out to professionals like Bright Directions does and let them take the heat or the credit. Bright Start is very easy to use-too easy. At least with Bright Directions, the investor has to talk to someone who is licensed and is supposed to know what they are talking about.

    Alexi deserves all the heat he is getting on this because he was so happy to take all the credit. A 529 should be a investment tax vehicle monitored by the state and it should be nothing more. You don’t see the Treasurer telling you how to invest your IRA’s do you?

    Comment by Phineas J. Whoopee Friday, Apr 24, 09 @ 9:22 am

  12. Oneman, i agree the technical point will be completly lost to most listening only to soundbites in a campaign.

    The more interesting question is will it have traction with people given the state of the economy. Seems like a hard sell to conince voters that when everybank, investment grp, and the suto industry is goin bankrupt that Alexi should have notincurred a loss. Explaining the better options he could have taken becomes the technical explanation that gets lost in the world of soundbites.

    A fund loss money during one of her worst economic downturns in recent history… not sure how many will be that all fired up over such news.

    Comment by Ghost Friday, Apr 24, 09 @ 9:25 am

  13. I thought Daley was going to serve in the Senate and as ambassador to China simultaneously. What a scoop by Sneed! Rich, here’s one for you:

    Due to my volunteer duties this summer as a groundskeeper for my community’s Little League organization, I have come to the conclusion that I too will forego running for the Senate, seeking the ambassadorship to China or ruling the lost city of Atlantis.

    In addition, the backbreaking nature of my duties will prevent me from competing for the Chicago Bears’ starting quarterback position. I wish young Jay Cutler the best.

    Finally, I have notified Jennifer Aniston that due to the crushing business of raking, mowing, weeding and chalking, I will not be available to spend the summer with her in Tuscany working on our film project. Through her attorney, she accepted my decision and graciously suggested we keep a distance of 500 yards between us at all times. It just wasn’t meant to be, cherie.

    The many voices inside my head urging me to pursue these opportunities were disappointed, but respectful of my decision.

    Comment by wordslinger Friday, Apr 24, 09 @ 9:26 am

  14. “Flying Rod”*174/rod-blago-flying.jpg

    Comment by Anonymous Coward Friday, Apr 24, 09 @ 9:33 am

  15. Incumbent US Sen. Roland Burris was recently endorsed by, um, this guy

    Wow, I have way less drawbacks that that guy.

    Too bad my oldest isn’t old enough for an internship, I’d endorse Burris, make a contribution, and hit him up for a spot for her.

    AND get publicity for myself, What a deal!!

    Comment by Pat collins Friday, Apr 24, 09 @ 9:39 am

  16. Ghost, the political argument is pretty easy to make. The bond market actually went up in 2008 (source Barclays Aggregate Index)-Alexi’s hand-picked, “safe” bond fund went down 38 percent. Cue worried looking family sitting on couch-”we thought this was a safe investment for Susie’s college fund. Now she has to wait tables and go to school part-time. That’s not a Bright Start.”


    Comment by Arthur Andersen Friday, Apr 24, 09 @ 9:53 am

  17. Welcome to politics Alexi!

    Did he personally kill the market? No. But there are real questions about his management of this portfolio and his desire to be “clever” rather than “prudent.” And the buck stops with him, the self-proclaimed financial genius.

    His mediocre tenure in a relatively unimportant office added to his dubious financial dealings in the private sector, rolled up in his reputation as an empty suit may have Dick Durbin suffering some buyer’s remorse on the Giannoulias Juggernaut.

    Comment by Abe Froman Friday, Apr 24, 09 @ 9:54 am

  18. Alexi will be able to demonstrate to the minority that cares that he responded in a timely manner to a situation not of his making or within his control.

    If one looks at the totality of his performance as treasurer, he’s obviously met or exceeded all reasonable expectations.

    Winning elections is about more than these details. Alexis has proven to be a winner, not the least by raising well over $1MM in the 28 days before the 3/31 reporting period, none of it family or corporate PAC money.

    He’s a hard worker, he’s paid a lot of attention–both politically and governmentally–to downstate Illinois, he’s charismatic, and he’s involved tons of previously disengaged young people in the political process.

    Daley was smart not to take him on (for the reasons stated above and, as I’ve said before, because we don’t elect bald politicians).

    Alexi is a winner. We’re fortunate he’s thrown his hat in the ring.

    Comment by corvax Friday, Apr 24, 09 @ 10:05 am

  19. Hmmm…

    “Alexi Giannoulais personally killed Illinois’ Bright Star program by giving it’s contract to a firm that lost taxpayers millions as part of the banking scandal and Wall Street crash, harming the educational future of Illinois children.”

    Yeah - that could hurt.

    Comment by VanillaMan Friday, Apr 24, 09 @ 10:09 am

  20. Susan Garrett for Congress is a very good idea. The Democratic Party has a problem with women running for offices beyond the State House. There was only one woman on the State ticket for the Democratic Party…guess who? Why are others not promoted? the Republican Party had three women on the ticket the last time, although they did not use this to their advantage, and a woman minority leader now in the State Senate. And, the “Schakowsky” group, which includes Julie Hamos, has mainly worried about their own. It’s time for this to change. It would be nice to have someone like Garrett up there to add to Melissa Bean, who could, in my opinion, go for more in Illinois.

    Comment by Amy Friday, Apr 24, 09 @ 10:22 am

  21. Now that Bill Daley has confirmed he’s out, I think the next story from The Hill might have the headline “Dems looking for alternative to Burris, Giannoulias.”

    I hear Durbin isn’t as high on Alexi as many think. I bet the D.C. Dems are going to start looking to recruit another candidate to face Kirk, who is viewed by the Dem National Senate Committee as a pretty strong candidate.

    Fair or not, this Bright Start thing is a real problem for Alexi. You can bet that above line from the Post-Dispatch will be run verbatim in attack ads:

    “The St. Louis Post-Dispatch said:

    ‘even as the housing market was tanking, someone thought it was a good idea to make a risky, leveraged bet on mortgage bonds. And they did it with your kid’s college fund…’

    That someone was Alexi Giannoulias.”

    There’s a lot of Broadway Bank dirt floating out there, too.

    The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is going to want a safer candidate to hold what should be a safe Dem seat. I bet they make another run at Lisa after the Mayor’s kinda-sorta endorsement of Quinn yesterday.

    Who else might they recruit? Dan Hynes? Tom Dart? James Claiborne? Jan Schakowsky?

    Comment by Vincent Friday, Apr 24, 09 @ 10:36 am

  22. Bill Daley won’t you please quit hinting that you are going to run for something!

    The Hamlet routine is wearing thin. As far as I know, you have never even printed a nominating petition.

    Comment by Honest Abe Friday, Apr 24, 09 @ 10:39 am

  23. Last night I was the victim of a negative push poll re: the US Senate race.Daley wasn’t mentioned but the most negative stuff was aimed at Alexi (banker to the mob, etc.), and Chris Kennedy,of all people (rich spoiled brat who lives in Kennilworth and is out of touch with real people, nephew of that nefarious Teddy, etc..).
    I hadn’t heard Kennedy’s name mentioned as a possible candidate before but whoever paid for the poll obviously considered him and Alexi to be the main competition. I, of course, declared my undying support for Roland. Lisa was also mentioned as a possible candidate but not slammed.

    Comment by Bill Friday, Apr 24, 09 @ 10:51 am

  24. I live in the 10th Congressional District, and I hope that, if Rep. Kirk doesn’t run for re-election, State Senators Garrett and Link will run. State Rep. Elizabeth Coulson should run, and she would win the general election. Since 1981, that district has had moderate republican congressmen. Coulson agrees with Kirk about many issues, and she’s been a legislator since 1997.

    Comment by ConservativeVeteran Friday, Apr 24, 09 @ 10:52 am

  25. =Alexi will be able to demonstrate to the minority that cares that he responded in a timely manner to a situation not of his making or within his control.=

    corvax, he’s had several shots, so to speak, at doing that and he hasn’t come close. He couldn’t answer in particular the very direct questions asked by Greg Hinz of Crain’s.

    And BTW, Oppenheimer, the money manager Alexi picked to run Bright Start has another little problem. They have an affiliate called Tremont Capital, which was basically a money-raiser for institutions and individuals who wanted to invest in hedge funds. They raised over $3 billion in this “feeder” setup and sent all the money to, you guessed it, Bernie Madoff. Buh-bye, $3 billion.

    Comment by Arthur Andersen Friday, Apr 24, 09 @ 11:18 am

  26. Wow, Corvax, nice re-typing of the Giannoulias talking points. Or did you just cut and paste from a campaign memo?

    “Alexi’s proven to be a winner, not the least by raising well over $1MM.”

    Are you serious??? Rod could raise money in his sleep! Did that make him a winner??? No. It made him a crook. And the Richy Rich heir of the shady Broadway Bank is starting to smell like last week’s fish.

    Comment by Abe Froman Friday, Apr 24, 09 @ 2:14 pm

  27. Where do they get that 38% number? My son’s $50K of about a year ago is down to less than $28K. That’s a 45% loss under wunderkind Alexi. Meanwhile my managed retirement account is down only about 10% due to the market.

    Alexi is a good campaigner, but he’s no better than Blago at doing the actual work.

    Comment by Ann O'Namus Friday, Apr 24, 09 @ 2:22 pm

  28. Abe,

    Rod didn’t have to raise funds for governor races under the fed limits. The amount Alexi raised suggests he has wide appeal. and he did it with a voluntary disavowal of corporate pac money.

    don’t have access to campaign memos so no cuttin’ and pastin’. just an observer and occasional amateur participant in this thing called politics, always on the look-out for true progressives (not disguised machine byproducts)!

    have a good weekend

    Comment by corvax Friday, Apr 24, 09 @ 4:15 pm

  29. “always on the look-out for true progressives (not disguised machine byproducts)”

    Are you kidding me? Alexi a true progressive?? You’ve got to be kidding me. Alexi’s no more a true progressive than Mayor Daley.

    Comment by A Cynic Friday, Apr 24, 09 @ 6:06 pm

  30. ==raising well over $1MM==
    I guess the Dems’ budgeted Illinois payoffs, I mean contributions, had been bottlenecked since Rod’s arrest….did you see the story on the right from the Post-Dispatch that creepy lawyer firm Simmons-Cooper (or is that a mattress firm) is the leading Alexi donor? Trial lawyers unite behind Alexi!

    Comment by Vote Quimby!--Latecomer Friday, Apr 24, 09 @ 8:50 pm

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