Chicago Sun-Times
Staff reports on all things politics - from City Hall to Springfield to Washington, D.C.

August 2012 Archives

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While politics, particularly in this day and age, can draw out the most passionate of feelings from the American electorate, it's apparently nothing compared to Honey Boo Boo.

At least that's the case if you judge these things by TV ratings. And really, what other fair way is there to judge these things.

The Hollywood Reporter points out that for all the time and effort spent worrying over, broadcasting and analyzing the goings-on at the Republican National Convention, a reality show spinoff about a redneck family and their beauty pageant daughter smoked the cable outlets in the ratings.

Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, TLC's controversial reality show about a self-proclaimed "redneck" family and their Toddlers and Tiaras daughter, hit another ratings high Wednesday night.

The fourth episode of Honey Boo Boo pulled in just shy of 3 million viewers at 10 p.m., according to Nielsen overnight ratings, growing 30 percent from last week's 2.3 million haul.

In the demo, Honey Boo Boo did even better. The half-hour series' showing among adults 18-49 bested all other cable outings for the night -- including coverage of the Republican National Convention -- to pull a 1.3 rating.

Of course, had the organizers thought to include more of the bizarre content that Clint Eastwood mustered up for his surprise visit to the podium Thursday night, perhaps there would have been a fighting chance against the force of nature that is Honey Boo Boo. Or maybe they could just sign her up for a speech - call it outreach to women voters.

If you've missed the talents of the family, a look at Honey's world:

Of course, it could be the ratings were not just affected by Honey Boo Boo. There was another force of nature to hit the convention in the form of Hurricane Isaac.

Nate Silver blogs at FiveThirtyEight that there were a few bounce factors, Isaac included, that contributed to the lower ratings.

Ratings for the final two nights of the Republican convention were down quite a bit from 2008, declining by about 30 percent overall.

The ratings decline should not really be a surprise. Whereas, in 2008, Senator John McCain announced his running mate, Sarah Palin, just a few days before the convention, making her a national sensation, Mitt Romney rolled out his choice of Representative Paul D. Ryan three weeks ago, perhaps limiting the buildup to Tampa, Fla.

The convention was also shortened by, and had to compete with, Hurricane Isaac. And the security in and around Tampa was airtight, limiting protests and distractions -- but perhaps also the spontaneity and newsworthiness of the event.

The word "Chicago" has been spat with reckless abandon in the 2012 election cycle. Republicans and the right have been using it, well, liberally as an epithet to point to what they contend are politics as usual and the failed presidency of Chicago's favorite son, Barack Obama.

It's an attempt to smear the president with the slime that often does bubble up in Chicago and Illinois politics, no doubt rife with corruption and a history of underhanded practices. Though, as Mark Brown points out, the idea that Obama is a product of the Machine is about as flawed as it gets:

It's an easy hit. Our city's politics are dirty, undeniably so. Obama emerged from our political system, therefore, Obama must be dirty.

May I just point out that you can't even get elected mayor of Chicago any more on the basis of ward politics, not to mention U.S. senator, let alone president of the United States.

kochdavid2.jpgDavid Koch, a billionaire industrialist who, with brother, Charles, has given millions to the Republican cause had a surprising message for the base and the Romney campaign Thursday night.

"I believe in gay marriage," Koch told Politico's Kenneth Vogel.

Perhaps even more surprising, considering Koch's status as a delegate from New York at the Republican National Convention, is his stance on the need for a tax increase to help balance the federal budget. Koch tells Politico:

"I think it's essential to be able to achieve spending reductions and maybe it's going to require some tax increases," he said. "We got to come close to balancing the budget, otherwise we're in a terrible deep problem." As for whether military spending cuts should be on the table, Koch said, "I think to balance the budget, probably every federal department has to take cuts in my opinion. We have to spread it around."

Full interview here.


While President Obama took to Reddit and the Romney campaign concentrated on hastags, a new front opened on the social media political war, answering a gauntlet thrown down by Clint Eastwood.

Eastwood spent much of his unusual speech/riff/standup Thursday night at the Republican National Convention conversing with and cutting down an Invisible Obama in a chair next to him. This being the age of Twitter, it didn't take long for an @InvisibleObama to crop up to carry on the conversation.

President Obama - the visible one - got in on the act, too. Through his official Twitter account, an answer was released:

And, of course, the inevitable meme cropped up - Eastwooding. Or, #eastwooding, if you prefer, which is basically a bunch of folks uploading pictures of them talking to their chairs. A bunch of photos and tweets on the meme can be found here.

Photos like this:

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TAMPA -- Location. Location. Location.

As in real estate, it mattered a whole lot in terms of coming into direct contact with GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney when he strode from the convention hall floor to the stage Thursday night to deliver his convention keynote.

State GOP Chief Pat Brady maneuvered himself along the aisle and got to shake Romney's hand as he headed to the front of the hall.

"I said, 'Go get him, governor, and he looked at me and said, 'Thanks!'" Brady told the Chicago Sun-Times. "It was pretty cool. He was fired up."

Brady said Romney also extended his hand to Richard Porter, who was standing a few feet away. "He recognized Richard," Brady said.

Porter has helped raise money for Romney.

TAMPA--Clint Eastwood delivered a loopy and rambling speech--more like a stand-up act-- Thursday night at the Republican Convention--as he tried to make the case to elect Mitt Romney.

Tweeted Chicago Sun-Times critic Roger Ebert, "Clint, my hero, is coming across as sad and pathetic. He didn't need to do this to himself. It's unworthy of him."

Eastwood's name leaked out earlier Thursday as the surprise "mystery guest."
When he took to the stage--at a convention where everything is highly scripted and speeches vetted--Eastwood riffed.

"Now, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, what's a movie tradesman doing out here? You know, they're all left-wingers out there, left of Lenin. At least that's what people think, but that's not really the case. There is a lot of conservative people, a lot of moderate people, Republicans, Democrats in Hollywood. It's just that conservative people, by the nature of the word itself, are -- play it a little more close to vest. They don't go around hot- dogging it."


MITT ROMNEY ACCEPTS GOP NOMINATION

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TAMPA, FL -- Mitt Romney took the floor on 10:38 Eastern Time.
"I accept the nomination of president to the United States," he said.

The speeches: Day 4 of the Republican National Convention

Storified by Craig Newman · Thu, Aug 30 2012 19:04:14

9:02 | Clint Eastwood takes the stage with a giant Outlaw Josey Wales image as the backdrop.
Eastwood speech draws mixed reaction at RNC - Sun-Times PoliticsPrior to Clint Eastwood's reported speech at the Republican National Convention, The Hollywood Reporter talked delegates and got mixed re...
9:02 | Chants of "USA!, USA!, USA!" echo through the halls after Romney tribute.
8:55 | Lots of memories of raising the five boys, with Ann often on her own as Mitt travelled for his career. Mitt to Ann: "Remember, what you're doing is more important than what I'm doing."
8:51 | Tribute video to Mitt Romney - heavy on Olympics turnaround, dealing with Ann's multiple sclerosis and his life with his soul mate.
Sweet blog Mitt Romney acceptance speech: Excerpts http://bit.ly/SX0chvLynn Sweet
8:46 | Ladies and gentlemen, the musical stylings of Democrat R&B singer Bebe Winans.
Watch American Idol Winner Taylor Hicks Sing at RNCpbsnewshour
Taylor Hicks Taking it to the Street #gop2012 http://pic.twitter.com/EEc4BSsdnatasha korecki
8:27 | American Idol season 5 winner Taylor Hicks breaks out his Michael McDonald inner self with the Doobie Brothers' "Takin' it to the Streets.
Watch the RNC Video Tribute To Ronald Reagan's Presidencypbsnewshour
The Republican National Convention was treated to a tribute to Ronald Reagan, but not to a hologram Reagan . . .
Sorry, no Ronald Reagan hologram at the RNC - Sun-Times PoliticsIn this July 17, 1980, file photo, Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan stands before a cheering Republican National Conventio...
Many people sitting in Illinois delegation sneaking a profile shot of Chris Christie. #GOP2012natasha korecki
Chris Christie standing as he watches tonight's speeches. #GOP2012 http://pic.twitter.com/mTKQjSpLnatasha korecki
GOP convention: a giant screen says "Bain Capital, building business." minority biz owner speaking now #GOP2012natasha korecki
Tom Stemberg, Founder of Staples now talking about "how Mitt Romney helped keep it alive." #GOP2012natasha korecki
Watch the RNC Video Featuring Hispanic Politicianspbsnewshour
Craig Romney: 'It Needs To Be About Como Se Puede' (How Can We?)pbsnewshour
Craig Romney shows off his Spanish fluency - Sun-Times PoliticsSaying he spent the last two years working in Chile, one of Mitt Romney's sons, Craig, reached out to Hispanics Thursday night, speaking ...
Former Mass. Lt. Gov. Healey: Romney 'Worked Harder Than Anyone I Know'pbsnewshour

Prior to Clint Eastwood's reported speech at the Republican National Convention, The Hollywood Reporter talked delegates and got mixed reactions on the celebrity endorsement.

Illinois delegate Loren Heal noted the rarity of a celebrity endorsing a Republican, while former New York Rep. Rick Lazio said Eastwood's image is meaningful.

However, The Hollywood Reporter found only five of 30 random convention attendees thought the endorsement was meaningful during a random survey.

Sheriff's police needed an industrial saw to free a group of protesters who locked themselves to a piece of pipe and laid across the road during a protest at the Tampa Electric Company's plant, according to Tampa Bay Online.

About 150 protesters attended the event - one jumped on a stopped tanker truck and others banged on drums.

The Tampa Bay Times reported nobody was arrested because the protesters agreed to leave the area. Sheriff's police noted there was no property damage and nobody was injured.

Protesters offered praise for how Tampa Bay police handled their demonstrations during the event, and Mayor Bob Buckhorn and former mayor Pam Iorio agreed, according to The Tampa Bay Times.


Americans have a better view of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney today than they did a year ago, according to a newly released poll.

Will tonight's address to the nation help him turn the tide more in his favor?

A USA Today/Gallup poll, conducted Aug. 20-22 and released today showed 48 percent of Americans held a favorable view of him and 46 percent an unfavorable view.

That's an uptick from mid-July when Gallup says "significantly more" Americans held an unfavorable view of Romney. The poll though said Romney's numbers still fell below President Obama's numbers -- 53 percent of Americans hold a favorable view of the president.

Craig Romney shows off his Spanish fluency

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Saying he spent the last two years working in Chile, one of Mitt Romney's sons, Craig, reached out to Hispanics Thursday night, speaking Spanish with ease and fluency.

Here's one excerpt: "Mi padre - Mitt Romney - es un hombre de familia. Él es un gran esposo, padre y abuelo. Él sabe como unir a nuestro país y valora que somos una nación de inmigrantes."

Translation: My father is a family man. He's a great husband, father and grandfather. He knows how to unite this country and recognizes that we are a nation of immigrants.

After Mitt Romney closes the Republican National Convention, many ultra conservatives will tune into college football, which kicks off Thursday night, according to a report of the TV viewing habits of different voters posted on JimRomenesko.com.

No. 2 on the list for ultra conservatives: Antiques Roadshow.

The Daily Show with John Stewart was the top show for super Democrats.

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In this July 17, 1980, file photo, Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan stands before a cheering Republican National Convention in Detroit's Joe Louis Arena. | File


What do Ronald Reagan and Tupac have in common? Right, they both won't be at the Republican National Convention tonight. Not even as holograms.

Yahoo News reports that plans to apparently up the energy level of the RNC by having a hologram Regan speak in the closing night have not come to pass.

OK, it was never "officially" planned for the convention, but still . . .

"It wasn't officially going to be part of the convention," Tony Reynolds, founder of crowdsourcing website A KickIn Crowd, told Yahoo News in a phone interview Thursday. "It was going to be outside of the convention at the Lakeland Center."

Why introduce Reagan? Isn't there enough firepower in the big tent this week? Well, Paul Ryan aside, maybe not . . .

"At the time he hadn't chosen Paul Ryan, so I think they were a little worried about his energy," Reynolds said. "Even in a hologram form I think Reagan's going to beat a lot of people in terms of communicating."

Of course, maybe it was all just a joke to begin with. You could always ask the Twitter incarnation of hologram Reagan:


What will the Ohio native Reynolds do in the wake of this letdown? Help Urban Meyer settle in at Ohio State, of course.

What would a Reagan hologram have looked like? Just ask Tupac.

TAMPA, FL -- U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL) on Thursday said it was too early to predict gubernatorial front-runners emerging among Republicans but without question: "what you're hearing right now is a silent starting gun."

Roskam made the remarks following an Illinois delegation breakfast at the third and final day of the Republican National Convention.

"Your guess is as good as mine. You've seen a little bit of a prelude here," he said, describing U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL) as "one of several candidates that's in the mix."

"I think that the next Republican candidate for governor has to lay out a clear fiscal plan, in contrast to how Gov. Quinn ... is running the state," Roskam said.

TAMPA--Mitt Romney accepts the GOP presidential nomination Thursday night--and in his speech appeals to 2008 Barack Obama voters to give up on him in 2012--if the "best feeling" you had for him was "the day you voted for him."

"Many of you felt that way on Election Day four years ago. Hope and Change had a powerful appeal. But tonight I'd ask a simple question: If you felt that excitement when you voted for Barack Obama, shouldn't you feel that way now that he's President Obama? You know there's something wrong with the kind of job he's done as president when the best feeling you had, was the day you voted for him,"Romney will say, according to excerpts released by his campaign.

Click below for excerpts...

President Barack Obama's deputy campaign manager and press secretary have moved from Chicago to Tampa, where they are manning mobile campaign office outside the Republican National Convention, according to the New York Times.

Stephanie Cutter and Ben LaBolt, who served as Rahm Emanuel's spokesperson during his successful mayor run, are manning the pop-up office about a block outside the RNC's security perimeter.

The storefront functions as a work station with folding tables as well as a press room for news conferences with reporters. On Thursday, Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin used the space to criticize Paul Ryan's Wednesday night acceptance speech.

Fox News is reportedly considering not renewing the contract of Sarah Palin, whose Republican National Convention appearances were cancelled -- reportedly at the request of Mitt Romney.

TAMPA--The Mitt Romney campaign confirmed this morning a mystery guest appearing on the final night of the Republican National Convention--and multiple news outlets are reporting it is actor Clinton Eastwood.


Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) outside the Clearwater, Fl. hotel where the Illinois delegation is staying for the Republican National Convention.

(Video by Lynn Sweet)

TAMPA--Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) on Thursday said the Democrats are wasting their time attacking Mitt Romney for his tenure at Bain Capital. Millions of dolllars have been spent on Bain ads and "it has not had an impact for them," Roskam said. Romney accepts the nomination on Thursday night---and his time at Bain will be featured at the final night of the convention.

CLEARWATER, FL -- Former Gov. Jim Edgar tells the Chicago Sun-Times
about the improving health of the state Republican Party as the
national GOP convention draws to a close Thursday.

CLEARWATER, FL -- State Sen. Kirk Dillard (R-Hinsdale), loser of the
2010 GOP primary for governor by 193 votes, gives the Chicago
Sun-Times a rundown of what he's heard from Illinois Republicans at
the party's soon-to-conclude national convention about making another
run for governor.

U.S. Rep. Robert Dold (R-IL), given one of the most Democratic-heavy
districts held by any incumbent Republican in the country, talks about
the importance of pro-business agenda that will help job growth.

Dold spoke Thursday before members of the Illinois delegation to the
Republican National Convention.

On Wednesday, President Obama sat down for a virtual town hall on Reddit, the social media news and sharing site.

In his r/IAmA chat, he took on a variety of questions, from money in politics, to his toughest decisions to net freedom concerns.

Here's a sample of the fare:

[-]gobearss 1337 points 18 hours ago

ow do you balance family life and hobbies with, well, being the POTUS?

[-]PresidentObamaObama[S] 2137 points 17 hours ago

t's hard - truthfully the main thing other than work is just making sure that I'm spending enough time with michelle and the girls. The big advantage I have is that I live above the store - so I have no commute! So we make sure that when I'm in DC I never miss dinner with them at 6:30 pm - even if I have to go back down to the Oval for work later in the evening. I do work out every morning as well, and try to get a basketball or golf game in on the weekends just to get out of the bubble. Speaking of balance, though, I need to get going so I'm back in DC in time for dinner. But I want to thank everybody at reddit for participating - this is an example of how technology and the internet can empower the sorts of conversations that strengthen our democracy over the long run. AND REMEMBER TO VOTE IN NOVEMBER - if you need to know how to register, go to Gottaregister.com. By the way, if you want to know what I think about this whole reddit experience - NOT BAD!

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That "NOT BAD" signoff, by the way, is a sly reference to the Obama "Rage Face" meme that has been popular with Redditors. The one pictured was posted by Redditor thrsdy.

The Washington Post has a breakdown on how the traffic for the Q&A was - enough to seize up the site at one point:

  • -- 3.8 million page views on the first page of the Obama Q&A
  • -- 2.6 million unique page views on the first page (and still going)
  • -- Over 22,000 comments. To be more exact, 23,082 as of 11:25 a.m., Eastern Thursday.
Obama has used YouTube and Google+ in the past to take questions as well.

Meanwhile, Mitt Romney's camp will be taking to Twitter Thursday when he makes his acceptance speech for the Republican nomination for president. It's not unusual that politicians hit the Twittersphere anymore, but the way Romney's campaign is doing it is new - via a sponsored, or purchased, trending topic hashtag.

Twitter confirmed to The Verge that this is the first time a candidate has bought a trend.

CLEARWATER, FL -- Mitt Romney irons his shirts -- so we all learned at the beginning of the GOP convention, when the party's presidential choice tried to humanize himself as a regular guy, not an out-of-touch mega-millionaire.
"I can relate to that," state Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka told members of the Illinois delegation Thursday morning. "I think it's neat he can do it because I don't know how. My mother always told me don't learn how because you'll always get stuck doing it."
That line from Topinka got the kinds of laughs the wise-cracking Riverside Republican has been known for over the years.
But a few moments later state GOP chief Pat Brady one-upped Topinka on the shirt-ironing schtick by turning to the state's imprisoned former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who seems to be the punchline that keeps giving.
"I understand one of the first jobs you get in federal prison is the laundry room. Maybe Rod is ironing shirts today," Brady said. "You can't go a whole convention without any Rod Blagojevich jokes now, c'mon."

CLEARWATER, FL -- The keynoter at Thursday morning's breakfast of Illinois' Republican delegates tossed some red meat at the crowd, bringing up convicted influence peddler Tony Rezko and his 2005 real-estate deal with then U.S. Sen. Barack Obama.

Former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu, a one-time chief of staff to former President George H. W. Bush, told the few hundred delegates to imagine the day after Obama loses to Republican Mitt Romney and has to come back to Chicago.

Sununu encouraged anyone in the crowd to "get in real estate" because Obama will be returning to Chicago with some wealthy friends and may need to possibly find a new house.

"Maybe Tony Rezko can help him again," Sununu said to laughter, citing the imprisoned ex-fundraiser for Rod Blagojevich who bought an undeveloped lot next to the Obama's Kenwood home the same day the first couple closed on their property in 2005. That transaction occurred when it was widely known Rezko was under federal investigation.

Rezko sold a strip of his property to Obama for $104,500 in a move that increased the Obamas' lot. During his presidential campaign, Obama apologized for the purchase, saying, "I consider this a mistake on my part and I regret it."

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Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney greets coal miners during a campaign rally at American Energy Corportation on August 14, 2012 in Beallsville, Ohio. (AP)

Neela Banerjee reports in the Los Angeles Times that a Mitt Romney campaign rally at an Ohio coal mine included miners and employees who may have been forced to attend and were docked a day's pay.

Employees of a major coal industry donor to Republican causes have raised complaints about their participation in an event earlier this month organized for GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney in the crucial swing state of Ohio.

Several miners at Murray Energy's Century coal mine in Beallsville, Ohio, contacted a nearby morning talk radio host, David Blomquist, over the last two weeks to say that they were forced to attend an Aug. 14 rally for Romney at the mine. Murray closed the mine the day of the rally, saying it was necessary for security and safety, then docked miners the day's pay. Asked by WWVA radio's David Blomquist about the allegations on Monday's show, Murray chief operating officer Robert Moore said: "Attendance was mandatory but no one was forced to attend the event."

Banjeree's report continues, pointing out that the mine is owned by Romney supporter Robert Murray:

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Mr. Chairman, delegates, and fellow citizens: I am honored by the support of this convention for vice president of the United States.

I accept the duty to help lead our nation out of a jobs crisis and back to prosperity -- and I know we can do this.

I accept the calling of my generation to give our children the America that was given to us, with opportunity for the young and security for the old -- and I know that we are ready.

Our nominee is sure ready. His whole life has prepared him for this moment -- to meet serious challenges in a serious way, without excuses and idle words. After four years of getting the run-around, America needs a turnaround, and the man for the job is Governor Mitt Romney.

I'm the newcomer to the campaign, so let me share a first impression. I have never seen opponents so silent about their record, and so desperate to keep their power.

They've run out of ideas. Their moment came and went. Fear and division are all they've got left.

As Paul Ryan thundered away in his acceptance speech Wednesday night at the Obama administration and the task ahead as he sees it for the Republican ticket and party, he had at least on fan in his hands - fellow GOP darling, and Wisconsinite, Gov. Scott Walker.

In the video above, Walker, who survived a furious recall election earlier this year, is seen with a tear streaming down his face as Ryan pushes the crowd to get the job done.

Crying in the crowd probably never happened at a Zeppelin show, though.

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Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker cries as Republican vice presidential nominee, Rep. Paul Ryan addresses the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2012. (AP Photo)

The speeches: Day 3 of the Republican National Convention

Storified by Craig Newman · Wed, Aug 29 2012 20:00:21

9:58 | Mitt and I also go to different churches. But in any church, the best kind of preaching is by example.
9:56 | Busting on Mitt Romney's choice of music: I've heard it on an elevator
9:54 | Mitt Romney and I are a generation apart.
Paul Ryan emerging from #gop2012 speech as Obama attack dogLynn Sweet
Ryan makes a swipe at Obama AND Bush #gop2012Lynn Sweet
"My mom is my role model," #gop2012 Paul Ryan. Heartfelt.Lynn Sweet
Paul Ryan punch #gop2012 In past four years have not lacked for words at the White House.Lynn Sweet
Obama team did not make housing crisis, but they did not correct it, #gop2012 Paul Ryan saysLynn Sweet
Paul Ryan slamming Obama on #Solyndra at #gop2012Lynn Sweet
Paul Ryan slamming Obama on #Solyndra at #gop2012Lynn Sweet
#PaulRyan #gop2012 Ryan attacking Obama "why would the next 4 years be different"Lynn Sweet
#PaulRyan #gop2012 Ryan attacking Obama "why would the next 4 years be different"Lynn Sweet
With all their attack ads the president is just throwing away money and he has plenty experience in that says Paul Ryan #gop2012Lynn Sweet
#gop2012 Paul Ryan "after 4 Years of run around " need changeLynn Sweet
Paul Ryan Republican National Convention speech excerpts - Sun-Times PoliticsPaul Ryan Convention Speech Excerpts: "I accept the calling of my generation to give our children the America that was given to us, with ...
Watch Rep. Paul Ryan's Introduction Video at Republican National Conventionpbsnewshour
Former Sec. of State Condoleezza Rice: 'Hard Work Before Us At Home'pbsnewshour
#gop2012 Condi Rice If worried about China, just consider..U.S. ratified 3 trade agreements in last few years, in the Bush administration.Lynn Sweet
And on a personal note #gop2012 Condi Rice talking about growing up in Jim Crow south and growing up to be U.S. Sec of StateLynn Sweet
Condi Rice says of poor kids, many minority, trapped in bad neighborhood schools: "This is the civil rights issue of our day." #GOP2012natasha korecki
#GOP2012 Condi Rice returning to opening question, "Where does America Stand? And it stands where....Lynn Sweet
"Self esteem comes from achievement" not from grade padding, says Condi Rice #gop2012. Plugs vouchers to give poor school choiceLynn Sweet
#gop2012 condi rice in convention speech saying a need to show "we are a compassionate nation" when it comes to immigrationLynn Sweet
"American ideals" in danger today, #2012 Condi Rice saying at GOP conventionLynn Sweet
U.S. not a culture of "entitlement," says Condi Rice #gop2012Lynn Sweet
#2012 Condi Rice in convention speech explaining "American Exceptionalism"Lynn Sweet
#2012 Condi Rice talking domestic policy, out of her wheelhouse, with mentions of small business growth and finance systemLynn Sweet
After Huckabee speech #GOP2012 Obama campaign links him to akinLynn Sweet
Former Gov. Mike Huckabee: Pres. Obama 'Promised Us Candy, But Left Us With Cavities'pbsnewshour
Watch Republican National Convention Video on Former Presidents Bushpbsnewshour
Good stuff: Video with George H.W. Bush impersonating Dana Carvey impersonating Bush: "Not going to do it. Wouldn't be prudent."Mark Brown
Sen. John McCain: 'We Can't Afford to Abandon the Cause of Human Freedom'pbsnewshour
John McCain attacks Obama on decisions abroad - Sun-Times Politics: http://blogs.suntimes.com/politics/2012/08/john_mccain_attacks_obama_on_decisions_abroad.html#.UD62_-l-3fM.twitter #RNC2012 #GOP2012natasha korecki
John McCain up speaking on his 76th birthday. #GOP2012natasha korecki
Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty: "Welcome to Barack Obama's Retirement Party'pbsnewshour

Two attendees ejected from RNC

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Two attendees at the Republican National Convention were ejected Tuesday after throwing nuts at a black CNN camerawoman and saying, "this is how we feed the animals."

A Tampa Bay Times critic questions the response of CNN and GOP to the incident and says it reveals a tension between race and media outlets at the RNC.

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Paul Ryan Convention Speech Excerpts:

"I accept the calling of my generation to give our children the America that was given to us, with opportunity for the young and security for the old - and I know that we are ready. Our nominee is sure ready. His whole life has prepared him for this moment - to meet serious challenges in a serious way, without excuses and idle words. After four years of getting the run-around, America needs a turnaround, and the man for the job is Governor Mitt Romney.

....

"Obamacare comes to more than two thousand pages of rules, mandates, taxes, fees, and fines that have no place in a free country. The president has declared that the debate over government-controlled health care is over. That will come as news to the millions of Americans who will elect Mitt Romney so we can repeal Obamacare.

......

"We have a plan for a stronger middle class, with the goal of generating 12 million new jobs over the next four years.

....

"My Dad used to say to me: 'Son. You have a choice: You can be part of the problem, or you can be part of the solution.' The present administration has made its choices. And Mitt Romney and I have made ours: Before the math and the momentum overwhelm us all, we are going to solve this nation's economic problems. And I'm going to level with you: We don't have that much time. But if we are serious, and smart, and we lead, we can do this.

....

"The right that makes all the difference now is the right to choose our own leaders. You are entitled to the clearest possible choice because the time for choosing is drawing near. So here is our pledge. We will not duck the tough issues - we will lead. We will not spend four years blaming others - we will take responsibility. We will not try to replace our founding principles, we will reapply our founding principles. The work ahead will be hard. These times demand the best of us - all of us, but we can do this. Together, we can do this."

John McCain attacks Obama on decisions abroad

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TAMPA -- Addressing a packed convention hall on this 76th birthday, U.S. Sen. John McCain, a GOP presidential candidate in 2000 and 2008, focused the bulk of his remarks on foreign policy and conflicts abroad, saying it was Mitt Romney whom he trusted with life and death decisions.
"I trust Mitt Romney to know that good can triumph over evil, that justice can vanquish tyranny, that love can conquer hate, that the desire for freedom is eternal and universal, and that America is still the best hope of mankind," McCain said.
It was the seventh time that McCain, who spoke on his birthday Wednesday, had addressed a political convention.
McCain, whose remarks came on the second night of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, blamed President Obama for failures abroad, including in Iran, where McCain said Obama "missed a historic opportunity," to throw the country's support behind the Iranian revolution.
"We are now being tested by an array of threats that are more complex, more numerous and just as deadly as any I can recall in my lifetime," McCain (R-Arizona) said. "We face a consequential choice - and make no mistake, it is a choice."
He cited a 2009 incident known world-wide when a woman named Neda was shot and bled to death in a street in Tehran.
McCain said Obama failed in a major way:
"The president missed a historic opportunity to throw America's full moral support behind an Iranian revolution that shared one of our highest interests: ridding Iran of a brutal dictatorship that terrorizes the Middle East and threatens the world."


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Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., addresses the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2012. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

(Remarks as Prepared for Delivery)

When the Supreme Court upheld Obamacare, the first words out of my mouth were: I still think it is unconstitutional!

The leftwing blogs were merciless. Even my wife said -- can't you pleeeease count to ten before you speak?

So, I've had time now to count to ten and, you know what? I still think it's unconstitutional!

Do you think Justice Scalia and Justice Thomas have changed their minds?

I think if James Madison himself -- the father of the Constitution -- were here today he would agree with me: The whole damn thing is still unconstitutional!

This debate is not new and it's not over. Hamilton and Madison fought from the beginning about how government would be limited by the enumerated powers.

Madison was unequivocal. The powers of the federal government are few and defined. The power to tax and spend is restricted by the enumerated powers.

So, how do we fix this travesty of justice? There's only one option left.

We have to have a new president!

TAMPA-U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) wasted no time during his floor speech at the Republican National Convention in tearing into President Barack Obama's signature policy achievement.

"When the Supreme Court upheld Obamacare, the first words out of my mouth were: I still think it is unconstitutional!" Paul told delegates in one of the opening speeches of the Wednesday night program.

"The leftwing blogs were merciless. Even my wife said -- can't you pleeeease count to ten before you speak?" he continued. "So, I've had time now to count to ten and, you know what? I still think it's unconstitutional!"

RNC no boon to some downtown Tampa businesses

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Downtown Tampa restaurants brought in extra staff and supplies to ready for the rush of delegates attending the Republican National Convention this week. But it's been a bust for local eateries that are positioned behind the security perimeter where inside delegates are well fed.

Pizza Fusion general Manager Michael Przybycin stressed that he's not making a political statement. Rather, it's just about foot traffic. "I've spent the day walking around downtown, and all the managers of the other restaurants are standing outside asking, 'Where are all the customers?'"

Reactions to Ann Romney's and Chris Christie's speeches

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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speaks at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Aug. 28, 2012. AP Photo.

The GOPs "Night of a Thousand Speeches" Tuesday, as the Atlantic Wire put it, delivered on its promise of glitz and flash. Speaker after speaker rallied an already electric crowd, and some even managed to sneak in a poignant moment here and there. But how did headliners Ann Romney and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie do?

Ann Romney's task was clear: portray Mitt's softer side, according to Chicago Sun-Times reporters in attendance (full speech text).

She was personal and embraced with gusto her task of humanizing Romney, de-emphasizing their enormous wealth and depicting her husband of 42 years as a man so humble he will not brag about himself.

So she did it for him.

From NPR's Mark Memmott:

From the occasional shouts of "We love you, Ann!" to the huge cheers for her applause lines, it was obvious the crowd was with her. And when she ended by saying "you can trust Mitt," she might have delivered one of the most helpful lines her husband's campaign could ever have crafted.


Reaction to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's keynote address (full text) was more mixed.

By Mark Brown

CLEARWATER--Greg Baise, president of the Illinois Manufacturers Association, said his New Prosperity Foundation will continue to pour money into "micro-targeted" cable television advertising to defeat Democratic candidates in six key Illinois congressional races this fall.

The New Prosperity Foundation, one of the so-called "Super-PACs" that can raise and spend money in unlimited amounts on political campaigns, has dropped $508,000 into Illinois congressional races so far this year, according to OpenSecrets.org.

TAMPA--The day after her big GOP convention speech, Ann Romney and Janna Ryan--wife of Mitt's running mate Rep. Paul Ryan--on Wednesday rallied female supporters. See the video HERE.

Wednesday's RNC speakers to watch

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The second full day of the Republican National Convention serves up another night packed with speeches, culminating in a much-anticipated address from vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan.

Couple gets engaged on RNC stage

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AFP PHOTO/Stan Honda

For the average Joe planning a surprise public proposal, popping the question in front of a packed sporting event normally suffices. Not so for Republican National Convention production manager Bradley Thompson.

Thompson, 37, surprised Laura Bowman, 27, when he led her onto the RNC stage Wednesday morning, got down on one knee and asked her to marry him, Politico reports. She accepted right away, in front of a screen filled with pictures of the couple and a special message.

AFL-CIO gears up to march at convention

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The AFL-CIO is planning a "theatrical" parade-style march at the convention this evening, according to the Tampa Tribune.

The group, which is the only one with a permit to demonstrate, will feature performers depicting what life will be like under the Romney Administration, according to the paper. The parade will start at 6 p.m. at Washington and Morgan streets and will go until 7:30 p.m.

Specifically, the parade will address voting inequities, a need for better working conditions and public education improvements.

VIDEO: Speaker Boehner addresses IL delegates

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Speaker of the House John Boehner spoke to the assembled Illinois delegates this morning before day two of the convention begins.

He assured those present that to be speaker again Nancy Pelosi would have to pry the gavel from "my cold, stone hands."

VIDEO: Maine Ron Paul delegates halt convention

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Maine delegates representing Ron Paul have been at the center of the controversy over the Republicans' effort to change the way states select delegates, which reached its boiling point Tuesday.

A Republican National Committee member from Puerto Rico was shouted down as she tried to begin her speech. Reince Preibus tried to bang his gavel to call order to the room, but to no avail-- House Speaker John Boehner had to try as well.


Is Clint Eastwood coming to town?

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Rumors are flying on Twitter that Clint Eastwood will make a surprise appearance on Thursday at the convention.

Right-leaning magazine Townhall reports on their blog that a "well-placed" Republican source confirms that the movie star will be going to the convention, though they could not say if he would be speaking to the delegates.

If he is speaking, he'll take the stage just before Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) introduces Mitt Romney.

The Daily Show joins journalists in Tampa

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Photo courtesy Comedy Central

Jon Stewart's political satire took up ranks with the more serious journalists covering the convention in Tampa this week. Stewart hosted Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) as the show's first guest this week.

The show, which was broadcast from the David J. Straz Center for Performing Arts, mocked Tampa's strip club culture and humid weather-- and giant bugs. Rubio and Stewart got into an extended discussion about the benefits of the stimulus, tax reform and the role of big government, which had to be cut short for the show broadcast.

Stewart congratulated Rubio for "dodging" the vice presidency, saying, "As his vice president, it would have been uncomfortable for you to run against him in 2016, so I think this is much better for you."

To watch the full episode, visit TheDailyShow.com.

A Republican National Convention attendee was kicked out Tuesday for allegedly throwing nuts at an African-American CNN camerawoman, according to Talking Points Memo.

Take Action News reporter David Shuster tweeted: "GOP attendee ejected for throwing nuts at African American CNN camera woman + saying 'This is how we feed animals.'"

CNN confirmed the incident in a statement to TPM.

A GOP convention spokesperson told Politico two attendees "exhibited deplorable behavior."


TAMPA -- The tough-talking, plain-spoken New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie fired up the GOP base at the Republican National Convention Tuesday, capping a day packed with speakers, rhetoric and emotion.

Christie gave the final remarks following those given by Ann Romney, who painted her life with her husband as a long, loyal journey built after the most humblest of beginnings.
His booming voice carrying easily through the stadium, the bombastic Christie repeatedly had the crowd on its feet.
"Real leaders don't follow polls," Christie implored. "Real leaders change polls."
Christie took on themes that ran throughout the day: the power of strong women and strong families. The danger of big government.

He spoke in us vs. them terms, contrasting his own Republican beliefs with that of Democrats.
"They believe the American people are content to be coddled by the government," he said.

He said of teachers: "They teach because they love children," he said. Republicans, he insisted are "Demanding higher standards and demanding the best teacher in every classroom in America.

"They believe in teachers' unions," he said, putting his hand on his chest with emphasis he said: "We believe, in teachers."

"We have never been victims of destiny we have always been masters of our own."

Golf has long been known a gentleman's game -- but also a sport filled with Mulligan's, gimmie puts, embellished stories and outright liars.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich was playing politics Tuesday when he called out Vice President Joe Biden for lying about his golf game during a speech at the Republican National Convention.

Ann Romney talks of humble beginnings

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Hoping to connect with everyday people, Ann Romney worked to describe an early life with her husband that was a struggle.

"We got married and moved into a basement apartment," she said. "Our desk was a
dining room table was an ironing board propped up in a kitchen."

Ann Romney said her husband worked hard and built himself into a successful businessperson. He grew into a selfless, generous person, she insisted.

"Mitt doesn't like to talk about how he helps others because he sees it as a privilege not a political talking point," she said.

Ann Romney: "I love you women!"

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Wearing a bright dress, Ann Romney focused her early remarks at the Republican National Convention on women.

"I want to talk to you from my heart about our hearts," she said. "It's the moms of this nation: single, married widows, who really hold this nation together. ... you know it's true!"

Then, taking on an Oprah tone, she screamed: "I love you women!"

Mrs. Romney, who suffers from MS, stressed that she and her husband have not had a "storybook" marriage, but "a real marriage."

Covering the speeches: Day 1, Republican National Convention

Storified by Craig Newman · Tue, Aug 28 2012 19:14:29

9:12 | I wanna talk to you not about party and not about politics ... I want to talk from my heart ... Tonight I want to talk to you about love.
Ann Romney's convention speech: Excerpts - Lynn Sweetbelow, from the Romney campaign... EXCERPTS FROM ANN ROMNEY'S CONVENTION SPEECH ...Tonight I want to talk to you from my heart about our ...
Spirited Standing Ovation for Ann Romney. She's now on stage. She's asking everyone to take a moment for potential hurricane victims. #RNCnatasha korecki
9:10 p.m. | Huge applause for Ann Romney as she's introduced.
Democrat-turned-Republican Art Davis speaking now. says the last time he spoke at a convention, he was "at the wrong place." #RNC #GOP2012natasha korecki
Artur Davis on why he left Obama: Maybe "Hollywood stars" & "glamour blinded us a little" Text - Lynn SweetThe Hon. Artur Davis Former U.S. Representative - Alabama (Remarks as Prepared for Delivery) August 28, 2012 Ladies and gentlemen, thank ...
Standing O for Santorum: "One party ... will reach out their hands in love to lift up all of God's children. Born and unborn." #RNC2012natasha korecki
Rick Santorum. He's up#RNC #GOP2012natasha korecki
Add Rick Santorum to the long list of speakers to focus on the national debt. #gop2012 #rnc http://pic.twitter.com/eSiI51U6natasha korecki
Lane Turner rocking out. Rnc2012 http://pic.twitter.com/zsPVo5Wvnatasha korecki
Wisconsin Gov Scott Walker gets loudest welcome yet. Cheers. Whistles. Cowboy hats. #GOP2012 #RNCnatasha korecki
Scott Walker stirring up the crowd #gop2012 #rnc http://pic.twitter.com/tV6rWCCinatasha korecki
Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell: "too many Americans are looking for work because this president's policies just don't work." #RNC #GOP2012natasha korecki
Another commercial hammering Obama, his voice is heard: "If you got a business, you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen."#RNCnatasha korecki
Governor Mary Fallin of Oklahoma up now thrashing Obama: "the president believes that the government is responsible for our successes."natasha korecki
Ohio Governor John Kasich up now. Getting the crowd worked up. #GOP2012natasha korecki

TAMPA -- GOP Congressional candidate Mia Love, of Utah, energetically bounded onto the stage at the GOP Convention tonight, attacking President Obama and vowing to achieve her dreams through passion and hard work.

Love said her parents came to this country with $10 in their pockets and refused to ever take a handout.
"The America that I grew up knowing was centered on self reliance and fulfilling the American Dream," she said.

"This is the America we know because we built it," said Love to roaring applause.

Republicans are pounding Obama on a previous statement where he said businesses didn't build success on their own. The theme for the night has been: "we built it."

The GOP also likely hopes that the likes of Love will help erode the so-called "war on women" the Democrats have said Republicans have waged, capitalizing on incendiary remarks Todd Akin made earlier this month, saying in an interview: "If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down." Akin later said he misspoke.

Abe Lincoln makes an appearance at GOP convention

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lincoln.jpg -- photo by Natasha Korecki


TAMPA -- The Illinois delegation got a surprise visit on the floor of the GOP Convention hall just minutes after voting unanimously to give Mitt Romney the GOP presidential nomination.
An Abraham Lincoln lookalike was glad-handing the crowd of delegates.
Turns out it was George Engelbach, a delegate from Missouri, wearing the black top hat and Lincoln-like beard. He easily drew smiles and had many a request for photos.
"I've been doing this for the last few conventions," Engelbach, says laughing.

CLEARWATER, FL -- The former U.S. House speaker from Illinois criticized his former colleague, Rep. Todd Akin, for his comments about "legitimate rape" and predicted Missouri voters "will probably solve this issue before election time."

"I think it's unacceptable the things Todd said," said former U.S. House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.). "I don't know if he just made a mistake or wasn't thinking when he talked.

"But you know, that's an important place to be: In the U.S. Senate, you've got to be thinking all of the time," Hastert told reporters after addressing Illinois' delegation at the Republican National Convention.

Akin is running for the Senate against incumbent U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and ignited a political fury with his comments that women somehow have a physiological ability to prevent pregnancy in cases of "legitimate rape."

Akin has apologized for the misstatement but ignored calls from within his party to step down and permit Missouri Republicans the chance to name someone else to run against McCaskill.

The campaign is one of the most closely watched Senate races as Republicans try to take control of the legislative chamber from Democrats.

"I think the people of Missouri will probably solve this issue before election time," Hastert said.

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An early look at what Ann Romney intends to talk about tonight at the Republican National Convention. Her speech is scheduled for 9:05 Central before Gov. Chris Christie's keynote:

...Tonight I want to talk to you from my heart about our hearts.

I want to talk not about what divides us, but what holds us together as an American family. I want to talk to you tonight about that one great thing that unites us, that one thing that brings us our greatest joy when times are good, and the deepest solace in our dark hours.

Tonight I want to talk to you about love.

...

Mitt's dad never graduated from college. Instead, he became a carpenter.

He worked hard, and he became the head of a car company, and then the governor of Michigan.

When Mitt and I met and fell in love, we were determined not to let anything stand in the way of our life together.

..

I read somewhere that Mitt and I have a "storybook marriage." Well, in the storybooks I read, there were never long, long, rainy winter afternoons in a house with five boys screaming at once. And those storybooks never seemed to have chapters called MS or Breast Cancer.

A storybook marriage? No, not at all. What Mitt Romney and I have is a real marriage.

...

At every turn in his life, this man I met at a high school dance, has helped lift up others. He did it with the Olympics, when many wanted to give up.

...

This is the man America needs.

This is the man who will wake up every day with the determination to solve the problems that others say can't be solved, to fix what others say is beyond repair. This is the man who will work harder than anyone so that we can work a little less hard.

I can't tell you what will happen over the next four years. But I can only stand here tonight, as a wife, a mother, a grandmother, an American, and make you this solemn commitment:

This man will not fail.

This man will not let us down.

This man will lift up America!

Excerpt via Politico.

TAMPA-Republican delegates just elected U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to be Mitt Romney's running mate.

TAMPA--The 2012 Republican platform was released at the convention on Tuesday. READ IT HERE

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Rep. Aaron Schock talks about his political future in a wide-ranging interview Tuesday with the Chicago Sun-Times.
(Sun-Times photo/Dave McKinney)

TAMPA--U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock, a rising star in the the House GOP and on the national cable news circuit, attacked Gov. Quinn Tuesday as "incapable of turning the ship around" and expressed no fear in taking on powerful Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan.

Those statements, made during a wide-ranging interview at the Republican National Convention with the Chicago Sun-Times, underscore that the two-term congressman is positioned as a viable candidate for Illinois governor in 2014.

Schock (R-Ill.) stopped short of saying he intends to run, insisting that decision won't come until after the November elections. But, significantly, the Peoria Republican also did not rule out the possibility of running for the state's top political job.

"Are you expecting me to make an announcement here today?" Schock said with a laugh, when asked whether he intends to challenge Quinn in the 2014 election.

"I say this: Anybody who's focused on 2014 right now is doing our party a disservice because we have a lot at stake in the presidential campaign, and we have a handful of congressmen and women whose political backs are on the line in Illinois, and we need to be doing everything we can to help those men and women get across the finish line," Schock said.

The congressman made the media rounds Tuesday as a surrogate for GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, appearing on Fox News and CNN, who characterized the charismatic Schock as "a secret weapon for Mitt Romney."

The work also serves to up his profile significantly for a potential gubernatorial run, should he decide to do that, and in going after Quinn, Schock certainly was sounding like a candidate.

"He's been in state government for 30 years. He's been at the helm of the state for what will be six-plus years. He's proven incapable of turning the ship around," Schock said of Quinn.

Schock described Quinn as lacking focus.

"I think part of it is I don't think he has the personality that's engaging, that instills confidence," from his party, Schock said. "I think he doesn't have the capacity perhaps to put it all together."

Schock also didn't mince words for Madigan (D-Chicago) and said he isn't intimidated by the House speaker, who has been the GOP's favorite pin cushion leading up to the fall elections with "Fire Madigan" messaging that is getting slapped on coffee mugs, golf polos and dog t-shirts.

"I maybe don't buy into the reality of Mike Madigan," Schock said.

"For anyone to suggest that well, gee, we should play nice, or you shouldn't take him on, or you shouldn't try to beat him because you might have to work with him, that's politics," he said. "To me, if you're serious about changing the direction of the state, if you're serious about wanting to be governor or whatever it is people want to be, if they don't want to take him on, then they're not going to be serious players once they're elected.

"You can't fix the state if you don't deal with pensions, and clearly, Madigan, who's been there for 30 years, has shown no willingness to do that," said Schock, who served two terms in the Illinois House under Madigan's rule.

Schock said he has been approached by business leaders to consider running for governor in 2014, but he said he's delivered a sharp message to them about not spreading fundraising dollars around multiple GOP candidates who will make for a bloody primary battle.

"If you want a strong candidate and you want party unity and you want people to whittle down the candidates before the primary, then you as a businessman must stand up and say you know what, this is insanity, this is who we collectively believe is the strongest candidate, and we're willing to put our money where our mouth is and fund them," he said.

Schock also delivered a subtle jab at some of those who have tested the waters for a 2014 gubernatorial run, saying those with election losses in their background demonstrate "weakness" that can be exploited in a general election.

State Sen. Kirk Dillard (R-Hinsdale) lost by 193 votes to state Sen. Bill Brady (R-Bloomington) in the 2010 GOP primary. Brady went on to lose to Quinn in the fall elections. State Treasurer Dan Rutherford, before winning his current office in 2010, lost a bid to unseat Secretary of State Jesse White.

"If you are a candidate who's lost, the natural question is what's different, what's going to change? Clearly, there's a sense of weakness there," Schock said, insisting he isn't meaning to single out any particular candidate with the criticism.

"It doesn't mean you can't win, but I do think it makes your argument in the primary that you're the strongest candidate in the general election a little bit tougher," Schock said.

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Rep. Aaron Schock, right, takes questions Tuesday about his political future from a panel of reporters and columnists with the Chicago Sun-Times at the Republican National Convention in Tampa.
(Photo by Lynn Sweet)

Not yet old enough to vote, this 17-year-old Virginia teenager is the youngest delegate at the Republic National Convention.

Evan Robert Draim has followed Republican politics since middle school and voices his concerns about the future.

"I want to be able to afford a four-year degree and get out and contribute to the workforce," Draim said.

RNC DISCORD: Ron Paul and Mitt Romney supporters clash

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TAMPA -- One group yelled: "USA!"
The other yelled: "Seat us now!"
Each tried to drown out the other as a clash ensued today between Ron Paul supporters and Mitt Romney delegates on the floor of the Republican National Convention -- the biggest so far since the events began.

The tension brought by Paul supporters has caused at least some splintering of a party at a time when it is on the national stage.

Those supporting Paul complained of what they called unfair treatment. One Paul supporter tapped a mic that was shut off and yelled, "point of order! point of order!" He was ignored.

Nevada delegation chairman Wayne Terhune said it appeared a group of people who described themselves as Maine delegates who were not properly seated at the convention were kicked out after shouting "seat us now!" and booing the convention speaker. The Paul contingent was attempting to pool enough candidates to at least get the candidate a speaking part at the convention.

"I really think they're injudicious in their use of power," Terhune said.

Here's a Las Vegas Sun piece that explains the tension that has caused at least some splintering of a party at a time when it is on the national stage: Read: Ron Paul Supporters

Buzzfeed Politics has a look inside the dustup with the Maine delegation - a rules argument that left both sides unhappy:

"It's a shame this had to happen, because things were going well so far," said one Paul advisor. "We saw it coming, though."


The advisor thought that more than the Maine issue, the rules change that was brought to a compromise today would leave a "bad taste in conservatives' mouths."


The Maine delegates "are acting like three-year-old children," said another strategist. "Dr. Paul asked them to be respectful."


The poetic justice behind Gov. Quinn's gaming veto

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Gov. Pat Quinn summoned Chicago's press corps to the first day of the new academic year at Henry Wadsworth Longfellow School in Oak Park on Tuesday morning to hear him explain his veto of the gambling expansion plan.


(video by Lynn Sweet)

TAMPA--Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) here for the Republican National Convention gives Democratic Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn a failing grade in an interview with Chicago Sun-Times Springfield Bureau Chief Dave McKinney.

RNC forgets to send buses to Fla. delegates

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Florida's RNC delegates just can't seem to catch a break. Already punished for moving up the state's primary contest, their plans hit a snag Tuesday when the convention forgot to send buses to pick them up.

"Well, that sucks," Hillsborough County GOP chair Art Wood told the Tampa Bay Times, in an article given the all-too-appropriate dateline of "STUCK ON A BUS."

By Mark Brown

TAMPA--Ron Kaufman, an adviser to Mitt Romney's presidential campaign, said Romney should be the natural choice of Tea Party supporters in November.

"He's a good Tea Party candidate," Kaufman said during an appearance at the Daily Briefing, hosted by the National Journal and Atlantic magazine.

"I think he's the ideal candidate for those folks," he said, citing Romney's lack of Washington experience and maneuvering past his health care reform law in Massachusetts.

For other Kaufman observations, read on:




(video by Lynn Sweet)

TAMPA--State Treasurer Dan Rutherford--the chairman of Mitt Romney's Illinois campaign--will cast the Illinois votes at the roll call Tuesday at the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. I caught up with Rutherford at the convention and asked him for a preview of what he will say when he announces the Illinois votes.

The roll call is Tuesday; Romney officially becomes nominated on Thursday.

First full day of GOP convention begins

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Delegates from Texas listen to Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus at the Tampa Bay Times Forum in Tampa, Florida, on August 28, 2012 during the Republican National Convention. The 2012 Republican National Convention is expected to host 2,286 delegates and 2,125 alternate delegates from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and five territories. AFP PHOTO Robyn BECKROBYN BECK/AFP/GettyImages

The first full day of the Republican National Convention is underway in earnest.

Following an invocation, the singing of the national anthem and some procedural business, GOP Chairman Reince Priebus opened the convention with remarks referencing the massive debt clocks displayed in the convention center.

Dozens more speakers are set to take the podium before this afternoon's roll call to formally nominate former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), according to the convention's revised schedule.

Notable prime-time speakers include House Speaker John Boehner, former presidential hopeful and U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker -- all leading up to Ann Romney's address just after 10 p.m. local time.

Mitt Romney is set to make a surprise appearance during his wife's speech, she confirmed to reporters Tuesday morning as the couple flew from Boston to Tampa, the Associated Press is reporting.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's keynote address concludes the day's events. Christie praised Romney's character speaking to Michigan delegates Tuesday morning, declaring Romney has the "heart" to take on the challenge of the presidency, CBS news reports.

Tampa is, it seems, the "cradle" of the hard-driving death metal genre. But you'll hear none of it at the Republican National Convention, reports Reuters. Hard to imagine why once you read their story:

Homegrown acts such as Hate Eternal and Morbid Angel are not booked for the plaza-filling concerts or high-dollar fundraisers that will keep conservative and evangelical Republicans occupied in the convention's off hours.

That is not surprising for a style of music in which "brutal" is a compliment. Drummers play at breakneck speed, guitarists peel off dense, atonal riffs, and vocalists sing lyrics about gore and Satan in a low-pitched growl.

So maybe Morbid Angel can just play at the bevy of strip clubs vying for the GOP small business support?

Yeah, that's yet another stereotype of the Tampa area the national media has latched on to writes John O'Connor for WUSFNews:

And do "some" really find it "ironic" that a metropolitan area of 4.2 million, according to the U.S. Census, might have some subcultures which don't live their life according to the Republican Party platform?

Is death metal to Tampa what corn is to Iowa? Of course not.

So no stripper polls or thrashing in the big tent this year. At least not on the official schedule. And the death metal community is not exactly up in arms over their non-inclusion in the RNC festivities, David Wagner writes for The Atlantic Wire:

It would be absurd for Republicans rallying around a devout Mormon to align with a genre that aims to sound as vile as possible, while exploring Satanic lyrical themes to boot. But the reverse situation Reuters implies in this story--that somehow a Democratic National Convention would welcome death metal bands with open arms--seems equally absurd. . . . And as for the death metal musicians in question, they shrug off politics altogether.

Then again. maybe it was Chicago and bands like Paul Speckmann's Master that lunched death metal on the American scene, the case for which is in this history compiled by Roger Riddell for the A.V. Club. The question is whether that is another Chicago development President Obama is blamed - or can take credit - for.

Romney arrives in Tampa

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Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, arrives at Tampa International Jet Center on Tues., Aug. 28, 2012 in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo / Evan Vucci)

Protesters removed from Marco Rubio's speech

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Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) was given a tough time by a group of hecklers during a speech he gave to Florida delegates this morning, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

The senator, who will introduce Mitt Romney when he takes the stage on Thursday night, was addressing the delegates during their breakfast this morning when about 10 people started yelling at him. A woman from Palm Beach stood up during Rubio's remarks and yelled, "The Republican agenda doesn't work for America," the paper reports. Delegates chanted "USA, USA" to drown out the protesters.

All the yelling didn't stop Rubio from getting his message across, telling the group America is "one election away from a new era of prosperity."

The hecklers were escorted out by police and banned from the building.

This follows the Illinois delegation breakfast being disrupted earlier Tuesday by three protesters who identified themselves as affiliated with MoveOn, a liberal advocacy group.

In his column today, Steve Huntley breaks down what he sees as the basic choice voters have in this presidential election - stick with the guy everybody like as a person, but who can't deliver jobs . . . or go with the stiff fellow who knows how to get people back to work.

Huntley writes:

The presidential campaign, at the start of the Republican National Convention, seemed to boil down to this: President Barack Obama is the candidate with a high likability rating while Mitt Romney is seen as the better man for handling the economy. In other words, who would you rather have for president the next four years, the affable guy who can trade jokes with you in the unemployment line or the stiff character who would actually put you back to work?

The flip side of the conventional wisdom about Obama's likability edge is that Romney has to use the convention in Tampa to "reintroduce" and "redefine" himself. Romney needs a softer, more huggable version of himself, this line of thinking goes, because unless independent voters come to like him more, they'll stick with nice guy Obama and hope against hope that his policies that have failed for nearly four years to invigorate the economy will somehow, some way finally bring a new morning of prosperity.

Oh well, we should never underestimate the power of hope to triumph over reality.

Paul supporters and Republicans make deal

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After Republican party officials attempted to change convention rules, Ron Paul supporters cried foul at his rally Sunday night-- but reports say the two groups have struck a deal over how delegates can be selected.

TheHill.com reports that Republicans were trying to change the rules so presidential candidates could veto delegates sent by states. The Paul delegates interpreted the move as an effort to limit future involvement of delegates voting for candidates outside the main two parties.

Under an agreement between the groups put together Monday night, a delegate must vote for the candidate they are assigned to by state law or state party rules, according to TheHill.com.

Ron Paul's supporters were able to collect delegates over the past year by heavily influencing state conventions, where delegates are assigned.

CLEARWATER, FL - One of the best-respected faces of Illinois Republicans, former U.S. House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, rallied the state GOP faithful Tuesday with a familiar message: Turning Illinois red starts with unseating Illinois House Speaker Michael J. Madigan.

"It's time to turn the tide in Illinois," he told a few hundred delegates and guests at the state GOP's morning breakfast meeting.

Hastert (R-Ill.) cited the concentration of power in Madigan's hands -- state Democratic Party chair, House speaker, funder of political races.

"If you want to change the Republican Party, you start right here in Illinois and change the House of Representatives in the state of Illinois," said Hastert, whose political protege, House Minority Leader Tom Cross (R-Oswego), would be in line to succeed Madigan if Republicans regain the House.

Hastert's anti-Madigan reference is a familiar theme this summer for Illinois Republicans, who have made "Fire Madigan" their rallying cry going into the fall elections.

On Monday, the state party launched a website (www.firemadigan.com) where trinkets like coffee mugs, golf polos and even dog t-shirts can be purchased, all emblazoned with the "Fire Madigan" credo.

Hastert also touted the most threatened members of the GOP's congressional delegation from Illinois, including U.S. Rep. Judy Biggert (R-Ill.) and U.S. Rep. Robert Dold (R-Ill.), whose districts were radically redrawn by Democrats in a bid to reverse Republican gains in the collar counties from 2010.

After his speech, Hastert condemned the "legitimate rape" comment by U.S. Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO.) but stopped short of calling on him to step down from his nationally watched U.S. Senate race against incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO.)

CLEARWATER, FL. - U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), still recovering from his stroke, made a surprise appearance Tuesday by video at Illinois Republican breakfast, touting the party's chances this fall.

The minute-long video had Kirk, dressed in a light blue oxford shirt, sitting in front of a book case.

Kirk thanked state GOP chief Pat Brady, Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno (R-Lemont) and House Minority Leader Tom Cross (R-Oswego) "for putting together such a strong team."

"I really wish I could be with you today," Kirk said, describing this year's campaign as "an exciting moment."

"This has got to be one of the most important elections we've ever had to return fiscally responsible leadership to Washington," he said in the recording, which triggered a standing applause from a few hundred delegates.

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CLEARWATER, FL.--The Tuesday Republican National Convention theme is "We Built It," an attack blitz at President Barack Obama's "you didn't build that." The Democratic National Committee is mounting a big push-back today on that theme--where Obama's choice of words created an opening for the Republicans.

The DNC has a variety of push-backs set for Tuesday, a rolling "pre-buttal" to the GOP. The DNC is running a "war room operation in Tampa near the Tampa Bay Times Forum. The Republican National Committee will have a similar set-up in Charlotte, N.C. next week for the Democratic National Convention.

What the DNC is planning for Tuesday:

from the DNC: TODAY'S RESPONSE ACTIVITIES

· Daily Democratic Press Conference with Robert Gibbs, Gov. Martin O'Malley, Democratic Convention Chair and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, CarMax Founder Austin Ligon, Somerville, MA Mayor Joe Curtatone, Former AMPAD Employee and Bain Victim Randy Johnson

· 10 AM, Democratic War Room, 200 North Tampa St., Suite 110

· Press Avail with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa

· 2 PM, Democratic War Room, 200 North Tampa St., Suite 110

· Conference Call with Assistant Democratic Leader James Clyburn (SC-06) and DNC Executive Director Patrick Gaspard to discuss Romney Economics: Wrong for African Americans.

·
FOR THE RECORD: As you watch proceedings at the Tampa Bay Times Forum today, it may be instructive--as a starting point--no matter your politics--to at least know what Obama said last July 13.


There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me -- because they want to give something back. They know they didn't -- look, if you've been successful, you didn't get there on your own. You didn't get there on your own. I'm always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something -- there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there. (Applause.)

If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you've got a business -- you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn't get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.

The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together. There are some things, just like fighting fires, we don't do on our own. I mean, imagine if everybody had their own fire service. That would be a hard way to organize fighting fires.

So we say to ourselves, ever since the founding of this country, you know what, there are some things we do better together. That's how we funded the GI Bill. That's how we created the middle class. That's how we built the Golden Gate Bridge or the Hoover Dam. That's how we invented the Internet. That's how we sent a man to the moon. We rise or fall together as one nation and as one people, and that's the reason I'm running for President -- because I still believe in that idea. You're not on your own, we're in this together. (Applause.)

So all these issues go back to that first campaign that I talked about, because everything has to do with how do we help middle-class families, working people, strivers, doers -- how do we help them succeed? How do we make sure that their hard work pays off? That's what I've been thinking about the entire time I've been President.


WATCH HERE WHAT OBAMA SAID ON JULY 13 AT A Roanoke, VA. RALLY

CLEARWATER, FL. - Three activists affiliated with MoveOn, the liberal advocacy group, briefly stole the stage Tuesday morning from Illinois Republicans who had just started their daily breakfast meeting.

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The group chanting in support for a minimum-wage increase took state GOP chief Pat Brady by surprise and seized the podium for about two minutes. They quickly were met with boos before Brady encouraged a few hundred delegates and their guests to stop.

Clearwater police entered the room and escorted the protesters off the stage. No arrests took place.

Barbara Pitzer, of Oregon, told the Sun-Times' Natasha Korecki she had a master's degree in special education but cannot get work in her field.

"It takes three of us, my adult son and adult daughter to put food on the table," she said afterwards.

Asked why she was there, Pitzer replied, "To ask for the 1 percent to do their fair share and pay taxes."

After the group left, former U.S. Sen. Norman Coleman (R-MN) spoke, and Brady cracked, "I didn't realize the minimum wage was $7.25. I only make $5 an hour."

Honey Badger spotted in Tampa

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honeybadgerThe voice of the Honey Badger viral video is in Tampa, and he's announcing his candidacy for president.

The Honey Badger guy, who goes by the name Randall, was walking in the Ybor City neighborhood in Tampa when he ran into David Brooks, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

Brooks' 13-year-old son took a picture with Randall, who then invited the columnist to come to the announcement of the Honey Badger party's entrance into the 2012 presidential campaign. Randall told the paper the platform is serious-- and all about protecting the earth.

Brooks declined the invitation.

The Honey Badger rally, now in its third day, is going on from 3 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. at The Roosevelt 2.0, 1812 N. 15th St., in Ybor City.

Will Mitt join wife onstage?

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Romney 2012.jpgAnn Romney speaks tonight in Tampa, just before keynote speaker Gov. Chris Christie, but rumors are flying that her husband might walk on during her speech.

The Romney campaign confirmed Monday night - as Lynn Sweet reported - that the candidate will arrive in Tampa Tuesday, though they would not say whether he would be onstage.

Eric Fehrnstrom, Romney's closest adviser, told Politico, "When he is away from her he tends to get anxious and a little bit frazzled. When that happens, we look for opportunities to have them meet up on the campaign trail."

Romney is set to be officially named the candidate of the Republican party tonight during the roll call of the states. He will accept the nomination in his speech Thursday.

The Sun-Times has five reporters covering the national, state and local stories in Tampa at the Republican National Convention this week.

Each day we'll Storify their tweets, images, video and more as they report the event.

You can follow them individually on Twitter as well:

It's not a convention without the swag

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One of the perks of going to any convention--be it political or science fiction based--is the amount of sway thrown around.

Delegates from California received a swag bag worth up to $700 when they arrived at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, according to a report from the Sacramento Bee. The bag includes a 2012 "President" Barbie and a $120 credit for luxury swimsuits, the paper wrote.

The star of Hustler's Who's Nailin' Paylin will be in Tampa during the Republican National Convention.

Sarah Palin-imitator Lisa Ann will be reprise her role as the former governor of Alaska at the strip club Thee Dollhouse Saturday and Sunday, according to a report from the Tampa Bay Times. Thee Dollhouse is one of many strip clubs hoping to attract delegates during the convention.

Republicans take to Craigslist personals

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Some conservatives in the Tampa Bay area are hoping to find some romance on Craigslist before the Republican National Convention gears up on Tuesday.

Under the headline "Any Republican females?", a 33-year-old man lays out his political views almost as if it were a peacock mating dance.

Women of the RNC

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Sarah Palin isn't slated to speak at this year's Republican National Convention, but the Republican Party hopes to shine the spotlight on other conservative-minded women.


It's almost impossible to ride a bicycle down Clark Street in Wrigleyville on a Saturday night and not hear Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" booming out of a bar.

And apparently the band is one of the Republican Party's favorite bands as well.

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The rising concern for Tropical Storm Isaac has been wreaking havoc with Republican National Convention organizers though the weekend with a storm track that originally had the growing storm zeroing in on Tampa originally.

Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center have since switched the track of Isaac to one that takes it at or near New Orleans on the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina's landfall in 2005.


That switch, after RNC organizers had decided to effectively cancel day one of the convention, is not sitting well with conservative broadcasting powerhouse Rush Limbaugh. In a lengthy discussion on his radio show Monday, he questioned how a hurricane forecast model can change so drastically so quickly. He repeatedly denied he was positing a conspiracy theory, then went on to question whether the NHC was acting, as a government agency, on behalf of the boss - President Obama.


From the transcript at rushlimbaugh.com:


The media is now out there saying that Hurricane Katrina is hanging like a pall over the Republican convention in Tampa. So this whole thing has been politicized, as the Democrats politicize everything, and that's why we are talking about it. Now, I want to remind you: All last week... And, no, at no time here am I alleging a conspiracy. At no time. With none of this am I alleging conspiracy. All last week what was the target? Tampa. What was going on in Tampa this week?

CLEARWATER, FL -- Republicans mostly wanted nothing to do with helping pass a state law legalizing civil unions in 2011.

Yet a prominent gay-rights organization in Illinois is footing the drink tab for the state's GOP delegates Tuesday - and, on Monday, went so far as to criticize Mitt Romney for allowing the "far right" to "hijack" the national party's platform on the issue of gay marriage.

Nationally, Republicans adopted language calling for a constitutional amendment to bar gay marriages across the country and to begin enforcement of the Defense of Marriage Act, a federal law that defines marriage as being between a man and a woman.

"The proposed Republican platform flies in the face of the growing national consensus behind equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in general and marriage equality specifically," Bernard Cherkasov, CEO of Equality Illinois, said in a prepared statement.

"The language shows that the Romney-Ryan ticket, whose anti-LGBT positions are well known, has allowed the far right in the Republican Party to hijack the convention process," Cherkasov said.

Equality Illinois has agreed to pay "a couple thousand" dollars to cover the bar tab for what is described as a Beachside Cocktail Hour in the Clearwater, Fla., hotel where Illinois delegates are staying for the Republican National Committee, an Equality Illinois spokesman said.

State Treasurer Dan Rutherford, Romney's Illinois campaign manager and the only Senate Republican to vote for the civil unions law, expressed support for the Equality Illinois' stance on the gay-marriage constitutional amendment question.

Rutherford said he is against gay marriage but doesn't believe a constitutional question should dictate to states how they should handle the matter.

"My personal opinion is I'm not sure that's where I would go if I was making those decisions," Rutherford told the Chicago Sun-Times. "I think it should be left up to the individual states."

Rutherford said he did not know whether Equality Illinois' sponsorship of a cocktail hour would breed any dissension among more conservative members of the delegation but said if it does they are under no obligation to drink the group's liquor.

"They can go someplace else and drink," Rutherford said.

Tampa strippers welcome Republicans

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The '2001 Odyssey' strip club welcomes patrons in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Strippers in Tampa are hopeful they'll see a trickle-down effect from delegates in town for the Republican National Convention.

Some strip clubs have embraced the event by offering special deals for delegates, according to a report from the Tampa Bay Times. One club--Thee DollHouse--even has its wait staff wearing "patriotic Wonder Woman style outfits," wrote the paper.


(Video by Lynn Sweet)

CLEARWATER, FL.--Former Illinois Gov. Jim Edgar, at the Illinois delegation GOP convention breakfast on Monday talks about Tropical Storm Isaac--and ties it into the Illinois drought.

Hollywood sightings at GOP's Tampa bash

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Monday's washout didn't stop country gospel quartet The Oak Ridge Boys from stopping by the Republican National Convention to marvel at the digs ...

... and stop for a picture with Fox News' Geraldo Rivera.

The goup is set to take the stage at a Monday night reception for Florida Gov. Rick Scott, and perform "Amazing Graze" at the convention Tuesday night, according to the band's official Twitter account.

Meanwhile, actor Jon Voight surprised Virginia delegates with a visit during breakfast at their Clearwater, Fla. hotel, sharing a story about he has gotten to know candidate Mitt Romney personally, the Washington Post reports.

CLEARWATER, FL - President Barack Obama carried Illinois in 2008 by a 62-to-37 percent margin, beating Republican John McCain by more than 128,000 votes statewide.

But this time, dogged by an underperforming economy and high unemployment, Obama won't do as well in his home state - or so says former Illinois Gov. Jim Edgar.

That's just one reason Edgar thinks Republican congressional and legislative candidates could do well this year. The other reason is that Gov. Pat Quinn is virtually invisible and a potential liability for lower-ballot Democrats because of his unpopularity.

"Let's face it, if Mitt Romney would win Illinois, he'd win by a biblical landslide nationwide. But I think Mitt Romney is going to run much better in Illinois than John McCain ran because I don't think Barack Obama is going to do that well in Illinois," Edgar told reporters after Illinois delegates met for the first time at the Republican National Convention.

"The Democrats really don't have anyone they can call on," the ex-governor continued.

"I don't think in this election, looking at the polls right now, Gov. Quinn is going to be an asset and help Democrats across the state. In fact, they seem to be distancing themselves from him," Edgar said.

The source for Quinn's troubles with voters, Edgar said, is that he inherited deep financial problems from impeached ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich, and "I'm not sure he's improved on them." Edgar went on to describe Quinn as "a little stubborn at times."

"There's times to be stubborn. There are other times, I learned, where you have to meet folks halfway. I think he needs to concentrate on that," Edgar said of Quinn.

It all means that Republicans should do well this fall given Obama and Quinn's sagging popularity in their home state, Edgar said.

"In many ways, there will be a coattail effect downstate or perhaps the suburbs. I think we're going to see Republicans do much better in 2012 than 2008."


GOP convention House Band sound check: "My Girl"
(video by Lynn Sweet)

TAMPA--Guitarist G.E. Smith--former musical director for "Saturday Night Live" fronting the Republican National convention House band at a Sunday rehearsal--playing "My Girl." The band will be situated next to the main podium--not hidden away.

Photos: Protesters march through streets of Tampa

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Even though turnout was low -- only a fraction of the 5,000 expected demonstrators actually braved Tropical Storm Isaac to protest the GOP convention -- there was at least one arrest as protesters hit the streets of Tampa to criticize the GOP's economic and social policies.

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Check out more photos from the Tampa protests.

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Demonstrators march through the streets of Tampa, Fla., to protest the Republican National Convention on Monday, Aug. 27, 2012. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

From Associated Press reports on the Occupy Wall Street, other demonstrators and police presence in Tampa outside the Republican National Convention, where at least one arrest was made Monday:

Protesters blamed Tropical Storm Isaac and a massive police presence Monday for their weak showing at the Republican National Convention. Only a fraction of the 5,000 expected demonstrators actually turned out to criticize the GOP's economic and social policies.

Hundreds of police officers and heavily armed members of the Florida National Guard patrolled the streets of downtown Tampa. The protesters were required to conduct their rallies and parades in designated areas and along specified routes, none closer than about a half-mile from where Republicans would be gathering.

More photos can be found here.

CLEARWATER, FL - By just about every measure, Tropical Storm Isaac was an overhyped bust that never came close to producing the disaster that organizers of the Republican National Convention feared when cancelling Monday's full day of programming.

But the top Republican in the Illinois Senate nonetheless came away with a healthy respect for the storm, which now is on a course for New Orleans and could evolve into a hurricane.

Radogno had a late flight from Chicago to Tampa Sunday, meaning she was arriving just as the storm's winds were whipping around erratically and her passenger jet was trying to land.

"We had to take three passes to try to land because the winds were too high," Radogno told the Chicago Sun-Times.

"The first time, they said we're going to land, and then they said we couldn't land because the winds are too high and they were going to try a different runway. So they went back, and it took them two tries to land on the second-choice runway," she said.

As soon as the plane touched down, the passengers, which included Daily Herald political reporter Kerry Lester, erupted into applause, Radogno said.

"As Kerry said when we landed, that was terrifying," Radogno said.

The weather didn't pose much of a problem for anyone else arriving to the Illinois delegation hotel, other than making Monday a lousy beach day. Indeed, by Monday morning, it was just windy and drizzly outside, making weather conditions in central Florida far less burdensome that the flooding in Chicago that shut down part of Lake Shore Drive Sunday.

"This isn't a hurricane," state GOP chief Pat Brady cracked of Isaac. "I've ridden my bike in storms worse than this."

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Chairman of the Republican National Committee Reince Priebus flashes a thumbs up after gaveling the abbreviated first session of the Republican National Convention closed in Tampa, Fla., on Monday, Aug. 27, 2012. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

In Tampa, Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus gaveled to order Monday the 2012 GOP convention-- with the Monday full session cut because of the impact of Tropical Storm Isaac. Priebus, at the Tampa Times Bay Forum recessed the session until Tuesday after a few minutes at the podium.

Priebus asked for a moment of silence to give thanks to emergency workers who are keeping convention goers and other people in the path of Isaac "out of harms way."

Priebus used his few minutes on the podium to "draw your attention to the unprecedented fiscal recklessness of the Obama administration"--setting a one of two "debt clocks" in the Forum to zero. One clock is a rolling total of the national debt. The other, set Monday, will total how much debt was accumulated during the GOP convention.


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A display shows the collected national debt since the start of the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

fire_madigan_dog_tshirt.jpegCLEARWATER, FL - If a Republican wins the Illinois governorship in 2014, might he or she have some explaining to do to House Speaker Michael Madigan?

The state GOP has made "Fire Madigan" a central part of its 2012 political messaging, even debuting a new website Monday that has everything from coffee mugs to golf shirts to dog tee-shirts for sale, all emblazoned with the party's anti-Madigan credo.

"Everybody needs to buy them," state GOP chief Pat Brady told Illinois delegates attending the Republican National Convention. "They'll be the hottest, trendiest thing in the state of Illinois in the next four years."

There's no question the idea could make the party a buck (the most expensive item appears to be a $34.99 hoodie) and is memorable, but that could part of its problem.

Madigan, once nicknamed the Velvet Hammer, is the top powerbroker in Springfield and is known to have the most institutional knowledge and longest political memory of anyone when it comes to slights and grudges.

In other words, Madigan can make life miserable for any governor. Just ask Rod Blagojevich, whose clashes with Madigan were legendary. As a result, Blagojevich's batting average in getting things passed the Illinois House stood somewhere below his weight. That doesn't even take into account that Madigan led the charge to impeach Blagojevich.

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RNC Chairman Reince Priebus speaks at the start of the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on August 27, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. The RNC is scheduled to convene today, but will hold its first full session tomorrow after being delayed due to Tropical Storm Isaac. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)


(Video by Lynn Sweet)

TAMPA--Illinois delegates have decent seats at the GOP convention--given that the adopted homestate of President Barack Obama is expected to back him--not Mitt Romney--in November. Chicago Sun-Times Springfield Bureau Chief Dave McKinney reports from the convention floor at the Tampa Bay Times forum on the seats Illinois scored.

Dave McKinney tweeted Sunday that the Illinois delegation had a favorable spot at the Republican National Convention - just behind the Wisconsin delegation. Now you can see the layout for everyone else.

The National Journal released this handy seating chart via its Twitter feed. Now you can play the "which states matter most in the general election" at home based on where the best seats were allocated:

McKinney has some more insight on the Illinois seats in this video.


(Video by Lynn Sweet)

CLEARWATER BEACH, FL--Tropical Storm Isaac is kicking up wind here on Monday. The Illinois delegation to the Republican National Convention is staying at the Sheraton on Sand Key. Intermittent showers and overcast--and, as you listen to the video--very very windy.

CLEARWATER, FL - Former Gov. Jim Edgar Monday said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle "got a little carried away" last week when she said GOP icon Ronald Reagan was deserving of a "special place in hell."

In his first public statement since Preckwinkle's gaffe, Edgar said her comments at a leadership conference he hosted last Tuesday at the University of Illinois represented a clear lapse in judgment but that he was pleased she quickly recanted.

"I think she got a little carried away. We all make mistakes. We all are going to say something we wish we could take back," Edgar told reporters at the kickoff breakfast of Illinois delegates attending the Republican National Convention.

"I think she did the correct thing very quickly, saying she made a mistake," said the former governor, who this year debuted a program for emerging state and local leaders called the Edgar Fellows and invited business and political leaders like Preckwinkle to address the group last week.

Edgar said he understood her broader point about needing to revisit the nation's drug policy and its impact on the criminal justice system but chalked up her misstatement to inexperience as a top elected official always under the microscope.

"She's kind of new at this, and as I said, we all make mistakes," Edgar said.

Gov. Bobby Jindal cancels convention appearance

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Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has canceled his planned appearance at the GOP convention in Tampa.

The National Weather Service has issued a hurricane warning for a portion of the Louisiana gulf coast, including New Orleans, and Jindal has declared a state of emergency.


Adriene Hill, a multimedia reporter for American Public Media's Marketplace, sat down with Wisconsin delegate Deborah Finger to get an idea for what the people who are responsible for nominating a presidential candidate have to pay out to be a part of the process.


That Finger is unemployed and had to solicit donations to raise her roughly $3,600 in fees and travel money merely underscores the sense of pride and responsibility delegates carry with them to convention floors.


Among the money Finger had to outlay according to her discussion with Hill:



  • Delegate fee: $650 (covers many of the events costs)

  • Airfare: $503

  • Hotel room (shared): $800

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Illinois state Sen. Kirk Dillard lost the Republican primary for governor in 2010 by just 193 votes. File photo

CLEARWATER, FL -- Former Gov. Jim Edgar once lent his name to the gubernatorial ambitions of state Sen. Kirk Dillard.

Based on Edgar's comments Monday, it doesn't seem like a stretch to imagine him helping his one-time chief of staff try again for the Executive Mansion if he runs in 2014.

"If he's interested in being governor, I wouldn't sit, you know, this one out," the former governor told reporters following a breakfast of Illinois Republican delegates in Clearwater.

Dillard (R-Hinsdale) has sent plenty of signals he's preparing to avenge his 193-vote loss from two years ago to state Sen. Bill Brady (R-Bloomington), a social conservative who narrowly lost the general election in 2010 to Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn.

"You come that close, you'd like to get another shot," Edgar said of Dillard's slim primary loss. "I think there's some people who maybe have some buyer's remorse off that primary."

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Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris signs the Florida presidential election certification during a ceremony at the Capitol in Tallahassee, Fla., on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2000. AP file

CLEARWATER, FL -- Katherine Harris has a special place in Republican history.

She's the former Florida secretary of state who sealed the 2000 presidential election for former Republican President George W. Bush by certifying his disputed 537-vote win in the Florida primary over Democrat Al Gore.

But when Illinois Republican Party chief Pat Brady referred to Harris Monday during the state delegation's opening convention breakfast, she wasn't the object of his adoration.

Brady, known for his witty and self-deprecating one-liners, made her a punch line to a joke that didn't seem to go over well with Illinois' GOP faithful.

By Mark Brown

TAMPA--State Treasurer Dan Rutherford served as Illinois campaign chairman for Mitt Romney and now chairs the Illinois delegation to the Republican National Convention.

Rutherford hand-picked most of the Romney delegates in the delegation, which also includes some Rick Santorum supporters.

Following is a complete list of the official Illinois contingent:

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This photo taken from video provided Aug. 5, 2012 by Sen. Mark Kirk's office, shows Sen. Mark Kirk at his home in Fort Sheridan.

Illinois Republican Chairman Pat Brady led the state delegation to the Republican National Convention in a salute Monday to U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk, who suffered a stroke in January and is not expected to attend.

Brady said party leaders "are executing Mark Kirk's plan" for recapturing Illinois, which Brady predicted would occur by the 2014 election.

Here are his complete remarks on Kirk:

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In this photo provided by NASA, Tropical Storm Isaac travels through the Gulf of Mexico on an apparent course for New Orleans.

To hear Republicans talking and media coverage summaries, it may have been better had Tropical Storm Isaac slammed into Tampa instead of taking aim - and strengthening into a likely hurricane - for New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.

Politico has put together a quote roundup of GOP supporters worried about those to be affected by the storm, but also concerned that the Republican National Convention will have pictures of partying going out to the world while President Obama visits those in Isaac's path.

Republican strategist Steve Schmidt summed up the "optics" concern in the Sunday New York Times:

"Images of revelry by Republicans at a time of suffering by other Americans -- no party wants those optics."

As it is, Isaac is forecast to hit near New Orleans on or near the 7th anniversary of the brutal landfall of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Katrina was a much stronger Category 5 storm with winds over 157 miles per hour. Isaac is expected to have top winds of around 90 mph when it hits land.

Tropical storm warning ends in Tampa

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A woman jogs along Bayshore Boulevard in between squalls blowing across the bay in Tampa, Fla., Monday, Aug. 27, 2012. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

The National Weather Service has removed the tropical storm warning for the Tampa area, according to their website.

Workers from Bain-owned companies to protest

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A group of more than 100 workers from Bloomin' Brands -- the corporate parent of Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba's Italian Grill and others -- will be dropping in on the company's Tampa headquarters during a convention event held there Monday afternoon, according to a release from the group.

A group of lobbyists, delegates and politicians in town for the convention will be at the company headquarters for a tasting and tour of the corporation, which has been owned by Bain since 2007, according to the release.

The workers are protesting Bloomin' Brands' efforts to reduce the state minimum wage by 54 percent in Florida and Arizona. They will attempt to deliver a letter to executives.

Trump skips Tampa, Ryan arrival delayed

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Old Post Office Trump.jpgDonald Trump is among the casualties of the reorganized GOP convention schedule, according to Talking Points Memo. The real-estate mogul's schedule couldn't handle a rescheduling, the blog reports, adding that Trump was in Tampa on Sunday for a planned Monday appearance.

The convention's Monday schedule had to be delayed and many speakers pushed back because of Tropical Storm Isaac's arrival in the gulf.

Meanwhile, Politico is reporting Paul Ryan's arrival is delayed to Tuesday because of the storm. Ryan was originally supposed to arrive on Monday.

In an interview with CNN's Gloria Borger, Mitt Romney opened up on his faith and family and even offered details into the Mormon religion and his place in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Members of his family, including wife, Ann, talked to Borger about the presumptive Republican candidate for president about who he is as a person and family man outside the political spotlight.

Romney on his mission in France:

"When you're off in a foreign place and you only take to your parents once or twice a year by phone -- that's all that's allowed -- and you're out speaking to people day in and day out about your faith and your religion and differences between your faith and other faiths... you say, 'OK, what's important here? What do I believe? What's truth? Is there a God? Is Jesus Christ the son of God?'"

Romney on his leadership role in the church outside of Boston:

After he and Ann were married and they later settled in Boston, Romney became a church leader there. He would serve as head of the Belmont, Massachusetts, congregation and his duties included not only leading the service but also counseling people, comforting the sick and arranging financial help for those in need.

"It's an unusual part of my faith in that we don't have a full-time ministry. There's no one paid to be the pastor and conduct services on Sunday and really no one who is full-time with the church to care for the sick and visit the poor. And so the church comes and says, 'We'd like you to do that, Mitt.' And so for about 10 years I took responsibility for the congregation or a group of congregations, and in that regard I was like the pastor."

You can find Borger's complete interview here.

GOP convention delegates party at Tropicana Field

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Rain and wind may have delayed some parts of the GOP convention, but the kick-off party at Tampa's Tropicana Field went on with no problem on Sunday night, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

The party for delegates and guests featured belly dancers and a trio of flamingos from Busch Gardens, as well as Tampa-based "American Idol" contestant Shannon Magrane, the paper reports. Delegates enjoyed a red, white and blue buffet.

Police at the party estimated between 8,000 and 10,000 people were in attendance, though missing from the festivities was Karl Rove, who was at a private convention party in nearby St. Petersburg.

Isaac doesn't slow down Paul supporters in Tampa

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Ron Paul hosted a 6-hour rally in Tampa on Sunday that made no mention of Mitt Romney, Politico reports. Paul, who fell short of the five state delegations he needed to be nominated at the Republican convention, gave a lengthy speech on issues ranging from ending the Federal Reserve to drinking raw milk.

The rally, which was held at the University of South Florida Sun Dome, included a message of hope for the future, according to the blog. Paul's speech referenced the 33 college campuses he spoke at, indicating the significant presence of youth among his supporters. His campaign reported 10,000 people among the audience at the rally, though reporters on the scene said the number seemed a little inflated.

Paul's official speaking slot at the convention Monday night is canceled because of the storm, but his son, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) will speak on Wednesday.

VIDEO: Carol Marin arrives in Tampa

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Tropical Storm Isaac targets Louisiana, not Tampa

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Tropical Storm Isaac appears to be directed towards Louisiana as of early Monday, according to meteorologists at the National Weather Service. The storm, which is expected to develop into a hurricane within 24 hours, has entered the gulf and could strike the coast of Louisiana by Wednesday, according to meteorologists.

Changes in the schedule and worries about the storm have already caused a number of speakers to change their plans, including Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R), according to TheHill.com">TheHill.com. Scott will no longer speak at the convention, and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) said he won't leave his state for the convention unless the storm dies down, according to the blog. Both governors have declared states of emergency.


Video by Lynn Sweet

By Mark Brown

TAMPA--The GOP may be resurgent in Illinois, but you can't tell it from the pitiful swag being handed out to members of the delegation to the National Republican Convention. I'm not even sure you can call it swag.

Inside a lightweight cloth computer bag (read chintzy) from Stern Beverage Inc., delegates will find:

TAMPA--President Barack Obama offered a helping hand on Sunday as Tropical Storm Isaac starts to bear down on Florida--already forcing a day cut from the Republican National Convention meeting here. Florida Gov. Rick Scott--a Republican--who was to speak at the convention, but has called it off for now--has declared a state of emergency.

The full wrath of the storm is expected to hit Monday--with the situation made more complicated because many of the 50,000 convention goers--including the Illinois delegation at Clearwater Beach--are staying at hotels connected to Tampa by long bridges, known here as causeways.

The White House said "President Obama received a briefing on preparations underway for Tropical Storm Isaac, which could become a hurricane as early as today. The FEMA Administrator, Craig Fugate, and National Hurricane Center Director, Dr. Rick Knabb, briefed the President on the projected track and timing of the storm as well as steps being taken by the Administration to support potentially impacted states.

"During the briefing, the President directed Administrator Fugate to make sure FEMA continues to coordinate closely with state and local officials in potentially impacted states and address the needs of local communities as the storm approaches. FEMA has already deployed teams to Florida and Louisiana ahead of the storm to support state and local preparations, and is in close communication with Alabama and Mississippi and other southeastern states that could be impacted. NOAA's National Hurricane Center has issued a Hurricane Warning for portions of Florida, and a Hurricane Watch has been issued for coastal areas of Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi.

"Following the briefing, the President spoke with Florida Governor Rick Scott to make clear that the Administration, through FEMA, would continue to make resources available as necessary to support the state as the Governor's team prepares for and responds to the storm. The President told the Governor the people of Florida are in his thoughts during this time. The President also told the governor to let him know if there are any unmet needs or additional resources the Administration could provide, including in support of efforts to ensure the safety of those visiting the state for the Republican National Convention."

16124041H19069819.jpegWith Tampa now under a tropical storm warning, Illinois delegates trickled in Sunday ahead of Tropical Storm Issac's expected arrival -- with the state GOP chief vowing the day's slate of delegate functions would go on as planned.

"Our first concern as always is the safety of our delegates, guests, and members of the media. We can continue to hold Illinois events because all of our delegates and guests are staying at the same facility where events will be held, state party head Pat Brady said in a prepared statement.

The 350 or so Illinois delegates, alternates, family members and guests all are at the Sheraton Sand Keys hotel in Clearwater, which is accessible by causeways that could close in the event of high winds.

Besides getting settled, the day's biggest event is a welcome reception Sunday evening.

"Official RNC convention business scheduled for Monday has been postponed until Tuesday TBD. Sunday's welcome reception for Illinois delegates and guests will continue as planned. All other Illinois events will continue as scheduled," Brady said.


The Sun-Times has five reporters covering the national, state and local stories in Tampa at the Republican National Convention this week.

Each day we'll Storify their tweets, images, video and more as they report the event. Here's a look at the calm before the storms - the convention and Tropical Storm Isaac - heading into Monday's abbreviated start.

You can follow them individually on Twitter as well:

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The stage Sunday morning at the Republican National Convention in the Tampa Bay Times Forum (photo by Lynn Sweet)

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Inside the GOP convention hall at the Tampa Bay Times Forum (photo by Lynn Sweet)

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Outside the Forum

Facing a gap with the middle class, Mitt and Ann Romney told a television audience Sunday that they grocery shop on their own and that he does his own laundry and irons his own shirts.

Interviewed at their New Hampshire lake house, the Romneys told Fox News Sunday's Chris Wallace that they love to shop at Costco, with Ann Romney divulging that she buys her husband's shirts at the bulk-sale retailer.

The GOP presidential nominee referred to a famous Popeye line when asked how he would respond to those who view him out of touch with middle-class America: "I am what I am, and that's all what I am."

Ann Romney also said her husband's true inner qualities showed when she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

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Front page Tampa Times, Aug. 26, 2012 (photo by Lynn Sweet)

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Welcome sign at the Sheraton Hotel in Clearwater Beach, Fl. where the Illinois delegation is staying at the Republican National Convention (photo by Lynn Sweet)


TAMPA, FL.---The clouds are overcast, the wind starting to pick up on Sunday morning as Isaac--now more likely a tropical storm than a hurricane--already chopped a day off the Republican convention. Convention planners today are scrambling to redo the schedule to pack four days of speakers into three, starting on Tuesday. The worst of the storm is expected on Monday.

On the Illinois front, most of the more than 300 members of the Illinois delegation--delegates, alternates and guests--are scheduled to fly to Tampa today. The group is staying at the Sheraton in Clearwater Beach. The views of the water and beach are beautiful--but the place is about 30 miles from Tampa.

The Sun-Times Bureau Chiefs--Lynn Sweet (Washington) and Dave McKinney (Springfield) filed on the GOP postponing events for a day because of the storm; read that story HERE.

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Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, left, and convention CEO William Harris unveil the stage and podium for the 2012 Republican National Convention, Monday, Aug. 20, 2012, at the Tampa Bay Times Forum in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Scott Iskowitz)


The Republican Party will delay the bulk of its convention until Tuesday afternoon because of the severe weather forecast from Isaac.

That's according to Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus in a statement Saturday evening:


"Republican National Convention President and CEO Bill Harris made the following statement: 'Our chief priority is the safety of the residents of Florida, of those visiting the Convention, and all those in Gulf Coast states who may be impacted by Tropical Storm Isaac. We have been working closely with the campaign, the party, and state and local officials for months to ensure a successful, enjoyable convention. Federal, state and local officials assure us that they are prepared to respond, if needed, and the scheduling changes we are announcing today will help ensure the continued safety of all participants - our foremost concern. We are also committed to keeping the delegates and guests of the convention well informed about the situation, and we will continue providing updates in the hours and days ahead.


Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus made the following statement: 'Due to the severe weather reports for the Tampa Bay area, the Republican National Convention will convene on Monday August 27th and immediately recess until Tuesday afternoon, August 28th. After consulting with Governor Scott, NOAA and local emergency management officials, we are optimistic that we will begin an exciting, robust convention that will nominate the Romney-Ryan ticket.'"


Priebus says the convention will convene briefly Monday and then immediately recess until Tuesday afternoon, once the storm is expected to have passed.


He says in a statement that the party made the decision after consulting with Florida Gov. Rick Scott and federal and local emergency officials.


Sun-Times Washington Bureau Chief Lynn Sweet has more details from Tampa where she's reporting on the convention.


-AP contributing

The legislation Gov. Pat Quinn signed Friday didn't have the prettiest name, but it'll mean cooking school students under the age of 21 can sample alcohol tied to their coursework without running afoul of state underage drinking laws.

The measure, pushed by several colleges with culinary schools like Kendall College in Chicago, passed the General Assembly last spring would permit culinary students 18 years or older to sample alcoholic beverages during cooking projects so long as they are supervised by an instructor who is 21 or older.

The law Quinn enacted also states that students can only be given alcohol during regularly scheduled and required courses, and any alcohol provided would have to remain in possession of the instructor afterward.

The purpose behind the push, backers said, is to teach students under 21 how to cook with wine and spirits and how to pair the right drinks with appropriate meal offerings.

16081241H26922957.jpegHouse Speaker Michael Madigan reported another $100,000 in contributions from SEIU Thursday following last week's collapse of a pension-reform deliberations that would have impacted a few thousand of the union's public-sector employees.

Friends of Michael J. Madigan, the speaker's personal political fund, reported receiving a $50,000 contribution from the SEIU Healthcare Illinois committee and another $50,000 donation from the SEIU Illinois Council fund.

A top union source told the Sun-Times Thursday that money actually was given to Madigan in late July, well before last Friday's special legislative session when the speaker presided over his chamber's failure to pass anything that would help cure Illinois' $83 billion pension crisis. Madigan and Gov. Pat Quinn blamed Republicans for inaction on pensions.

Earlier this week, the state Republican Party condemned the union for engaging in a "quid pro quo" with the speaker when the Madigan-run Democratic Majority reported receiving $97,000 in SEIU donations last Friday, the same day as the special session on pensions.

16069082H28391717.jpegIndicted former state Rep. Derrick Smith is now expelled from the Illinois House, but the people he tabbed to receive legislative scholarships for the upcoming school year will get to keep those tuition waivers.

That's the word Thursday from the Illinois State Board of Education, which administers the legislative scholarship program now in its last few weeks of existence.

In May, after his federal bribery indictment and after expulsion hearings had begun in the House, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that Smith awarded nearly $185,000 in legislative scholarships for the fall in a move Gov. Pat Quinn called at the time "very disappointing."

Smith, accused of taking a $7,000 bribe in an undercover FBI sting, became the first sitting Illinois House member to be expelled from the legislative chamber since 1905 after the House voted for his ouster last Friday.

"Our stance is basically, at the time he awarded the scholarships, he was a lawfully elected representative and was exercising the duties of his office," said Mary Fergus, a spokeswoman for the State Board of Education. "He awarded the scholarships, which now essentially are the property of the students."

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Gawker, a site more often known for celebrity news, posts filled with snark reacting to pop culture and photos and videos making up the memes of the day, has what it's calling an exclusive report looking at Mitt Romney's investments and "schemes" to avoid taxes.

Titled The Bain Report, the post includes 48 documents and 950 pages Gawker says points to Romney's various investments and "tax-dodging Cayman schemes."

According to the post by John Cook:

Today, we are publishing more than 950 pages of internal audits, financial statements, and private investor letters for 21 cryptically named entities in which Romney had invested--at minimum--more than $10 million as of 2011 (that number is based on the low end of ranges he has disclosed--the true number is almost certainly significantly higher). Almost all of them are affiliated with Bain Capital, the secretive private equity firm Romney co-founded in 1984 and ran until his departure in 1999 (or 2002, depending on whom you ask). Many of them are offshore funds based in the Cayman Islands. Together, they reveal the mind-numbing, maze-like, and deeply opaque complexity with which Romney has handled his wealth, the exotic tax-avoidance schemes available only to the preposterously wealthy that benefit him, the unlikely (for a right-wing religious Mormon) places that his money has ended up, and the deeply hypocritical distance between his own criticisms of Obama's fiscal approach and his money managers' embrace of those same policies. They also show that some of the investments that Romney has always described as part of his retirement package at Bain weren't made until years after he left the company.

Bain is the private equity and investment firm Romney co-founded in 1984 and left in 1999 to run the Salt Lake Olympics - or 2003, when Bain filings to the SEC claim he actually held the CEO position until.

Is the report a bombshell? Not according to Fortune's Dan Primack:

Let me save you some time: There is nothing in there that will inform your opinion of Mitt Romney. How do I know? Because I saw many of the exact same documents months ago, after requesting them from a Bain Capital investor. What I quickly learned was that there was little of interest, except perhaps for private equity geeks who want to know exactly how much Bain paid for a particular company back in 2006. Sure I would have loved the pageviews, but not at the expense of tricking readers into clicking on something of so little value.

There was no response from the Romney campaign in the Gawker report and it's unclear if Romney or his representatives were contacted about the documents or the post.

Gov. Pat Quinn wouldn't completely show his hand Wednesday when it comes to his plans for gambling expansion legislation, but he offered the strongest signals yet he isn't prepared to sign the measure as is.

Quinn has until Tuesday to sign, rewrite or veto the plan that passed the state Legislature back in May and would permit, among other things, a Chicago casino.

"I will look at it really through the weekend. I probably won't have a final answer until Tuesday," Quinn told reporters during an appearance on the South Side.

"But it is a complicated measure. It's about as thick as the Chicago phone book, and we're going through it line by line, and we have to because we found some things that need close attention," the governor said.

Quinn previously has made clear his distaste for the plan and warned supporters not to "hold their breath" on him signing a bill that also would put casinos in the south suburbs, Lake County, Rockford and Danville and permit slot machines at racetracks.

"The most important concern is ethics and integrity and oversight of gamblers and gambling interests, casinos and casino owners. If we don't have tight regulation and oversight, we could end up with some very bad things for our state, and I always believe the money should go toward education," Quinn said.

If he uses his amendatory veto authority or simply vetoes it, the plan likely is dead in the state Legislature. Last week, House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) predicted the votes don't exist to mount a successful override of a possible Quinn veto on the expansion package.

Rahm previews Democratic National Convention speech

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Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Tuesday offered a preview of the speech he will deliver to the Democratic National Convention in defense of his former boss, President Barack Obama.

Rahm climbs aboard the anti-Akin bandwagon

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Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Tuesday climbed aboard the bandwagon of politicians from both parties rolling over Missouri GOP Senate Candidate Todd Akin for his claim that "legitimate rape" doesn't cause pregnancy.

In Chicago, we root for the Bears and Bulls. Fight over the Cubs and Sox. Hang our pride on an Original Six hockey team, support the Fire, Sky and myriad other pro and college teams.

But for many, the only real full-contact sport in Chicago is politics.

It's fitting, then, that New York public radio station WNYC has done the digging to find out which sports team owners are donating the most to Barack Obama, Mitt Romney and other political campaigns and organizations.

As for Chicago owners? Much like playoff dynasties for the home teams, the pickings are slim. Only William "Rocky" Wirtz of the Chicago Blackhawks, and a partial investor in the Chicago Sun-Times, donated to a presidential campaign - $1,000 to Tim Pawlenty according to records.

Times were tough for the Romney home team according to the WNYC post. The former Massachusetts governor and senate candidate, was not only snubbed by Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, who gave $17,900 to the Obama campaign and the Democratic National Committee, he also got no rooting from Boston Celtics owner Stephen Pagliuca. Pagliuca, who also happens to be a managing partner at Bain Capital, gave more than $66,000 to Democrats.

SPRINGFIELD-The state Republican Party teed off Monday on House Speaker Michael Madigan for $97,000 one of his campaign committees received from a major Illinois union on the same day pension-reform legislation went down the tubes during a special legislative session last Friday.

The money to Democratic Majority, the committee Madigan uses to fund House races, came last Friday from SEIU Healthcare Illinois and SEIU Illinois Council.

"Is this a quid pro quo? Connect the dots," said Pat Brady, chairman of the Illinois Republican, in a prepared statement.

"After being a major part of the problem for over 30 years, did anyone really believe that Mike Madigan would get an extreme makeover and actually do something against his labor boss buddies?"

SEIU is one of the most prolific campaign fundraisers among unions in Illinois and represents home health care workers, though those union members aren't directly impacted by the flameout of a pension deal in Springfield because they aren't employed by state government. But the union does represent employees in the Secretary of State's office and at the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority.

"I'm not aware their employees would be in the state systems," Madigan spokesman Steve Brown told the Chicago Sun-Times while ridiculing Monday's state GOP attack.

"I'm not aware of any contribution from SEIU. I haven't seen what Mr. Brady is saying. I don't spend a lot of time on what he says," Brown said. "Usually he's not accurate."

Should nepotism rule apply to Cook County Board of Review?

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BY DAN MIHALOPOULOS
Staff Writer

In the eight years since he was first elected after a hard-fought primary race, successful personal-injury lawyer Larry Rogers Jr. has avoided scandal as a commissioner at the obscure but highly influential agency that decides property tax appeals in Cook County.


But last month two emplyees at the county Board of Review were arrested and charged with taking bribes to fix tax appeals cases while they worked on Rogers' staff.

And in today's Chicago Sun-Times, the Watchdogs column reveals how Rogers employed his half-brother for years in a taxpayer-paid position, despite a county ordinance that forbids nepotism in hiring.

The Illinois House expels Rep. Derrick Smith

He'll still have to face court, but Rep. Smith's alleged acceptance of a bribe was enough to cause him to be the first sitting member of the House ousted in more than 100 years. Dave McKinney and Mark Brown report.

Storified by Craig Newman · Fri, Aug 17 2012 13:31:46

Rep. Derrick Smith ousted from state House by 100-6 vote - Chicago Sun-TimesBY DAVE MCKINNEY Springfield Bureau Chief dmckinney@suntimes.com State Rep. Derrick Smith arrives at the Federal Building for an arrainme...
Waiting for House to take up Derrick Smith expulsion case. Madigan at rostrum. Usually means serious business at hand.Mark Brown
House floor quiets for Smith expulsion debate. Now reading the allegations against him.Mark Brown
Not as solemn as for Blago impeachment session, as close to a precedent in legislators' experience.Mark Brown
HR1191, the resolution calling for Rep. Derrick Smith's expulsion, is now underway. Smith is an unexcused no-show today in Springfield.Dave McKinney
The only question: will anybody dare speak up in defense of Derrick Smith?Mark Brown
Chamber is silent through 4 speakers, including Rep. Chuck Jefferson (D-Rocford), Smith's only defender. "What happens if...he's innocent?"Dave McKinney
Lou Lang: "Smith's silence in this case speaks volumes." Silence can be used against him.Mark Brown
Lang: Smith could have been here to say, "I didn't do it" without harming his criminal case.Mark Brown
Mary Flowers (D-Chicago): "He's innocent until proven guilty. That's what the Constitution says...What's the rush?"Mark Brown
Reboletti: "We as a body must police ourselves. If we don't do it, who will?"Mark Brown
Rep. Reboletti: Smith had 148 phone calls regarding bribe, some while House in session in Springfield.Mark Brown
Barbara Flynn Currie: We do not take lightly the expulsion of a member.Mark Brown
Currie: Alleged bribe "a stunning violation of the oath of office."Mark Brown
Rep Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet) on Smith: "This isn't a speeding ticket...This goes to the very core of our democracy."Dave McKinney
Rep. Chuck Jefferson (D-Rockford): "let the legal system handle the issue." Says he will vote present.Mark Brown
Derrick Smith expelled. vote of 100-6. three presentMark Brown
Rep. Derrick Smith is defiant in Chicago: "My former colleagues did not know the truth." Says he'll remain on the November ballot.Dave McKinney
Smith called the day "sad and happy." Sad because he's the first House member bounced since 1905 but happy knowing whom his friends are.Dave McKinney
No votes on Smith: M. Davis, Deluca, Flowers, Mayfield, Turner, Yarbrough. Voting present: Ford, Jefferson, ThapediMark Brown

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Tom Morello performs at the National Nurses United rally and march against NATO in Daley Plaza. | Rich Hein~Sun-Times


Freshly minted Republican vice presidential candidate, avowed conservative and P-90X maniac budget wonk Paul Ryan has a Rage problem.


Rage Against the Machine, that is.


In what has become standard to the public vetting of candidates, Ryan was asked who's on his iPod and, surprisingly, for a number of reasons, he answered that the politically charged, extreme leftist band Rage Against the Machine was in heavy rotation.


All well and good -- unless you're Libertyville native Tom Morello, who also happened to be the guitarist for the '90s poiliti-rockers. Morello took his incredulity to the keyboard and penned an op/ed for Rolling Stone that wonders whether Ryan has ever actually listened to lyrics from the band's songs, that include such ditties as Bullet in the Head, Know Your Enemy, Killing in the Name and The Darkness of Greed.


Morello writes in Rolling Stone:


Paul Ryan's love of Rage Against the Machine is amusing, because he is the embodiment of the machine that our music has been raging against for two decades. Charles Manson loved the Beatles but didn't understand them. Governor Chris Christie loves Bruce Springsteen but doesn't understand him. And Paul Ryan is clueless about his favorite band, Rage Against the Machine.


Ryan claims that he likes Rage's sound, but not the lyrics. Well, I don't care for Paul Ryan's sound or his lyrics. He can like whatever bands he wants, but his guiding vision of shifting revenue more radically to the one percent is antithetical to the message of Rage.

WASHINGTON--Cook County voters hold favorable opinions of Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and give her high marks for how she handles her job, according to a poll taken by her political operation.

The poll, by Tulchin Research, was taken Aug. 1-6 of 600 likely voters--called on land lines and cell phones. The survey has a 4 percent margin of error. I did not see the entire poll; portions were shared with me on Thursday

Voters were asked about county issues and how Preckwinkle was doing--comparing her with President Barack Obama, Attorney General Lisa Madigan, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Quinn.

The survey shows that Preckwinkle, Emanuel and Madigan are even in their favorability ratings. Obama has the best, Quinn the worse, ratings for job approval and favorability.

The poll comes out as Democrats are aware that Quinn's ratings are low and at present is vulnerable as he heads towards a 2014 re-election campaign. Preckwinkle's name has been mentioned as a potential 2014 Illinois Democratic gubernatorial candidate and this survey bolsters her viability.

The survey, paid for by the Preckwinkle for President Committee, was taken because "it is important for us to discern whether Toni's administration is effectively communicating her agenda to voters," Ken Snyder, who is Preckwinkle's political consultant, told me.

Obama, no surprise, had 100 percent name ID in the poll, compared to 98 percent for Quinn and Emanuel, 93 percent for Madigan and 83 percent for Preckwinkle--which means she has work to do to get known better within Cook County.

Voters also approved of Preckwinkle's handling of a controversy involving the management of the Cook County Medical Examiner's office. Some 81 percent have heard at least "a little" about "the mismanagement crisis at Cook County's morgue that resulted in the county's previous medical examiner being replaced."

Of that group, 39 percent said the strongly approved Preckwinkle's handling of the crisis, 34 percent somewhat approved, 4 percent somewhat disapproved, 8 percent strongly disapproved and 16 per cent had no response to the question.

Key findings

% FAVORABLE OPINION

67 Obama
54 Emanuel
53 Preckwinkle
53 Madigan
41 Quinn

% NEUTRAL

21 Madigan
21 Emanuel
20 Preckwinkle
20 Quinn
13 Obama

% UNFAVORABLE

37 Quinn
23 Emanuel
20 Obama
19 Madigan
10 Preckwinkle

% JOB APPROVAL/DISAPPROVAL

72/27 Obama
69/26 Emanuel
67/15 Preckwinkle
54/43 Quinn
*Madigan not included

Lawmakers in Springfield are now debating whether to throw State Rep. Derrick Smith out of office. Smith, accused of taking bribes, is an unexcused no-show at the hearing.

Will Derrick Smith face his accusers in the Legislature today or won't he?
The answer will come at 11 a.m. today, when the Illinois House convenes to take a take a historic vote that could lead to the West Side Democrat's expulsion from the legislative chamber.


Former Bears great Steve McMichael may tackle running for elected office: the Sun-Times story about "Mongo" is HERE.

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Former Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.) at Mayor Clinic Thursday with Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) (photo released by the office of Patrick Kennedy)


Former Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I) said Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) being treated for a bi-polar disorder, was in a "deep depression" and worried about his political future after meeting with him Thursday at the Mayo Clinic. Kennedy himself was diagnosed as bi-polar and depressed and treated at Mayo. The photo above is the first time Jackson has been seen since June 10. For more on the story, click HERE.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Thursday he's determined to save $15 million by eliminating "waste and fraud" in Chicago's $115 million-a-year worker's compensation program now the subject of a federal investigation.

President Barack Obama should stick with Vice-President Joe Biden as his running mate, despite the controversy over Biden's claims to a predominantly-black Virginia audience that Republicans would "put y'all back in chains," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Thursday.

BY DAVE MCKINNEY
Springfield bureau chief
dmckinney@suntimes.com

SPRINGFIELD-The GOP converged sedately on the Illinois State fairgrounds Thursday for its annual partisan pep rally, talking up the party's chances of gaining legislative seats and retaining congressional seats this fall while needling Gov. Pat Quinn for his train wreck of a day on Wednesday.

The Obama and Romney campaigns have taken a nasty turn and there is no where to go but down. Read my column HERE about Vice President Joe Biden's "chains" remarks, Mitt Romney's slap back about President Obama's "anger" and "hate" and distortions about welfare and Medicare. Take a look HERE.

Sun-Times columnist Mary Mitchell weighs in about Biden's "chains" remark: read her column HERE.

Dave Mustaine, former guitarist for Metallica and currently stalking the tip of the stage for Megadeath, has some definite political views, usually ranging toward the conservative end of the spectrum.

And he's certainly no fan of President Obama, whom he's pretty sure is not a U.S. citizen. But he stepped up his rhetoric during a show in Singapore. Fast forward to the 2:40 mark where Mustaine begins his diatribe on Obama's attempt to pass a gun ban in the U.S.. He starts off by mentioning the Fast & Furious investigation, then delves into his own theories on the recent deadly attacks in Aurora, Colo., and the Sikh temple attack in a suburb of Milwaukee.

"Back in my country, my president is trying to pass a gun ban so he's staging all of these murders like the Fast and Furious thing down at the boarder and Aurora, Colorado, all the people that were killed there. And now the beautiful people at the Sikh temple. I was talking to JD our promoter here tonight, what a great guy, I was saying, "I don't know where I'm gonna live if America keeps going the way it's going because it looks like it's turning into Nazi America." And he said, "Move down here to Singapore."

So Mustaine must be banging his head firmly in Romney's corner, right? Well . . .

"George Soros came out and said Mitt Romney is just like Obama. So what do you got there? You've got Obama's mentor saying that Mitt Romney's just like him, and he's leading the polls now."


(Sun-Times Video by Jon Sall)


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Hundreds of unionized state workers picket outside the main entrance to the Illinois State Fairgrounds Wednesday, which was Governor's Day, a traditional day of Democratic unity. The show of force was directed entirely at Gov. Pat Quinn for wanting to gut public-employee pensions and close state facilities that could mean thousands of state layoffs. (reporting and photo by Dave McKinney)
Chicago Sun-Times Springfield Bureau Chief Dave McKinney has the story from the fair; read McKinney's report HERE.

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Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon at the Illinois State Fair (photo and reporting below by Dave McKinney)

Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon drew boos from angry union protesters when introducing Gov. Pat Quinn at Governor's Day Wednesday at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield. Known for his long speeches, Quinn spent only two minutes talking at the rally. But his words were drowned out by hundreds of union members upset by his plans to cut back pension benefits, close state facilities and lay off thousands of workers. Chicago Sun-Times Springfield Bureau Chief Dave McKinney has the story from the fair; read McKinney's report HERE.

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Paul Ryan has a face that launched an Internet meme. Twice.

The Wisconsin congressman and GOP vice presidential nominee has a penchant for a pastime that's distinctly Southern -- but legal in Wisconsin -- catfish noodling. The sport, popularized by Hillbilly Handfishin' on Animal Planet, is one way Ryan likes to relax, telling the New York Times, "I know it sounds a little crazy, but it's really exhilarating."

Between handfishing trips and strict adherence to his P90X exercise regime, he comes off as the ultimate man -- after Ryan Gosling, of course.

Emily Zanotti, 30, an account services director for a communications services agency and Mount Prospect blogger of nakeddc.com, and two of her friends, Lyndsey Fifield and Lindsay Dodge, decided Gosling wasn't the only man deserving of Tumblr honor.

"Back in May he referenced catfish noodling," Zanotti said. "We were talking about how funny it was that our heartthrob was in the New York Times standing shirtless in a river catching fish with bare hands."

The trio launched Hey Girl, It's Paul Ryan in response. The site posts three to five photographs a day of the congressman and, with a clever turn of phrase, turns his fiscal libertarianism into the words of a heartthrob.

Zanotti's favorite to date -- as submitted by members of the Fox Business Channel -- which has Ryan saying "Stop, girl! Those Laffer curves are driving me wild."

"We meant it as an inside joke, cheesy pickup lines based on fiscal policy," she said.

The site went dark after Zanotti said Ryan wasn't keen on that kind of attention.

"We took it down after he did an interview with Wisconsin radio," Zanotti said. "He seemed embarrased, we said goodbye, and then last week lo and behold he's the vice presidential nominee. So we restarted it and now it has a second life."

While the site nods to Gosling, others in the political blogosphere inspire the authors as well, including Newt Judges You and Texts From Hillary.

"We're following in their footsteps," she said.

And will there be a third act for Ryan's online tribute?

"We're playing it by ear right now, keeping it alive until the election," Zanotti said. "If the popularity goes, we won't let the joke go stale."


The First Couple is campaigning together in Iowa today; as First Lady Michelle was introducing President Barack Obama in Duboque, someone in the crowd yelled out "Whitney Young"

The proud 1981 graduate of the Whitney Young Magnet High School in Chicago seemed surprised--and delighted at the shout out.

Replied Mrs. Obama, giving props to the school teams, "Whitney Young? Oh, my goodness. That's my high school. Go Dolphins!

By Dave McKinney
Sun-Times Reporter

The prospects for a gambling expansion package now awaiting action by Gov. Pat Quinn took a turn for the worse Wednesday.

If Quinn vetoes or rewrites the plan that would allow a casino in Chicago, as many expect, the General Assembly lacks the votes to block him, House Speaker Michael Madigan told reporters.

Wednesday is the first day for young immigrants in the U.S. illegally to apply for legal status, and there is a big workshop at Navy Pier today to help folks navigate through the process. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) the "father" of the DREAM Act, Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) one of the leads on immigration in the House and Mayor Rahm Emanuel are among the political figures who will be at Navy Pier.

The deferrals are a result of an Obama Administration rule change to allow "deferred action" for qualifying youths in the U.S. illegally through no fault of their own.

The Navy Pier workshops are organized by the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.

From release: ICRRR "will have the capacity to provide full-service assistance for 1,500 DREAM Act-eligible youth that includes help with completing deferred action applications, and free information and consultation for up to 5,000 DREAM Act-eligible youths who will also be given a packet that includes a list of required supporting documents, an eligibility checklist, an attorney referral list, a list of GED programs, and a list of upcoming workshop locations and dates.

ICIRR recommends that anyone coming to DREAM Relief Day

· Come prepared with all the required documents listed on dreamrelief.org

· Come early and plan to spend all day

· Expect long lines

· Bring plenty of food and water.

Mitt Romney, in Ohio Tuesday night, is not happy with the tone of the campaign being run by President Barack Obama and his SuperPac allies and he told the president to take his campaig of "division and anger and hate back to Chicago." For more details on what Romney said--and the SuperPac ad at issue--read my post HERE.

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Dave McKinney photo

By Dave McKinney

It's not Halloween yet, but Attorney General Lisa Madigan is aiming to put a little scare into patrons at the Illinois State Fair.

Her tent near the fairgrounds grandstand is dubbed the "House of Hazards" and includes a litany of products that pose a danger to consumers -- everything from baby seats designed to sit on countertops that have resulted in nasty falls for toddlers and infants to toy handcuffs that have hazardous chemicals in their metallic finish.

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Aaron Schock, a U.S. congressman from Peoria and a possible GOP opponent to Democratic Gov. Quinn in 2014, takes casts a large image in Springfield. (Dave McKinney photo)

By Dave McKinney

It's a good thing Illinois Republicans pride themselves on having a big-tent philosophy.

They need a big tent at the Illinois State Fairgrounds, after all, just to house a picture of potential 2014 gubernatorial candidate Aaron Schock, a U.S. congressman from Peoria who is being talked up as a possible GOP opponent to Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn in 2014.

Schock's mug is featured dramatically in a larger-than-life, floor-to-ceiling poster that says "He's done a lot . . . He'll do more."

While other potential GOP gubernatorial rivals also have literature inside the party's tent, Schock's image by far is the largest of anyone appearing on the fall ticket or beyond, including Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

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Gov. Quinn participates in the ribbon cutting officially opening the Illinois State Fair in Springfield on Friday. (AP Photo/The State Journal-Register, Jason Johnson)

By Dave McKinney

Unlike in past years, when New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and former U.S. Sen. and presidential candidate John Edwards (D-N.C.) brought partisan star power to past Governor's Days at the Illinois State Fair, no Democrats with national name recognition are expected as headliners at the event Wednesday.

That leaves perhaps the most compelling storyline to be the icy reception Gov. Pat Quinn may get from a coalition of public-employee unions that are fighting his efforts to mothball state facilities, freeze salaries, lay off thousands who perform state services and push a measure during a special legislative session he called Friday to roll back public pensions.

BY FRAN SPIELMAN
City Hall Reporter
fspielman@suntimes.com

One day after U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Chicago) was diagnosed with Bipolar II depression, Ald. Sandi Jackson (7th) refused to comment on her husband's condition.

Zeke Emanuel is Rahm's older brother and is as brash and abrasive as the Chicago mayor. Zeke, a vice provost at Penn, and a frequent guest on political talk shows, is the subject of a long Associated Press profile you can read HERE. If you want to understand Rahm--you need to "get" the Israeli-born Zeke. In the article Zeke takes a call from Rahm and calls him "boychick," a Yiddish term of endearment for young man.

Excerpt: "The standard line about the Brothers Emanuel is that Ari is the richest, Rahm the most powerful, and Zeke the smartest. Asked whether he agrees, Zeke harrumphs, "I'm the one who came up with that!"

And it's CNN's Candy Crowley. Read details about moderators, debate dates, formats and topics in my post HERE.


BY FRAN SPIELMAN
City Hall Reporter
fspielman@suntimes.com

Mayor Rahm Emanuel warned Tuesday that the U.S. House Republican budget crafted by Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan could trigger a recession.

BY FRAN SPIELMAN
City Hall Reporter
fspielman@suntimes.com

Hollywood star power--in the form of Evanston-born actor John Cusack--showed up at Chicago's City Hall on Tuesday to support the concept using the city's sweeping condemnation power to help stem the foreclosure epidemic, but Mayor Rahm Emanuel shot down the idea.

In case you missed the Olympics closing ceremonies, or didn't stay tuned until the end, Rep. Joe Walsh aired a campaign commercial to introduce you to the "Real Joe."

Walsh, the 8th District congressman, and a Tea Party favorite, is running against Democratic challenger Tammy Duckworth.

Lynn Sweet had the full story a couple days ago.

WASHINGTON--Republicans tapped two popular figures on Tuesday--New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio--for big speaking spots at the GOP convention in Tampa at the end of the month. Christie will keynote and Rubio will introduce Mitt Romney.

WASHINGTON--President Barack Obama and rival Mitt Romney are both on battleground state bus tours on Tuesday: Obama is in Iowa and Romney is on an Ohio swing.

New Romney runningmate Rep. Paul Ryan vaulted from Iowa--where on Monday he shared the state with Obama on his first day of solo stumping-- to battlegrounds Colorado and Nevada. Ryan in Denver also headlined fund-raisers in Denver.

Vice President Joe Biden is in Virginia on Tuesday--another swing state.


The Mayo Clinic said Monday Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. was being treated for "Bipolar II depression" in a update released at the request of lawmaker, absent from Congress since June 10. It's a treatable ailment and Jackson's re-election campaign continues, I report HERE. Former Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.) checked in Mayo in 2006 for bipolar disorder treatment; he plans to visit Jackson at Mayo later this week.

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Cole Nelson, nine months, held by his mother Deborah Nelson, inspects President Obama's face during a visit to the Iowa State Fair on Monday. "What do you think? That's a pretty big nose," the President said to the child. (AP Photos/Carolyn Kaster)


President Obama joked while stumping in Iowa on Monday that first lady Michelle Obama would not allow him to have a fried Twinkie if he hit the Iowa State Fair.


He seems to have adhered to his wife's wishes on the Twinkie front, but enjoyed a beer and pork chop dinner when he dropped in on the fair in a surprise visit Monday evening. More photos after the jump:

Obama has retooled his stump speech; the transcript of his Boone, Iowa speech HERE.

BY FRAN SPIELMAN
City Hall Reporter
fspielman@suntimes.com

Should Chicago use its sweeping condemnation powers to help stem the foreclosure epidemic?

The City Council's most powerful aldermen believes it's an idea worth considering, which is why the Finance Committee chaired by Ald. Edward M. Burke (14th) will hold a joint committee hearing on the controversial idea on Tuesday.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his freshly minted running mate, Paul Ryan, sat down with CBS' Bob Schieffer on Sunday for a "60 Minutes" interview.

The two candidates discussed their plans, the selection process and myriad topics ranging from government spending and Medicare cuts to the release of personal tax records.

You can read the transcript of the entire interview as well at the "60 Minutes" site.

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Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney introduces his vice presidential running mate, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, on Saturday at the USS Wisconsin exhibit in Norfolk, Va. (AP Photo/Virginian-Pilot, Amanda Lucier)

The backdrop of the USS Wisconsin used as the scene for the announcement of Paul Ryan as Mitt Romney's running mate is perhaps an ironic choice for one reason of historic significance.

With Ryan's selection, neither presidential ticket has a military veteran running for president and vice president, the first time that's happened since 1932.

Ken Dilanian writes about the anomaly for Stars and Stripes and details the military non-history for all four candidates:

The military draft had long been abolished by the time Ryan and President Barack Obama turned 18.

Vice President Joe Biden was deemed medically ineligible in 1968 during the Vietnam War due to a history of asthma.

Romney received four draft deferments for being a college student and then for doing mission work in France for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

None of them volunteered for service.

Sun-Times Washington Bureau Chief Lynn Sweet reported the news of Paul Ryan's addition to the Mitt Romney ticket as the story unfolded late Friday and into Saturday. Here are her blog posts, tweets and photos through the day as the news developed and the Romney campaign hit the trail with a vice presidential candidate in the fold.

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  • Lynn Sweet report on Mitt Romney tapping Rep. Paul Ryan as his vice presidential pick Saturday morning is HERE
  • Sweet will be reporting live from a Romney-Ryan rally in Manassas, Va. on Saturday afternoon
  • Text of Romney speech is HERE.
  • Text of Rep. Paul Ryan's speech on being tapped as Mitt Romney's running mate is HERE
  • Obama campaign react is HERE.
  • A photo gallery of the day's events HERE
  • Video with actual speech highlights is HERE
  • Video of the announcement flub is HERE


Mitt Romney announced his choice as running mate, Paul Ryan, as "the next president of the United States" during an event at the USS Wisconsin exhibit in Norfolk, Va., on Saturday morning.


Ryan, (R-Wis.), of course, would be vice president. And Romney, alerted to his gaffe, quickly corrected himself before Ryan could get rolling on his acceptance speech.


"Every now and then I'm known to make a mistake," Romney said to a delighted crowd. "I did not make a mistake with this guy. But I can tell you this . . . he's gonna be the next vice president of the United States."


Romney and his new vice presidential pick are embarking on a tour of battleground states after the morning announcement.

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Marco Rubio? Paul Ryan? Chris Christie? Tim Pawlenty? Rob Portman? A wildcard?

Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney is finally set to announce his running mate in an event in Virginia 8 a.m. Saturday. The move comes just as Romney is getting hit hard in the polls, with gaps of 7- to 9-percent behind Barack Obama in various national tallies.

The Wall Street Journal, in an editorial on Thursday, praised Wisconsin Rep. Ryan as a strong choice for Romney: "The case for Mr. Ryan is that he best exemplifies the nature and stakes of this election. More than any other politician, the House budget chairman has defined those stakes well as a generational choice about the role of government and whether America will once again become a growth economy or sink into interest-group dominated decline."

Romney had said he would make the announcement following the Olympics, which wrap up later in the day.

Sun-Times Washington Bureau Chief Lynn Sweet will be reporting live as the event unfolds.

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Washington D.C. is seen from Air Force One, with President Barack Obama aboard, during a return flight early Friday morning. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)


In a week when negative campaigning picked up pace and seemed to start to sway the national presidential poll numbers, and following a couple of years of crumbling national discourse in politics in D.C., sometimes it pays to take a step back and a deep breath.


In this photo, the U.S. Capitol is seen in the middle of the image, an unusually peaceful oasis. The photo was taken from Air Force One as President Obama returned from a campaign trip to Colorado. Then he's back on the plane, headed for Chicago this weekend, reports Lynn Sweet.

The Obama campaign is breaking out everything but a Ray Clay intro for the upcoming fund-raiser with Michael Jordan in New York.

The most recent email sent from the campaign promises the chance of meeting M.J. and some other basketball player named Obama, among other hoopsters. The email:

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle are on the fund-raising trail Sunday: Obama has four events in Chicago while Mrs Obama is looking for campaign cash in Los Angeles.

My post with the details is HERE.

WASHINGTON--This has been an ugly week in the presidential campaign--defined in part by hard-hitting ads produced to help re-elect President Barack Obama and to bolster Mitt Romney. The very big problem: each of these ads are deeply misleading, concludes FactCheck.org after an extensive analysis.

The findings from FactCheck.org:

Obama ally Priorities USA wrong to blame Mitt for cancer death
FactCheck.org analyzed a spot by Priorities USA, the pro-Obama SuperPac and concludes the spot blaming Mitt Romney for the cancer death of a woman is misleading.

Mitt wrong in claiming Obama wants to "gut" welfare: FactCheck.org
The verdict is in from FactCheck.org: the Mitt Romney campaign claim that Obama wants to "gut welfare" is wrong.



WASHINGTON -- We know Rep. Joe Walsh doesn't give a darn about political correctness; the Tea Party freshman's claim to fame comes from making outrageous statements. His latest came Wednesday, when he accused the U.S. government of ignoring warning signs of a crazed gunman for fear of offending Muslims.

Walsh raised the prospect of another Sept. 11 triggered by Islamic extremists. "It is a real threat," he said. "And it is a threat that is much more at home now than it was right after 9/11. It's here. It's in Elk Grove. It's in Addison. It's in Elgin."

Mayor Rahm Emanuel gives an interview about jobs, infrastructure, crime and other topics to Bloomberg/ Businessweek while on an "El" ride. Read it HERE.

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A new CNN/ORC survey shows Barack Obama at a 50 percent favorable rating for the first time since April, while his opponent, Mitt Romney, loses ground to independents, but shores up his support from likely Romney voters.

"Among independent voters, the poll indicates President Obama has a 53%-42% lead," CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said. "The president holds a nine point advantage among women voters and a smaller six point edge among men."

The poll also found that 64 percent of all Americans, and 68 percent of independents, think Romney favors the rich. Romney's reluctance to release his tax returns also is becoming more of an issue, with 63 percent of the public and 67 percent of independents wanting more clarity from the former Massachusetts governor and Bain Capitol CEO.

Furthermore in the bad news department for the Romney camp, at least as far as CNN's poll is concerned, Americans overwhelmingly believe Barack Obama will be re-elected. No matter which candidate they favor, 63 percent say Obama will get his second term.

"That may not translate directly into votes, but it is worth noting that in August of previous election years, the public accurately predicted the winner in 1996, 2000 and 2008, and in 2004 George W. Bush and John Kerry were tied," adds Holland.

UPDATE: While CNN gave Obama a 7-point edge, Fox News paints a slightly worse picture for the Romney camp.

Fox News shows Obama with a 49-40 edge.

"The events of the past two weeks appear to have energized Democratic voters a bit," says Republican pollster Daron Shaw, who conducts the Fox News poll with Democratic pollster Chris Anderson. "But perhaps more critically, Romney's support among independents has declined. The Obama campaign has -- at least in the short term -- succeeded in raising questions about Romney's fitness to govern and in making this less of a referendum and more of a choice election."

But Nate Silver blogs at FiveThirtyEight that Romney doesn't need to push the panic button just yet. Of course, announcing a running mate after the Olympics closing ceremonies, as Romney has indicated he'll do, would help level those numbers off.

But just how much bounce does a vice presidential nominee announcement get a guy these days?

Polling graphics via Talking Points Memo's Poll Tracker

Biggert, Foster debate taxes, returns, Fermilab funding

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BY STEPHANIE LULAY Aurora Beacon-News

Incumbent U.S. Rep. Judy Biggert and former Rep. Bill Foster squared off Thursday in their first debate for the 11th Congressional District seat.

Biggert, a Republican from Hinsdale, and Foster, a Democrat from Naperville, talked tax cuts, tax returns and the future of Fermilab in the debate, which will be broadcast Sunday morning on FOX Chicago Sunday.

Lobbying Cook County elected leaders and staff continues to be a million-dollar business, but meetings between lobbyists and officials to discuss public policy have tapered off a bit this year, newly released data suggests.

In the first six months of the year, lobbyists were paid by various companies a total of $1.15 million -- up from the $824,000 earned from January to June 2011, according to Cook County Clerk David Orr's office semi-annual report released Thursday.

In all of 2011, lobbyists pulled down nearly $2 million.

But the 211 active lobbyists reported a total of 540 "contacts" -- meetings, emails, texts, phone calls or even events -- with county officials in the first half of this year, the lowest of any six-month period since online filing began in 2010, according to a statement from Orr's office.

Lobbyists chatted up county officials about everything from a Des Plaines River project - details of which weren't immediately available to the Sun-Times or Crain's Chicago Business - to unincorporated areas of Cook County to lowering the county's jail population, according to Orr's office.

The jail population and delivering services to pockets of unincorporated Cook County - inexpensively -- were thrown in the run-up to approving this year's budget.

Cook County Board President pushed, then backed away from a plan to charge residents of unincorporated stretches for law enforcement services.

And Preckwinkle has been arguing for a way to reduce the jail population, in hopes of saving the $143-a-day it costs to house a single prisoner and help those behind bars get the social services they might need to get them back on track.

All-Circo, Inc., was the best paid lobbying firm pulling in $386,500 -- representing one-third of all reported earnings for the six-month period, according to Orr's office.

Lobbyists are required to file twice annually, noting who they're meeting with, subject matter and how much they're paid for the work.

Orr says the online reports "sheds light on who is being paid to influence county decision-makers."
To take a look at the searchable database go to the clerk's website here.

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A relic from the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893 is sailing into the hands of new owners.

This week, the Chicago Park District approved the transfer of a replica Viking ship displayed at the Chicago World's Fair to a local Norwgian-American nonprofit -- organized for the sole purpose of restoring the vessel. It was donated to the park district in 1920.

This isn't some toy ship, it was the real deal at 79 feet long by 16.5 feet wide.

Eleven men and a captain sailed the replica ship from Norway across the Atlantic in 1892 to display it at the fair. Court records note that the route into the United States included the Erie Canal and the Great Lakes, the story goes.

He was supposed to go from store to store, checking to make sure merchants were paying cigarette and other tobacco taxes, but the FB I says the Cook County revenue investigator was involved in an on-the-job bribery scheme.

Robert Mitchell, 39, of Chicago, was arrested Tuesday night and charged with attempted extortion in a criminal complaint filed Monday in U.S. District Court. Authorities allege Mitchell would give merchants a heads up when investigators were about to head to their stores for a closer look at their tobacco in exchange for $600 monthly payments, according to the Sun-Times and Chicago Tribune.

The alleged scheme began last year after Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and Sheriff Tom Dart announced a crackdown on stores selling illegal cigarettes, including packs without the required tax stamp - evidence the $2 county levy has been paid.

Mitchell has been suspended from his $69,000-a-year county job, according to Preckwinkle's office.

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Papa John's Pizza founder John Schnatter made a delivery on a shareholder call last week that has Stephen Colbert hotter than a pizza oven.

Schnatter, who happens to be a Mitt Romney supporter, says that the Affordable Health Care Act provisions that force him to make sure all his employees are insured will add an additional 11 to 14 cents to the cost of his company's pies.

"We're not supportive of Obamacare, like most businesses in our industry. But our business model and unit economics are about as ideal as you can get for a food company to absorb Obamacare," he said. "If Obamacare is in fact not repealed, we will find tactics to shallow out any Obamacare costs and core strategies to pass that cost onto consumers in order to protect our shareholders best interests," Schnatter vowed according to a report in Politico.

Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) could be out of Mayo Clinic and back in Chicago in September. My column on Jackson returning to run for re-election--with interviews with his wife, Ald. Sandi Jackson (7th) and his father, the Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. is HERE.

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Ald. Walter Burnett in City Council. | Al Podgorski~Sun-Times file photo


It's hard to imagine anyone comparing Chicago aldermen to priests, considering the steady drumbeat of corruption that has sent 31 present and former aldermen to prison since the 1970's.

But, that's what Ald. Walter Burnett (27th) did this week during a candid discussion with students in the City Council chambers.

Despite the $73,280-a-year expense allowance and an annual salary of $114,913 for those who accept annual cost-of-living adjustments, Burnett candidly complained to the students about the abuse he has to take and the bile he has to swallow while dealing with angry constituents.

"I went to a block party Saturday [with] every next person I talked to asking me for something, complaining about something. You have to have a thick skull to deal with that," Burnett said, apparently intending to say skin--not skull.

House Speaker John Boehner is in Chicago and suburban Sugar Grove today to fund-raise for GOP Reps. Judy Biggert and Bob Dold. This triggered a robocall blitz against them from the Democratic Campaign Congressional Committee. Read my post with details about the DCCC moves HERE.

Read my other post about the Boehner funders HERE

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The Washington Post Political Cartoons blog features Rahm and the Chicago skyline in a Chick-fil-A controversy. Nick Anderson of the Houston Chronicle sees it as gay marriage vs free speech--or lack of it.

Time Out Chicago talks to a group of City Hall staffers in their twenties about working for Mayor Rahm Emanuel. The Rahm Six:
Mike Simmons, Ankur Thakkar, Caroline Weisser, Matt Fischler, Anna Valencia and Michael Faulman.

The New York Times on Rahm's problems with Chicago bike-sharing program.
Sun-Times City Hall Reporter Fran Spielman's post on Chicago's bike-sharing problems.




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Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis may be playing politicians on the big screen in "The Campaign," but do they know who's running in real life? Not according to this Entertainment Tonight interview, anyway.


Considering Ferrell has done his share of fundraising for President Obama, it's a safe bet he had the name on the tip of his tongue.


And with Galifianakis' recent feud with the powerful Republican-backing Koch brothers, even if he couldn't name Obama, he'd at least have an idea for what's it's like to be the president.


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WASHINGTON--President Barack Obama hits Chicago on Sunday for what now will be four events--with the latest add a fundraising reception at the Bridgeport Art Center, 1200 W. 35th.

As I scooped on July 19, Obama returns home for a high-end fund-raiser at his home at S. Greenwood--actually the event is in his yard, so no snooping in his medicine chest--with two related funders, a few blocks away at the home of pal Marty Nesbitt and his wife, Anita Blanchard and the home of Barbara Bowman, the mother of Obama Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett.

For details on the Obama Sunday visit, click HERE

House Speaker John Boehner headlines fund-raisers Thursday for two Republican Illinois House members with big races: Rep. Judy Biggert and Rep. Bob Dold.

My post with all the details is HERE.

Not scheduled for Boehner on Thursday: a local fund-raiser for Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.)

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Mayor Rahm Emanuel speaks to the media after visiting some technology companies in the 300 W. Adams building on Wednesday, August 8, 2012. | Brian Jackson~Sun-Times


Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Wednesday showcased three fast-growing technology companies in the West Loop, still riding high from the jobs coup that will bring 3,000 Motorola Mobility employees from Libertyville to Chicago's Merchandise Mart.

The mayor took a tour of three companies located in the same building at 300 West Adams that plan to hire as many as 200 new employees over the next 18 months.

Vibes Media is a mobile marketing and technology company. Ifbyphone bills itself as the leading voice-based marketing automation platform that helps companies manage phone calls coming in for sales and service as well as those generated by their websites.

Emmi Solutions was described as a health care pioneer, using new media to deliver information to patients so they can act on that information and, thereby, reduce costs incurred by health care providers.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Wednesday defended President Barack Obama, his former boss, against those who believe the President could and should do more to help stem gang violence in his adopted home town.

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AP file photo


The New York Times paints the picture of a Commander in Chief consumed each morning with checking news via the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times, among other outlets, as well as checking in on blogs, Twitter and other areas via his iPad.

From the Times' story on the president's media reading habits:

A writer before he was a politician, Mr. Obama is a voracious consumer of news, reading newspapers and magazines on his iPad and in print and dipping into blogs and Twitter. He regularly gives aides detailed descriptions of articles that he liked, and he can be thin-skinned about those that he does not.
He typically begins his day upstairs in the White House reading the major newspapers, including his hometown Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times, mostly on his iPad through apps rather than their Web sites. He also skims articles that aides e-mail to him, with the subject line stating the publication and the headline (like "WSJ: Moody's Downgrades Banks").
During the day, Mr. Obama reads newspapers on his iPad and print copies of magazines like The Economist and The New Yorker. On most Air Force One flights, he catches up on the news on his iPad.

Obama was famously addicted to his Blackberry when he first took office - to the point the Secret Service had to make special provisions for him to use his must-have device. No word on security for the iPad - nor what its Secret Service codename might be.

Teacher salaries are only "a piece" of the puzzle when it comes to attracting and retaining good teachers, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Wednesday, defending Chicago's decision to pay competitive salaries to start, but fall far short for veteran teachers.



Secretary of State Hillary Clinton got in the groove while on a diplomatic mission to South Africa on Tuesday. Lynn Sweet has the details on Clinton's festive visit.

Rahm defends bike-sharing delay

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Gabe Klein, commissioner of transportation, points to a bike lane while the mayor and Alderman Ariel Reboyras, 30rd Ward, watch passing bikers. At Malcolm X College, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announces the building of more than 30 miles of bicycle lanes in neighborhoods across Chicago this year. | Richard A. Chapman~Sun-Times

Chicagoans will have to wait until next spring to rent 3,000 bicycles from 300 stations because the city is determined to "do it right," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Wednesday.

"I'm not disappointed. We want to do it right. It's about planning and doing things in the right way and the correct way."

The Chicago Sun-Times reported earlier this week that Emanuel's plan to make Chicago the nation's most bike-friendly city had hit a pothole with the delay until next spring of a bike sharing program that was supposed debut this summer.

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The Kankakee Journal is reporting that former Illinois Gov. George Ryan will be finishing his sentence for corruption in about five months at a West Loop halfway house.


Ryan is serving a 6 1/2 year sentence in the federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind., on a corruption conviction. He's eligible for parole July 4, 2013, but has been trying to secure early release for several years, including his most recent failed bid Monday.


Lawyers for Ryan, who is nearing the end of his sentence, had argued last month that prosecutors had failed to prove he took bribes. But in a 16-page ruling issued Monday, the Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed, denying the 78-year-old Republican's appeal.


The Journal report says Ryan would be staying at the Salvation Army Freedom Center in the 100 block of South Ashland Avenue, though the Federal Bureau of Prisons refused to comment.

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Getty Images file photo


The New York Post, citing unnamed family sources, is reporting that the Rev. Jesse Jackson wants to keep his son in Congress, just not the same son.


The Post quotes the source as saying that Rev. Jackson wants to see son Jonathan, 46, run for the seat currently held by Jesse Jackson, Jr., who currently is at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., undergoing treatment for depression.


The source told the post the elder Jackson has assumed control of day-to-day operation of Jesse Jackson, Jr.'s office and is handling various duties, including media access.


"The Reverend and Mrs. Jackson have an agenda that may not be Jesse Jr.'s . . . return to Congress," one source speculated. "The reverend is getting older and less and less relevant and he wants his legacy to live on in his son Jonathan. He doesn't control Jesse Jr., who's very much his own guy. He thinks he'll have more weight with Jonathan in the position."


The Post reported that Jackson, Sr., denied the sources claims that he's grooming his son Jonathan to take over the seat.


Mayor Rahm Emanuel just updated his Wednesday schedule--and he will have a media availability at 11 a.m.

Wonder where Rahm was on Tuesday when he issued no public schedule? He was in Washington D.C. to bolster Obama fund-raising efforts.

Read my post on Rahm in Washington HERE.



Updated with react from Schneider campaign manager Reed Adamson..
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Democrat Brad Schneider survived a big March primary to clinch the 10th District nomination--leaving behind a trail of video of quotes--used against him Wednesday in a video by the Illinois Republican Party distributed by the National Republican Congressional Committee--the GOP House political shop. Schneider is in one of the most watched races in the nation, against freshman Rep. Bob Dold (R-Ill.)

The "accusation" and point in the video is that Schneider is a "progressive" Democrat--that's code for pushing out the notion that Schneider is supposedly too liberal for the north suburban 10th district--a hotbed of moderate politics.

For the record: Democrat Ilya Sheyman ran to the left of Schneider in the primary--and was the candidate who came out of the Democratic progressive movement.

From the NRCC: "Brad Schneider is in quite the pickle after running as an extreme progressive during his primary race. Illinois families need to know if Brad Schneider will double down on his extreme progressive values or do a 180 and run to the center in a lame attempt to placate voters." - NRCC Spokeswoman Katie Prill.

React from Adamson:

"Brad has been focused on fixing the Tea Party dysfunction in Congress and creating jobs and a strong future for all of our families since the day he announced this campaign. Unlike Congressman Robert Dold who keeps trying to play political games with his Tea Party record in Washington, Brad is proud of his positions of standing up for a woman's right to choose, marriage and workplace equality, and to protecting our natural resources like the Great Lakes. That's why NARAL, HRC, LCV, and Illinois firefighters, are all standing with Brad."

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Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan threw a fund-raiser Monday with a birthday theme--she turned 46 on July 30-- with the event at the 312 Restaurant, 136 N. LaSalle.


Madigan ran a tiered pricing system for the funder and made a pitch for corporate and political action committee backers to give major donations.


View the Madigan invite...Lisa_Birthday_Invite.pdf

The Madigan pricing:



  • $ 100 guest

  • $ 250 friends

  • $ 500 supporters

  • $1,000 host

  • $2,500 sponsor

  • $5,000 chair

  • $10,000 PAC/corporate patron

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Scott Olson/Getty Images. Full image gallery


Chicago Sun-Times reporter Dan Mihalopoulos
handled pool duty for Mitt Romney's Tuesday swing through the Chicago area. Below, the
report from a fund-raiser at Maggiano's on Grand, 516 N. Clark St.....


Romney spoke for about 14 minutes Tuesday afternoon to about 60
supporters from the hospitality industry who attended his fundraiser
at Maggiano's Little Italy restaurant in downtown Chicago. Tickets to
the event were $5,000, $25,000 and $50,000, aides to the candidate
said.


He was introduced by Toni Brinker, the widow of Norman Brinker -
founder of the Dallas-based company that owns the Maggiano's and
Chili's Grill & Bar restaurant chains.

Toni Brinker, who was Norman Brinker's fourth wife, lauded Romney as a
"great governor" with excellent leadership skills and "strong family
values."

Romney said that "hundreds of thousands of people" in the hospitality
industry owe their jobs to the "individual industry, risk taking,
entrepreneurship" of the supporters in the room.


Romney said he was "increasingly impressed by the impact of one
person." He cited Lech Walesa, whom he met recently in Poland, as well
as Rosa Parks and "the fellow from Tunisia" who lit himself on fire in
protest and inspired the Arab Spring revolutions in the Middle East.

Mitt visits Harry Caray's

AP photo by Charles Dharapak


Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney hit Chicago and the suburbs Tuesday to continue raking in campaign cash.


After an event at Acme Industries in Elk Grove Village, where he talked welfare reform, Romney's motorcade headed downtown for a lunch roundtable targeted to manufacturers at Harry Caray's. Tickets for the Harry Caray's event were priced from $10,000 to $75,800 and Romney's campaign was aiming for a total $2 million haul for the warchest, reports Dan Mihalopoulos.


"There are the glasses, the famous glasses," Romney told Dutchie Caray. "Your husband -- what a guy. I sure miss him."

Updated

Mihalopoulos pool report from Harry Caray's below....