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Hastert returns, on a limited basis, to the campaign trail.


He's back in the saddle.

((Sweet blog readers.....the comment feature is down again....has been for goes on and please keep trying....))

October was supposed to be a busy campaign month for House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) He had some 30 stump stops on his schedule. Most of his cross country travel was curtailed because of the Mark Foley page scandal. At issue is whether Hastert and his top staffers knew about Foley in November, 2005--or if some of his aides got a heads up years earlier. Last week Hastert and company testified before the House ethics panel.

Regarding his political travel--either Hastert did not want to go someplace, fearing his presence would hurt Republicans more than help--or a candidate did not want him.

Hastert this week left Illinois to travel to safe GOP territory. On Monday, he was in Oklahoma City and Richardson, Texas to help House candidates. He overnighted in Arizona and today, Tuesday, Hastert is headlining a lunch in Tucson for another House contender.


People in the 14th Congressional District are in for a rude awakening if they think they can reelect Hastert and return to business as ususual. As Sweet reports, Hatert is either going to step or be pushed aside as the GOP tries to regroup. For Hastert, that means being relegated to a position of irrelevance, unable to wield any clout, unable to help any fellow Republicans, and certainly unable to lavish any porkbarrel projects on his district. Add to that his medical problems (The New York Times reports Hastert may be diabetic) and the fact he's not out of the woods yet on the Abramoff scandal and the Mark Foley mess, and what you have is impotent representation for the people of the 14th Congressional District, and no real plan for the future.

With respect to the campaign travel mentioned in Ms Sweet's article in Richardson, Texax, I wanted to point out that the presence of Speaker Hastert in Richardson, Texas was not at all to aid the long-term incumbent, Sam Johnson, whose luncheon Hastert attended. No, it was an attempt to bolster Hastert's image by surrounding him with strong republicans who can afford the political costs associated with being seen with him these days. However, this opportunity for positive,political image building was deflected as a result of a demonstration held by local parents of children with Autism. The Combating Autism Act was passed unanimously by the US senate and now resides in the House Committee on Housing and Energy, stalled because of Chairman Joe Barton's - Rep. Texas - refusal to release the bill for an up or down vote. He steadfastly refuses to do so despite the fact that the bill has the support of over 228 representatives in the House. The parents came to ask Speaker Hastert to speak up for these children and force the bill for a vote in the house. Speaker has the ability to do so, and instead of demonstrating to the country that he is, indeed, in favor of helping and protecting children, he remained silent on this issue and continues to do so. It is unimaginable how anyone can be against this act if they truly feel a moral obligation to help these children and if they have an ounce of compassion. Hastert's silence only demonstrates that he is willing to allow Barton to hold these children hostage for the own political or personal gain.

Please remember that the medical community and the scientific community are VERY POLITICAL. WBR LeoP

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on October 31, 2006 11:31 AM.

Bush: Pressing for international force in Darfur was the previous entry in this blog.

Former Sen. Peter Fitzgerald's tell all: The Patrick Fitzgerald untold story. is the next entry in this blog.

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