Chicago Sun-Times
The scoop from Washington

John Kerry taunts Hastert: ``Too late now, Denny.'' Raising money for Hastert Dem rival. Bush in Chicago with Hastert. Foley fallout. Shimkus to tell all to ethics panel Friday.


With President Bush in Chicago Thursday to raise money for GOP House candidates Peter Roskam and David McSweeney--appearing with embattled House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.)---Sen. John Kerry used the occasion to fundraise for Hastert's Democratic opponent, John Laesch.

In an e-mail to his potent three-million name list of supporters, Kerry, the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee, taunted the speaker, under fire for being slow to act in the Mark Foley cyberspace page sex scandal.

Laesch, a former Navy intelligence officer, got on Kerry's radar as a result of the Foley fallout. Laesch is a longshot in the heavily GOP district.

Taunted Kerry in his e-mail, `` Too late now, Denny. We've had enough. That's why we've added John Laesch, your Democratic opponent and a former Navy intelligence analyst, to our October slate of veterans running for Congress.

The tally, as of midnight, was $9,912 from Kerry for Laesch, according to David Lulkin
Fundraiser, John Laesch for Congress.

*Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.), the chairman of the House page board, will provide sworn testimony Friday to the House ethics committee. He flew back to Washington from his Collinsville home on Thursday.

Shimkus will be accompanied by his Washington D.C.-based attorney, Barry Pollock with the firm Kelley Drye & Warren LLP .Shimkus played a limited, but critical role in the Foley scandal. Last November he went to Foley to tell him to stop contacting a page--and to cut out any contacts with pages. Shimkus spokesman Steve Tomaszewski told the Sun-Times that Shimkus is testifying voluntarily and ``welcomes'' the opportunity to ``resolve this conflict.''

Shimkus was sent to talk to Foley on a mission from Hastert's office. An issue is whether Hastert chief of staff Scott Palmer--who is from Aurora--was told years ago of a Foley problem; that's the accusation of former Foley chief of staff Kirk Fordham. Fordham testified before the House ethics panel on Thursday.

Palmer--who has not surfaced publically since the Foley story broke at the end of September--said in a statement that what Fordham asserted ``never happened.'' This entire episode has caused a rift between Shimkus and Hastert; Shimkus may have been blindsided. Shimkus went to talk to Foley with fomer clerk Jeff Trandahl--who is also accused of having known about Foley's overly friendly interest in pages.
(for more on Hastert/Shimkus friction click here

In a statement, Democrats went after Shimkus on Thursday:
Congressman Shimkus still doesn't get it," said Democratic National Committee spokesman Damien LaVera. "Parents in Illinois and across the country are fed up with the double-talk and finger pointing and want the Republican leadership to put politics aside and put our children first. That means standing up and taking responsibility for their actions. By insisting he would do everything exactly the same, Congressman Shimkus demonstrated why you cannot trust the Republican leadership in Washington. Democrats are offering a new direction for America that includes a return to honesty, accountability and ethics in Washington."

*6TH cd latest
Dem Tammy Duckworth and GOP state Sen. Peter Roskam (R-Wheaton) debated Thursday night. Here's the political backdrop. Duckworth may be making inroads into what was seen as a safe GOP district as long as retiring Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Ill.) was in the seat.
The Democratic Campaign Congressional Committee, chaired by Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) released a summary of a poll taken for Duckworth, not the poll itself. The poll, by Dem pollsters Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research (who also poll for Emanuel and Mayor Daley) Put Duckworth at 51 percent to Roskam at 46 percent.

And in an Illinois welcome to Bush, the polling summary provided by the DCCC concludes `` Only 34% of voters in Illinois’ 6th district think that the country is going on the right track, while 57% say we’re headed down the wrong track and only 21% give President Bush a positive rating for the job he is doing.'' [ 409 voters; October 8-9; margin of error 5%

Meanwhile, Roskam is poised to launch a negative ad blitz against Duckworth. The Sun-Times has learned that the Republican National Committee and the Roskam campaign is planning to spend about $1.5 million in tv spots between now and Oct 23. Duckworth has reserved about $700,000 in time for the same period. She can’t count on the DNC to have the cash to funnel to her for the same boost. (This a source of friction between Emanuel and Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean.)


this release from kerry.....

Kerry Takes Aim at Hastert; Raises Money for John Laesch, Veteran Candidates in National Fundraising Appeal

Today, Senator John Kerry emailed his national 3 million person email list to raise money for John Laesch, running against House Speaker Denny Hastert, and four other veteran candidates, including Patrick Murphy in Pennsylvania, Leonard Boswell in Iowa, Lee Ballenger in South Carolina and Colonel Mike Weaver in Kentucky.

Below is a copy of the email:

Dear Friend,

It's like a meeting of the "no accountability" caucus of the Republican Party. Tonight in Chicago, George W. Bush and House Speaker Denny Hastert will appear side-by-side campaigning for Republican candidates.

And, if you think Republicans can't dance, wait until you see 2006 candidates waltz away from the dreaded prospect of being caught in a photo op between the President and the Speaker of the House.

"Woulda. Shoulda. Coulda."

That was Denny Hastert's instinctive response to questions about why the Republican leadership hadn't done more to protect young congressional pages in the Mark Foley scandal. Those are the words of a politician and a party who have made a habit of ignoring the facts, ducking responsibility, and avoiding accountability.

Woulda stopped the corruption of Tom DeLay, Jack Abramoff, and Duke Cunningham. Coulda forced President Bush to abandon his destructive "stay the course" policy in Iraq. Shoulda cared about something other than cynically holding onto power.

Too late now, Denny. We've had enough. That's why we've added John Laesch, your Democratic opponent and a former Navy intelligence analyst, to our October slate of veterans running for Congress.

Rush a contribution to our veteran candidates right now.

What better way to respond to the Bush-Hastert get-together in Chicago than rushing contributions to five veterans running in races that can finally break the Republican grip on power. This isn't the October Denny Hastert and George Bush had in mind.

They thought they'd have Democratic candidates on the run... burying our hopes in an avalanche of special interest money... stealing our momentum with bogus "soft on terrorism" charges.

Speaker Hastert was planning a victory march from one congressional district to another. That's until one Republican candidate after another begged him to stay home and not bring the debate about his shameful failures of leadership into their races.

Now, with your help, John Laesch can bring that debate into Hastert's own congressional race. Make Denny Hastert explain himself to the people of Illinois' 14th District. And help our four other veterans running in some of the closest, must-win races in the country.

Rush a contribution to our veteran candidates right now.

Don't just support John Laesch's run against Hastert. Tell Patrick Murphy in Pennsylvania that you won't tolerate Republican attempts to "swift-boat" him by disparaging his service to our country.

Tell Leonard Boswell in Iowa that you won't let him be thrown off course by hundreds of thousands of dollars in ads funded by the Texas millionaire who was behind the Republicans' 2004 "swift-boat" attack strategy.

Help Lee Ballenger in South Carolina stand up to the flood of special interest money pouring into his opponent's campaign from powerful oil and gas interests. And help Colonel Mike Weaver continue his surge in Kentucky with a campaign that tells the truth about the Bush fiasco in Iraq.

Rush a contribution to our veteran candidates right now.

Denny Hastert has been the longest-running Republican speaker in history. But in 25 days, we can take the gavel out of his hands -- and the smirk off George W. Bush's face. Don't back down. Don't stop working.

Rush your support now to as many of our five veteran candidates as you possibly can.

Together we'll win.

John Kerry


John Kerry has always lacked class, thats why he lost badly in 2004. He lacks class now and the Democrats are having another Wellstone memorial moment. If they do win the house and Pelosi is made national with her wacko SF leftwing agenda. Then in the next election the Democommies will lose 50 seats.

John Kerry has spent his entire adult life serving others - from his military service to his service in the Senate. Kerry is the reason we have laws that allow us to go after terrorist funding. He has steadfastly defended our Constitution and way of life. Your ignorant cheap shots ternish only your own reputation.

Kerry is part of what makes America great - one of those who "asks not what your country can do for you, but rather what you can do for your country." America is proud to count John Kerry among its loyal servants.

Your ignorant cheap shots ternish only your own reputation. maybe it was ignorant but atleast I know how to spell. Kerry is a selfish classless idiot, who embraced the flag when it was convenient for him, he burned it when it was convenient for him. His wife is a classless moron too. I served in the sme time as he did, and everyone I keep in touch with agreed w/ the swift vets not Kerry. He is a shameful figure and a member of the anti american left.

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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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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on October 12, 2006 4:25 PM.

Sweet Column (encore): First look at new Obama book. Dems ``confused,'' he writes. was the previous entry in this blog.

Bush: Gives verbal hug to embattled Hastert in Chicago. Plugs Emanuel challenger. is the next entry in this blog.

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