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Sweet Column: Nutty. al-Jezeera and Duckworth.


Republican House hopeful Peter Roskam is blaming Democratic rival Tammy Duckworth for something she had absolutely no control over -- coverage of their race by al-Jazeera.

(blog comment feature is fixed and OPEN for business.)

The Arab-language news organization is controversial, as it is the outlet of choice for tapes of Osama bin Laden.

But it also does more routine news, has an English language Web site and is beefing up its U.S. operation. An al-Jazeera crew covered a Roskam-Duckworth debate in DuPage County.

"An odd thing happened in the only public debate between my opponent and me," a Roskam fund-raising letter said. "Al-Jazeera showed up. . . . Now, why do they care who wins the election?"

This 6th District House race is one of the hottest in the country. It has drawn the attention of the international press in large part because of the Duckworth narrative -- a wounded Iraq war vet who lost her legs is running as a Democrat and is a critic of the Iraq war. Duckworth might have attracted the foreign press corps even if she ran as a Republican.

I went to a Duckworth event in Mount Prospect on Thursday. She was in a skirt, hobbling around on her fake legs, one of which sports an American flag decal. A few of the TV cameramen were crouched on the floor to make sure they got the shot of Duckworth's prosthetic legs.

In past months, journalists from Canada, Denmark, England, Germany, Japan, Sweden, France, among others, have traveled to the western suburbs.

It's not a mystery why al-Jazeera showed up at the College of DuPage. The race offers foreign journalists a snapshot into the U.S. in a district that is conveniently located next to O'Hare Airport.

This race is ending as it began -- on the Iraq war. It's been nationalized almost from the start. Republicans have been trying to portray Democrats as soft on national security.

The Illinois Republican Party is paying for scary direct-mail pieces going into the 6th District with a picture of bin Laden and a blast against Democrats.

Thanks, Denny
House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert is giving saturation coverage to his little-known Democratic opponent, John Laesch.

Laesch got a boomlet of exposure when the Mark Foley page sex scandal hit in late September, ensnaring the Hastert operation over what his team knew and when they knew it.

But instead of doing all positive messaging -- a usual strategy to wind up a frontrunner's campaign -- Hastert is running radio spots replete with mentions of how Laesch "just doesn't share our values. Denny Hastert does.''

Lots of name ID for the long shot.

Help for a South Side expat
Sen. Barack Obama is spending the weekend in the major electoral battlegrounds -- Pennsylvania, Ohio and Tennessee.

Friday night, Obama was campaigning again for Deval Patrick, the Democrat running for governor of Massachusetts.

Patrick grew up on Chicago's South Side and left on a scholarship to an elite prep school -- which set him on a path to Harvard. He never came back.

If Patrick wins, he will be the first African-American governor of Massachusetts.

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When you had written "Its not a mystery why al-Jazeera showed up at the College of DuPage. . . conveniently next to O'Hare" its seems you had not solved the mystery at all. I'm not sure how many of these columns you need to post on a daily, weekly basis but in any event its apparant not much research or thought was put into this one. If you had you might understand why it is terrorists are keeping a close eye on this election. To see Democrats win. One example, the US Cole bombing. What was done by Clinton? Exactly.

Brad B

It also would be a win for you surrender monkeys. Damn traitors that's what you are.


Hammond, IN

al Jazeera wants the duck to win - they want all Democrats to win... how else will terrorism survive?
Jack H
Chicago, iL

The Barack Obama scandal. I ( have a question that has yet to be asked.

Since my blog was the first to report on the huge pay hike Michelle Obama received from not-for-profit The University of Chicago Hospitals, the luster has started to come off golden boy, U.S. Senator Barack Obama.
Regular readers will recall, that I reported that her income from this very profitable price gouging not for profit hospital had increased to over $300,000 a year, about the same time as the picture of Senator Obama was removed from the website of the Service Employees Union.

Under that picture of an outraged looking politician was a quote where Obama said "Hospitals terrorize the uninsured".

I have wondered whether the raise had anything to do with the disappearance of both his picture and his outrage.

Well there is a lot happening since I first broke that story.

An investigation has uncovered embarrasing information that the the same day he closed on a million dollars plus mansion at a greatly reduced price, a shady character (Tony Rezko who has since been indicted) closed on the lot next door at full price. This has led to critical columns, an unfavorable editorial, and Obama's explanation, to the friendliest newspaper outlet he could find--one that was alerted to my original story, but passed.

But buried in his so called apology/explanation is a question in my suspicious mind, that begs to be asked.

Since he bought this million dollar plus mansion from a doctor who worked at the University of Chicago Hospital, did the hospital play any role in making sure he got it at a huge discount from what the asking price was?

Why isn't anyone in the main stream media following up on whether the fact that he purchased this mansion at a greatly reduced price from a doctor employed at the hospital that has given his wife a big raise is a coinkydink (a word that the author of Capitol Fax has made popular) or is it another way the hospital is buying his support?

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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 November 5, 2006 12:47 PM.

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