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May 2007 Archives

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan won a legal victory on Thursday when a Cook County Circuit Court judge upheld a bid her office made to strip former Gov. George Ryan of his pension following his conviction on corruption charges.

Ryan has not yet started serving his sentence.

For the Madigan release, click below...

WASHINGTON--Michelle Obama's mother, Marian Robinson, starts on the surrogate circuit this Saturday when she stumps for her son-in-law, Democratic White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), in New Hampshire at a women-for-Obama event.

for the latest Obama public schedule ( including only campaign-selected fund-raising events), click below.

The debate over overhauling the health-care system is newly invigorated because the three 2008 Democratic front-runners -- Barack Obama, Hillary Rodham Clinton and John Edwards -- are making it a priority issue.

WASHINGTON--Screen star and former Sen. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.) is going to run for president, a source who will be associated with his campaign told me Wednesday.

WASHINGTON -- Democratic White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) unveiled his long-awaited health care plan on Tuesday, promising that everyone will be able to buy affordable health insurance and that people now covered will pay less. Employers would keep their insurance expenses down because the federal government would pay for the most costly cases.

WASHINGTON--Democratic White House hopeful Barack Obama, courting national press, talks about the food he likes on the campaign trail--green tea and trail mix--and his dreams during an "On the Trail" interview that ran Tuesday morning on NBC's "Today Show" and taped during his Memorial Day visit to New Hampshire.

to see the interview, click to and then hit the Obama picture.

And what does Obama dream?

click below....

WASHINGTON--White House hopeful Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) in a New Hampshire speech on Tuesday, called for ending tax breaks for big oil and gas firms and U.S. firms sending jobs overseas and allowing the government to negotiate Medicare drug prices.

For Clinton proposals, click below

WASHINGTON--Bob Kjellander, the sometimes controversal Illinois Republican, will be the vice chairman of the 2008 Republican National Convention, to be held in Minneapolis/Saint Paul.

WASHINGTON--President Bush on Tuesday called for tighter economic sanctions on the Sudanese government in the wake of their refusal to take steps to stop the genocide in the Darfur region. More than 30 companies owned or controlled by the Sudan government now will be barred from doing business with the U.S.--either corporations or individuals.

Bush is also seeking an expanded embargo on weapons sales and limiting the ability of the Sudan military to fly over Darfur. This is the latest in a series of Bush administration moves to try to end the conflict.

"And I promise this to the people of Darfur: The United States will not avert our eyes from a crisis that challenges the conscience of the world," Bush said.

click below for fact sheet and transcript. plus statement from the "Save Darfur" coalition.....

WASHINGTON--White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) wants to create a new health federal-backed health insurance program--and to expand Medicaid, the state-federal program providing health coverage for the medically needy.

Obama also wants to provide alternatives to the current system, where most individuals can obtain health insurance only through their employers. If an employer does not offer insurance, the company (except for some small business) must help pay for the purchase of private insurance. All these are elements towards Obama's goals of providing health coverage to all the uninsured in the U.S. One Obama proposal calls for insurance companies to let parents carry their children on their plans longer--up to the age of 25.

Obama unveils his long-awaited health plan Tuesday morning in at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. Democrats don't differ much in calling for covering the estimated 45 million uninsured in the U.S. It's how to get there--to universal coverage--that will be part of the presidential debate.

Last week, chief rival Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) in Washington offered the first elements of her proposal, dealing with containing and lowering costs. Both candidates called for investing more in electronic medical records systems, lowering drug costs by allowing imports from some--not all--approved countries and by investing more in preventive medicine.

In 1993 and 1994 Clinton was scorched when, as First Lady, she failed to sell Congress on a comprehensive overhaul of the health insurance system. Since then, the climate has changed, as corporations are looking for ways to reduce costs.

"We now face an opportunity--and an obligation--to turn the page on the failed politics of yesterday's health care debates," Obama said in speech excerpts released by his campaign after an embargo was broken.

click below for Obama's "fact sheet" on his health plan and other material and the text of Clinton's May 24 speech at George Washington University on lowering health care costs.

WASHINGTON -- The unintended byproduct of Illinois moving up its primary to boost White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is putting the state in major play for the GOP presidential candidates.

AUG. 17

WASHINGTON -- Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs chief Tammy Duckworth told the Chicago Sun-Times she is considering a second run for Congress, torn this Memorial Day weekend over whether she can do more good for vets in her current post or in the House.

WASHINGTON---After simmering for months over Gov. Blagojevich's inaction, the two Illinois senators and nine of the 19 House members on Friday unloaded on the governor for risking $6.1 billion in federal money for Illinois transportation projects.

At issue is the need for the state to come up with more than $1 billion in order to trigger the release of the $6.1 billion. The money was part of a big transportation bill Congress passed during the last session, when Rep. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) was the speaker.

Blagojevich has been in no hurry to come up with the state match. The theory, perhaps, is that the state should not automatically be obliged to all these expensive projects just because the federal goverment is willing to send in a down payment. These projects, perhaps, could also be held hostage by the governor and used as negotiating fodder.

Anyway, time is running out, the lawmakers said in the letter sent to Blagojevich and the four top state legislative leaders.

"If the State of Illinois does not enact a capital bill and provide the non-federal match this year, as much as $6.1 billion in federal funding could be at risk," the letter said.

to read the letter, click below

WASHINGTON--Previewing a general election race, GOP White House hopeful Sen. John McCain (R-Az.) went after Democratic presidential front-runners Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) by name on Friday for voting against an Iraq war funding bill.

"I was very disappointed to see Senator Obama and Senator Clinton embrace the policy of surrender by voting against funds to support our brave men and women fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan," McCain said in a statement.

In reply to criticism over the no vote from McCain and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, also in the GOP primary, Obama said in a statement, "Governor Romney and Senator McCain are still supporting a war that has
cost us thousands of lives, made us less safe in the world, and resulted in a resurgence of al-Qaeda.''

Obama and Clinton were under pressure from the anti-war left--a potential critical component in a Democratic primary--to vote against the spending bill. McCain did not bother to mention Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Ct.) who is also in the Democratic 2008 primary and voted no. Rival former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) said he would have voted no. Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.), also making a bid, voted yes.

McCain also did not note one of his rivals--Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Ks.), who stayed on the fence--he simply did not vote on the measure when it came up on Thursday night. Fence-sitters face tough times in primaries where activists want to know where candidates stand.

click below for McCain and Obama statements..

WASHINGTON--Eight of nine Illinois House members voted for the Iraq supplemental funding bill on Thursday. One GOP member did not vote. Three Illinois Democratic lawmakers voted yes. Seven Illinois Democrats voted no.

for complete roll call, click below

WASHINGTON--Three of the four Democratic senators running for president voted against the Iraq war funding bill Thursday night--Barack Obama, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Chris Dodd. The fourth hopeful, Joe Biden, voted yes.

Clinton and Obama had been getting pressure from the anti-war left to vote no.

The two top Senate Democrats, Harry Reid and Dick Durbin, voted yes.

Obama and Durbin rarely are divided on major votes.

for the roll call, click below...

WASHINGTON--President Bush at a Rose Garden press conference on Thursday insists he is credible when it comes to the war.

Q Mr. President, after the mistakes that have been made in this war, when you do as you did yesterday, where you raised two-year-old intelligence, talking about the threat posed by al Qaeda, it's met with increasing skepticism. The majority in the public, a growing number of Republicans, appear not to trust you any longer to be able to carry out this policy successfully. Can you explain why you believe you're still a credible messenger on the war?

THE PRESIDENT: I'm credible because I read the intelligence, David, and make it abundantly clear in plain terms that if we let up, we'll be attacked. And I firmly believe that.

for transcript of entire press conference, click below.

Three pending major issues in Congress -- Iraq war funding, an immigration overhaul and tougher ethics rules -- are demonstrating the limits to the power of the Democratic House and Senate leaders and exposing rifts within the ranks.

WASHINGTON -- Former House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) will decide in a few weeks if he is going to seek another term, the Sun-Times has learned.

Hastert, 65, is considering retiring, said chief of staff Mike Stokke. "I think that is a possibility," Stokke said.

WASHINGTON-- Democratic presidential primary rivals have to confront the reality of an imperfect Iraq war bill. Democrats control Congress but don't have a veto-proof majority. The Iraq war bill up for a vote will not have the timetable Democrats demanded for pulling U.S. troops out of Iraq. Democrats on the left are outraged that Democrats compromised and will not force a second veto by President Bush of a funding bill.

It's not known yet what Democratic frontrunners Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) will do.

Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Ct.) will vote no. Former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) would oppose the bill if he were in the Senate.

Dodd went after Obama and Clinton by name in a new television spot dealing with the war and the environment. "Chris Dodd has been challenging the other candidates to support the Feingold-Reid-Dodd amendment to end our involvement in Iraq's civil war. It worked. Now Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have changed their positions to follow Chris Dodd," the spot says, referring to legislation cutting off funds for the Iraq war.

Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) will vote yes.

WASHINGTON--The Illinois GOP presidential primary is wide open--no Republican has a lock in the Land of Lincoln.

Republican White House hopeful Mitt Romney has a running start, with backing from an assortment of Illinois GOP heavyweights, including former Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) Romney on Wednesday tapped state Sen. Dan Rutherford (R-Pontiac) to chair his Illinois campaign.

WASHINGTON---Health care is to be a centerpiece issue for the White House bid of Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) . Next week, Obama talks health care in Iowa City and then heads west.

This weekend Obama, Michelle and the kids stump in New Hampshire.

WASHINGTON — Michelle Obama resigned Tuesday from the board of TreeHouse Foods Inc., a Wal-Mart vendor, eight days after husband and White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) said he would not shop at the anti-union store.

For the record . . .

Dissecting the explanation of White House hopeful Barack Obama for dealing with the shady Tony Rezko; his dealings with Springfield lobbyists; Sudan divestment; and how a fan blew Michelle Obama's cover in Kentucky.

click below.....

WASHINGTON--If the Democrats in 2008 win Ohio or Florida and keep the rest of the states John Kerry won in 2004, they get the keys to the White House. This new poll Ohio from Quinnipiac University shows the potential of former Sen. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.)

Tot Men Wom

Biden 1% 2% 1%
Clark - - -
Clinton 38 32 42
Dodd - - -
Edwards 11 13 9
Gore 10 9 11
Gravel - - -
Kucinich 2 4 1
Obama 19 21 18
Richardson 2 4 -

for the entire Ohio poll, click below...

TRENTON, N.J. -- He won't shop at Wal-Mart. He is for a law making it easier for people to join unions. If president, his appointees would be "sympathetic" to labor. He said he walked picket lines while a state senator.

WASHINGTON -- Democratic White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama was pressed on why, when he was running for the Senate in 2003, he opposed extra funding for the Iraq war, yet voted for supplemental spending bills bankrolling the war once in office, in an interview broadcast Sunday.

WASHINGTON--Democratic White House hopeful Barack Obama has at least three fund-raisers on Monday plus picks up the backing of Newark Mayor Cory Booker and appears before the AFL-CIO in Trenton in a town hall meeting that is a run-up to its August meeting in Chicago to decide on an endorsement.

According to New Jersey publications, Obama will fund-raise in Jersey City, Montclair and Princeton.

Click below for the latest Barack and Michelle Obama Public Schedule plus cities where they will be making fund-raising or closed-press appearences--Monday, May 14 – Saturday, May 19


for the transcript, click below...

WASHINGTON--Michelle Obama, wife of Democratic White House hopeful Barack Oback, hits Florida this week to keynote fund-raisers for her husband. Her campaign schedule is ramping up to the point where she is further reducing her hours at the University of Chicago hospitals. Leaving her job for the campaign trail is "Imminent," her spokesman said.

Meanwhile, an AP story out of Hawaii reports that his half-sister Maya Soetoro-Ng is now on the stump for half-brother.

WASHINGTON--The roll call of the Illinois delegation on two Iraq war bills--on pulling out U.S. soldiers from Iraq within nine months and on paying for military operations in Iraq in two installments.

WASHINGTON — Michelle Obama, wife of White House hopeful Barack Obama, sent out her first direct fund-raising letter earlier this month for his campaign, casting herself in the role of being the person in the life of the Illinois senator who cheerfully knocks him off his pedestal to remind him of his chores.

The inner circle of foreign policy experts advising Sen. Barack Obama is small but influential. If he is elected president, his secretary of state and national security advisers may come from this group.

The inner circle of foreign policy experts advising Sen. Barack Obama is small but influential. If he is elected president, his secretary of state and national security advisers may come from this group.

WASHINGTON--As House Democrats wrestle with finding a compromise on Iraq war funding, Democratic White House candidate former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) just issued a shot at his own: that the deal they are proposing is a sell-out.

WASHINGTON--The latest public schedule from the Barack Obama campaign. Not included is this: Obama will be the guest on Sunday's ABC News "This Week" hosted by George Stephanopoulos.

ABC is asking people to send in questions for Obama

This from ABC...
"Welcome to the Be Seen, Be Heard Campaign 2008 Headquarters! We want you to talk to the candidates and voice your opinion. Use your webcam, cell cam or camcorder to record your question for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. George Stephanopoulos may choose your question and put it to Mr. Obama in his interview. Talk back to the candidates and send your VIDEO to be part of ABC News' campaign coverage!
Upload your video below or send your cell phone video to us at

RICHMOND, Va. — White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), in the midst of a rousing stemwinder Tuesday night, vastly over-stated the number of people — 10,000, not 11 — who died in the tornado that hit Kansas last week.

WASHINGTON--Here;s the guest list for the Monday state dinner for Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. East room entertainers will be famed violinist Itzhak Perlman and the U.S. Army Chorus.There's a second guest list for people invited for a reception with entertainment before the state dinner.

from the White House kitchen....


Spring Pea Soup with Fernleaf Lavender

Chive Pizzelle with American Caviar

Newton Chardonnay “Unfiltered” 2004

Dover Sole Almondine

Roasted Artichokes, Pequillo Peppers and Olives

Saddle of Spring Lamb

Chanterelle Sauce

Fricassee of Baby Vegetables

Peter Michael “Les Pavots” 2003

Arugula, Savannah Mustard

and Mint Romaine

Champagne Dressing and Trio of Farmhouse Cheeses

“Rose Blossoms”

Schramsberg Brut Roseì 2004

# # #

for guest lists, click below...

In Detroit, White House hopeful Barack Obama on Monday issued his energy plans, embracing some policies already in place in California....

For Obama proposal and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger statement, click below for details...

WASHINGTON--Democratic White House hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton hit Chicago Sunday nght and Monday to headline a benefit for the Mercy Home for boys and girls, stroke big-time donors and fund-raisers and take part in a Democratic Leadership Conference event.

A lawyers' fund-raiser in Chicago on the calendar for Monday afternoon was moved to next week because Clinton had to fly back to the Capitol for votes. On Sunday evening, Clinton guested at a general reception for her major donors--members of her finance committee-- designed to rally the troops.

On Monday morning, Clinton breakfasted with Mayor Daley at the Palmer House. At an availability with reporters later Clinton said--in a reference to Daley backing her chief rival, Barack Obama, "I appreciate the political decision he made, but as I told him -- as I told my friends in Chicago -- I intend to be the president of the entire country, and I intend being a good partner for Chicago.''

After meeting with Daley, Clinton did a "meet and greet" with trial lawyers. The DLC invite asked people to join Clinton for "Coffee and Conversation'' as part of the centrist groups' "ideas primary." The DLC event, where she spoke and took questions, was hosted by Lou Weisbach, who got to know the New York senator while she was First Lady and he was a major Democratic fund-raiser and donor.

After that, Clinton spoke to a group of African-American clergy, arranged by the Rev. James Demus.

Rival John Edwards hits Chicago on Wednesday to deliver a speech for Women Employed.

for details, click below...

WASHINGTON--For details of the White House visit of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, click below.....

WASHINGTON--The latest public schedule from the Barack Obama presidential campaign for the Illinois senator and his wife, Michelle.

SANTA MONICA, Calif. -- Joe Anthony, at the center of a raging debate over the role of netroots volunteers in Barack Obama's presidential bid, said Sunday his once ardent support for him is shaken as a result of the Obama campaign taking over the Obama MySpace page Anthony created.

"I am not as staunch a supporter like I was in the beginning," he told me.

SANTA MONICA, CALIF. -- When Barack Obama's White House campaign learned last week the candidate would get Secret Service protection, "one of the first questions," said spokesman Robert Gibbs, was whether they could provide "a flexible fuel car."

Fact Sheet from the White House on the State Visit by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain and His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

SIMI VALLEY, CALIF. ---Democratic White House hopeful Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is on the campaign trail or in Washington most of the week. Every few days his Chicago-based presidential campaign releases portions of his political schedue. As a new service, the Sweet blog will post the Obama public schedule.

SIMI VALLEY, CALIF. -- The Iraq war dominated much of the first GOP presidential debate Thursday, with front-runners Rudy Giuliani, John McCain and Mitt Romney battling for the legacy of Ronald Reagan at the library where he is buried.

On the contentious issue of abortion -- where many simply want to know where a candidate stands -- the debate perhaps created a problem for Giuliani while Romney got a chance to explain why he switched sides.

Two women who broke glass ceilings -- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and former Rep. Geraldine Ferraro (D-N.Y.) -- speak today at a fund-raiser in Chicago for Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) called the "Ultimate Women's Power Lunch."

Pelosi is expected to speak about negotiations with the White House over the stalemated Iraq war funding bill.

SIMI VALLEY, CALIF. -- Early last Friday morning, Democratic White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), dressed in a T-shirt and sweat pants, entered an elevator in a Columbia, S.C., hotel heading toward the fitness center.

With him were two men in suits, employees of Global Security Services LLC, the private Severna Park, Md., firm hired by Obama's campaign to provide him with security.

SIMI VALLEY, CALIF.--The first GOP presidential debate at the Ronald Reagan presidential library on Thursday served to put the always contentious issue of abortion on center stage. Staking out an abortion rights stance is problematical in a Republican primary election.

The 10-man field all said they wanted to repeal the Supreme Court landmark Roe v Wade. Former New York Mayor Giuliani, heretofore regarded as backing abortion rights, surprisingly was for repeal, leaving it for states to decide. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, seen as a flip-flopper on the question of abortion explained why he changed his mind. "I won't apologize to anybody for becoming pro-life."

NARAL immediately jumped all over the GOP contenders.

for transcript of abortion portion of the debate and the NARAL statement, click below....

SIMI VALLEY, CALIF.---In a few minutes, the first GOP presidential debate starts here on the beautiful grounds of the Ronald Reagan presidential library.There are ten contenders here for the 90-minute session.

SIMI VALLEY, CALIF.--The Secret Service on Thursday started 24-hour, seven-day-a-week protection of White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D=Ill.)

The Secret Service detail replaces the plain-clothes, private security guards who have been traveling with Obama since he started his run for president earlier this year.

CHICAGO--Democratic White House hopeful Barack Obama has state directors and paid staff in the early primary and caucus states of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada. Based in his national campaign headquarters on Michigan Avenue in Chicago -- the home office for Camp Obama -- Obama is building a separate political operation in Illinois.

CHICAGO--The 2008 White House campaign is the first to be run in what internet chronicler Micah Sifry calls the "Connected Age."

Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama is making extensive use of social networking tools in his campaign, which has a "new media" department based at the Chicago headquarters. The Obama campaign is also encouraging netroot activists to rally support for Obama and organize on their own.

Click below for a story about what happened between the campaign professionals and an independent activist.


Obama Statement on the fourth anniversary of the Bush "Mission Accomplished” speech.

Statement of Hillary Clinton on the fourth Anniversary of President Bush Declaring 'Mission Accomplished'

Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, stop at the White House during their upcoming U.S. visit.

For details, click below....

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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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