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Chicagoans to tell Obama's story at convention: Giannoulias, Hynes, Madigan, Durbin, Schakowsky, Gutierrez, Jackson, Emanuel, del Valle, Balanoff, Kellman and Michelle


WASHINGTON -- When Alexi Giannoulias was an undergraduate at the University of Chicago in the mid-1990s, one of the guys he would play pick-up basketball games with in Hyde Park was Barack Obama, who taught at the U. of C. law school.

Now Giannoulias is the Illinois state treasurer and Obama is the presumptive Democratic nominee. Obama has been "like a mentor to me," Giannoulias told me. He will be one of the parade of Chicagoans who will speak at the Democratic convention Monday night, when Obama's family and friends tell the story of Obama's life.

Michelle Obama is Monday's prime time speaker, and she will be introduced by her brother, Craig Robinson, who grew up with her on Chicago's South Side.

"I want people throughout the country to know the Barack Obama I know," said Giannoulias. Giannoulias --who won a tough primary with Obama's endorsement -- is a surrogate -- stumping in half dozen states; a major fund-raiser, on Obama's National Finance Committee, which means collecting at least $250,000 and a primary day basketball buddy.

Also on the bill: Comptroller Dan Hynes, whom Obama beat in the 2004 Senate primary, only to go on and lead the call for him to run for president; Attorney General Lisa Madigan; Chicago City Clerk Miguel del Valle and two men who can talk about Obama's days as a community organizer on the Southeast Side of Chicago, Jerry Kellman and SEIU Local 1 President Tom Balanoff. Obama moved to Chicago from New York when Kellman hired him as a community organizer.

Other Illinoisans speaking in Denver:

• • Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) is a personal friend -- one of his sisters sang at Barack and Michelle's wedding-- a political ally -- they come out of the complex political mix of Chicago's South Side -- and he's a national co-chair of the presidential campaign. He'll also be speaking Monday night

This won't be the first time Jackson has addressed conventions. He has before -- to introduce his father, the Rev. Jesse Jackson. The Obama convention will be the first in a generation that the senior Jackson does not speak. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), another national co-chair, will also address the convention, as will Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) and Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.), who is a leader of the House Democrats and a close friend.

• • Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) -- the No 2 man in the Senate who was one of the first to boost Obama as a presidential contender -- sets up the scene for an Obama video to be shown at Invesco Field before Obama delivers his acceptance speech the last night of the convention.

• • Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs Director Tammy Duckworth speaks on Wednesday, and Mayor Daley may be on the bill that night. Duckworth is likely to be tapped by Gov. Blagojevich to replace Obama if he wins the White House. When she ran for Congress in 2006, her media strategist was David Axelrod -- now Obama's senior adviser.


An impressive and accomplished group of people who truly know Barack Obama and will be sharing their views with an international audience. Grandpa McCain, on the other hand, like many his age like to tell their own life stories to anyone who will listen.

This campaign contrasts two generations with the younger one most ready and willing to carry forth the baton. Change, often related to loss, can be difficult for many people; McCain represents a bygone era; Clinton and Bush are the baby boomer group; now Barack Obama stand tall through his own achievements and ready to carry on into the 21st Century.

"The masses...helpless, lost and awaiting only the touch of greatness to save them from their insignificance"(R. Fernandez)

Obama is NOT a Chicagoan!! He never has been and never will be and never intends to be, except after Chicago becomes a nuclear devastated wasteland with his assistance and praise. He is NOT a friend to Chicago OR America!! He is Americas enemy and he WILL be STOPPED IN ONE WAY OR ANOTHER!!


The OLD BOYS CLUB/PARTY BOSSES of the Democratic Party shook down the banking industry and funneled the money to Obama in order to fix the nomination.


OBAMA will WIN in a landslide victory!!!

Obama is the biggest farce to hit America yet. If he wins this election I will lose hope in this great country and the people in it. For 8 years Americans have complained about George Bush, yet we are considering putting someone in office who has no record of service to our country in any way. The Obamas are all about the Obamas and nothing more. Wake up, America. If you thought Bush was bad you ain't seen nothing yet. Barack Obama will be a tragic mistake for this country.


Unfortunately, one of the people from IL who did the most for Obama in all his elections (IL Senate, U.S. Senate, presidential primary) was dis-invited: Rev. Jesse Jackson. Sure, he made a faux pas on Faux News, but he apologized and continued to campaign for Obama. Now he's not even speaking at the event honoring the anniversary of MLK's "I Have a Dream" speech, even though he knew MLK better than most people alive. On top of that, he paved the way for there to be an African-American presidential nominee. Can someone explain this to me? I'm sure it's politics, but it seems like a low blow to me.

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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 August 19, 2008 6:37 AM.

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