WASHINGTON--Flush with cash--and still begging donors for more--the Obama campaign is planning a $2 million dollar election night extravaganza at Chicago's lakefront Grant Park. Mayor Daley had suggested Obama use the United Center to keep the price down--but Celine Dion was already booked there for a Nov. 4 concert.
BY FRAN SPIELMAN
Chicago Sun-Times City Hall Reporter
Mayor Daley today put a $2 million price tag on the cost of city services associated with the giant Barack Obama election night rally in Grant Park.
He suggested the United Center as cheaper simpler alternative but was turned down.
The mayor said the cash-flushed Obama campaign has agreed to reimburse the city for those services because Chicago is grappling with a $465 million deficit and is in no position to pay for it.
Asked if he objected to Obama's decision to hold the rally in Grant Park, Daley said, "Could you see me saying no to Sen. Obama? Give me a break. I'm not that dumb."
The mayor said the indoor United Center "would be much easier but the campaign so far ... wants to do it in the open. They applied for the permit."
Daley acknowledged that the Grant Park rally would create a logistical nightmare. "You'd have to secure buildings, close down buildings," he said.
"You need sanitation. ... You have to secure the CTA. You have to have traffic people. ... You have close streets seven to eight hours before."