Chicago Sun-Times
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Durbin icy relationship with Blagojevich dims Duckworth chances for Obama seat

| 11 Comments


from the Nov. 14, 2008 print Sun-Times...

BY DAVE MCKINNEY AND CHRIS FUSCO

Chicago Sun-Times Staff Reporters
Lynn Sweet, contributing

Tammy Duckworth's star seems to be fading within Gov. Blagojevich's inner circle as the governor mulls over a potential replacement for President-elect Barack Obama, who formally will step down from his U.S. Senate seat Sunday.

Potential Obama successors who appear to be getting the closest scrutiny from the governor's camp include retiring state Senate President Emil Jones, Rep. Luis Gutierrez and state Attorney General Lisa Madigan.


Duckworth, a disabled Iraqi war veteran who heads the state's Veterans Affairs Department, has close ties to Obama's political organization and has been a popular member of Blagojevich's Cabinet. The governor personally feted her during a reception at the Democratic National Convention in August.

But her odds of landing Obama's seat appear to be dimming because of her closeness to Sen. Dick Durbin, who has an icy relationship with the governor, yet has sought input into the selection process. This week, Durbin identified Duckworth as being on his list of hopefuls for the Obama seat.

For several weeks, the Blagojevich camp has been actively floating Duckworth's name as both an Obama replacement and a potential successor to Rep. Rahm Emanuel, who is becoming Obama's chief of staff.

But Duckworth is said to have minimal interest in Emanuel's seat. Instead, she's eying Obama's spot in the Senate or a possible appointment to become head of the federal Veterans Affairs Department under Obama. She has forged close ties with Obama's brain trust, after having used strategist David Axelrod and Obama's presidential field director Jon Carson in a failed 2006 congressional bid.

Should Blagojevich pick Jones, the governor could reward a legislative ally and the important African-American voting bloc on whom the governor must rely if he seeks re-election.

Gutierrez has been another backer of Blagojevich's. They have been friends since their days in Congress together and come from adjoining neighborhoods.

Madigan, in many ways, is a more perplexing choice for Blagojevich given the governor's feud with her father, state House Speaker Michael Madigan. She is said not to be interested in a Blagojevich offer. But if she were, Blagojevich would be able to remove a potent political obstacle from a possible 2010 gubernatorial primary.

Blagojevich is believed to still be working under an end-of-the-year timetable to fill Obama's seat.

11 Comments

Wow! ...is anybody out there thinking about what is best for our USA or it's all about what choice will fulfill the governor's ambitions.

Major Duckworth is clearly the best person for the job. Illinois needs a Senator who can credibly support President-Elect Obama on his efforts to wind down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Why this appointment can't be made by November 17th is beyond understanding.

I'M SURE TAMMY DUCKWORTH IS ON THE SHORTLIST FOR
SENATOR AS WELL AS OTHER QUALIFIED INDIVIDUALS!
I HAVE ALL THE CONFIDENCE IN THE WORLD THAT THE
GOVERNOR WILL MAKE A GREAT CHOICE, REMEMBER ALOT
MUST BE CONSIDERED IN THE CHOICE, THERE IS NO
SENSE NAMING AN INDIVIDUAL AND THEY CAN'T WIN,
WHEN IT'S TIME TO RUN AGAIN!
THIS WITHOUT A DOUBT IS A SIGNIFICANT FACTOR!

Ms Duckworth seems to be the least qualified applicant for the position.
(1) what is her qualification besides being injured?
(2) what has she accomplished, other than losing a congressional race?
(3) where is her list of accomplishments in her current position?

DAN, HER WORK HELPING VETERANS IS AN ACCOMPLISH-
MENT IN ITSELF, GIVE THE LADY SOME KUDOS HERE,
SHE IS A WAR-HERO AND SHE DESERVES OUR RESPECT!
DON'T YOU AGREE!

"Should Blagojevich pick Jones, the governor could reward a legislative ally and the important African-American voting bloc on whom the governor must rely if he seeks re-election."

wow, that is a SWEEPING assumption; that Jones could deliver the African-American voting bloc.

Rest assured, in light of Barack's ascendency to the presidency, petty black chicago politicians need to watch their backs — and their electorate.

race politics is coming to an end.

THAT WOULD BE HIGHLY UNLIKELY, EMIL JONES JUST
RETIRED, REMEMBER YOU WANT HIM TO CHOOSE SOMEONE
WHO CAN WIN, IN TWO YEARS, WE DON'T WANT THE
PERSON TO BECOME A LAME-DUCK THE DAY THEY TAKE
OVER THE OFFICE!
THE GOP ARE LICKING THEIR CHOPS FOR THIS SENATE
SEAT!
DON'T YOU SEE WHAT IS HAPPENING ALL OVER AMERICA
THE GOP ARE LOSING SENATE SEATS FASTER THAN YOU
CAN SAY CONVICTED FELON!
MINNESOTA IS IN PLAY AND GEORGIA AS WELL!
SARAH PALIN CAN TAKE THAT 7 MILLION DOLLAR BOOK
DEAL NOW THAT HER SENATE WISHING DAYS HAVE BEEN
PLACED ON HOLD!

effin' pig

If Blagojevich was on eBay:

http://starcasm.net/archives/2009

Actually, it wouldn't be surprising if he actually did this.

Have you heard that Blagojevich has decided to liquidate the entire Illinois budget to set up an online gaming site? Chechit: http://is.gd/bbGi

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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 14, 2008 12:06 PM.

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