12 Months, 12 Pictures, 12 Stories: June

From Governor Sunshine to Mr. Unpopularity, one thing never changes: Rod Blagojevich always has a politician’s smile waiting for his fans.

Rod Blagojevich trial

Zbigniew Bzdak finds Blago in his element. Just three weeks before he’d be convicted, Blagojevich could still flash his stump smile. Two great Chicago cover stories chart his rise and fall, from Carol Felsenthal’s portrait of him as Governor Sunshine:

He is as pleased as can be with the private shower in his office. He shows off photographs of himself with the actor Sylvester Stallone taken on a recent trip to Los Angeles; he was there promoting an incentive package to bring moviemakers to Illinois, but he also managed to raise money for future campaigns. He loves to tell stories, especially when he is the star, and with a reporter in the office he has a willing audience.

To David Bernstein’s profile five years later, “Mr. Unpopularity”:

Even in this recently true-blue Democratic state, Blagojevich is more unpopular than the widely unpopular Republican president, George W. Bush. Rich Miller, who writes the insider’s newsletter/blog Capitol Fax, says Blagojevich is arguably the most unpopular governor in the country. “I’ve looked at a lot of polls, and I can’t find a governor anywhere whose numbers are worse than Blagojevich’s,” he says.

Photograph: Chicago Tribune

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