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When Rod was at the top of his game in 2003, just after he was elected governor—and when fantasies of the Oval Office danced in his head—he told me that his favorite presidents were Abe Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt. But the memories Blago shared with me during our interviews showed something different: from boyhood on, he was obsessed with Richard Nixon... Read more
Joel Pollak, the 32-year-old Harvard-educated Tea-Party-backed candidate for the 9th Congressional District (currently occupied by Jan Schakowsky), had what seemed like a hugely successful fundraiser on Wednesday afternoon. Featuring Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz, the luncheon was held at the... Read more
Rod Blagojevich wants the jury in his corruption trial to know that Lon Monk, his former BFF, is a turncoat. Blago’s grimaces, eye rolls, and frantic scribbling during Monk’s testimony—not to mention his dagger-eyed stares at his former campaign manager and groomsman—may have been for show, but those who know the former governor know that he once truly loved Lon Monk... Read more
On the first day of his trial, Rod Blagojevich encountered two students from Chicago’s John Marshall Law School. When the students approached Blago to introduce themselves, he “shook their hands and told them that he once tried to enroll at their school,” according to Stacy St. Clair’s report in the Chicago Tribune. “‘I applied there on Monday and was rejected Tuesday…. That's why I'm not defending myself.’” Not true... Read more
What a crummy weekend in Chicago President Obama suffered. At my dinner with friends on Sunday night, one of the younger guests—who had worked for Obama, as had his parents—used the word “optics”, arguing that Obama’s messaging these days is a mess. If the President had a competent message shaper, this young man said, surrogates would... Read more
Edward “Eddie” Newman, who died Saturday at age 89, was, as his obituaries noted, the physician to some of Chicago’s most notable figures—including Mayor Richard M. Daley, real estate magnate Arthur Rubloff, and famed Chicago Bears quarterback... Read more
Lately, I’ve been talking a lot with Fred Beuttler, the deputy historian of the House of Representatives and a font of knowledge about that institution. Recently, we discussed one of my favorite subjects: Chicagoan Rahm Emanuel, the former congressman for the 5th District, now serving as chief of staff to President Obama. Beuttler speculates that... Read more