Politics at home in 4th of July parade

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

July 4th is a day for parades, picnics, and politics. This holiday doubles as a day of campaigning for the two candidates seeking the job of governor in Illinois. Judy Barr Topinka was in the same parade Tuesday as Rod Blagojevich -- though in different spots and with different styles.

She rode and waved. He shook hands and occasionally broke into a run.

This is Republican DuPage County -- traditionally a tough crowd for a Democrat. But the Governor today did get hugs and attaboys.

He also got catcalls -- go back to Chicago -- said one. Another held a sign "gas is cheaper than your tolls". Get an IPASS, the governor responded.

As the governor moved on, there came from the crowd the line -- the feds are coming -- a reference to the ongoing U-S Attorney's investigation into hiring practices by the Blagojevich administration. It brought yet another headline today with a claim by a former state official that poltics in hiring sometimes won out over professionalism.

"What are you doing here. It makes me very sad. It's embarrassing for me. It's embarrassing for the state," said Judy Baar Topinka (R) Candidate for Governor.

Topinka may claim to be saddened, but her opponent under fire gives her something her campaign kitty cannot. "It's worth a lot and it puts Judy Barr Topinka right in the ballgame," said Ill. Sen. Kirk Dillard (R) Hinsdale.

As for the feds investigation, Blagojevich says it's his people who've found the improprieties, his administration that's fixing past practice.

"Yes, some people got hired and thought the old days were still in place. We uncovered that through our inspector general. That's our inspector general's report and we made adjustments, terminated employees. Others got training according to the recommendations. In short our people are finding that stuff. That's what is different today than what it was like under Ryan," Gov. Rod Blagojevich said.

Topinka says Blagojevich must claim responsibility for his own administration and not point to the past and George Ryan.

While revelations about possible jobs and contracts misbehavior has center stage at present, the governor says his opponent has no vision and no plan. And she says the public is not yet focused on the issues, so she will put her plan together later this summer.

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