Democrats insist all is well with party at Illinois State Fair
August 16, 2006 (WLS) -- Democrats had their day Wednesday at the state fair in Springfield. Powerful leaders were there along side Governor Rod Blagojevich. But not everyone in the party is getting along.
It was an important day for the governor, especially during an election year, but not every big time Dem is stepping up to support him.
Governor Blagojevich and the other leaders of the Illinois Democratic party are trying to use their day at the state fair to claim that Illinois residents are much better off today than they were four years ago and the election of Judy Baar Topinka and her team of Republicans would be a step backward.
But the same corruption issue that dogged the Republican party in recent years is also dogging Democrat Rod Blagojevich and some other leaders of his party. And it is rained on their day at the state fair in Springfield.
The governor's campaign bused in several thousand Democrats from around the state Wednesday for a boisterous rally featuring most of the party's big political names and enthusiastically endorsing Rod Blagojevich for re-election despite a federal investigation of alleged corruption within his administrations.
"We've got a governor in Rod Blagojevich who has delivered consistently on behalf of the people of Illinois and for that reason I am proud to stand behind him," said Senator Barack Obama.
"On this day, 29 years ago, Elvis passed away. I just want to tell all of you, I've got nothing but a whole bunch of hunka hunka burnin' love for each and every one of you," said Blagojevich.
But the Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan rained on the governor's political parade Wednesday by not endorsing Blagojevich or even participating in the rally because her office was involved in the campaign probe before turning it over to the feds.
"This is nothing personal. This simply was dictated by my professional role as the attorney general," said Lisa Madigan.
The attorney general and her father, party chairman and house speaker Michael Madigan, are also refusing to endorse the party's candidate for treasurer, Chicago banker Alexi Giannoulias, because of his family bank's loans to alleged mobsters.
But Mike Madigan is still preaching party unity at Wednesday's rally.
"What we must do is keep up the energy level. Keep up the enthusiasm level," said Mike Madigan.
What would Giannoulias say to people who question his banking activities and say he shouldn't be loaning money to mobsters?
"I say we have a bank that we're very proud of, the history of helping thousands of people, a large bank with over 10,000 customers. We're very proud of that and helping people achieve the American dream and we'll continue to do that," said Giannoulias, who added he would like to make peace with Mike Madigan.
Madigan says that Giannoulias has to clear up some banking questions if he wants the his support, but Giannoulias has the support of his main supporter, Senator Barack Obama, who did a very persuasive ad for him in the Democratic primary in March. T
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