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A lot has changed in just four years

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney President Barack Obamexit stage after their third debate Oct. 22 Lynn University BocRatFla.  |

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama exit the stage after their third debate on Oct. 22 at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla. | Pablo Martinez Monsivais~AP

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Updated: December 5, 2012 6:33AM

The last time we voted for president:

Rod Blagojevich was governor. Today he’s in a federal prison.

Rahm Emanuel was in Congress. His dream of becoming the first Jewish speaker of the House was detoured by a tour of the Obama White House as chief of staff.

Richard M. Daley was mayor. Now Emanuel is.

Alexi Giannoulias was Barack Obama’s basketball buddy, fund-raiser and friend with an eye on the U.S. Senate.

Mark Kirk was a picture of health and a congressman who, in 2010, won the Senate seat that Giannoulias coveted.

Jesse Jackson Jr. was a congressman, and Roland Burris, a largely forgotten politician. A day after the election, they both desperately yearned for Obama’s vacated Senate seat. Both were tarnished in the process. Burris, however, won the right to add that office to the accomplishments chiseled on his waiting mausoleum.

Jackson lives in fear that the feds have a quite different plan for him.

Mike Quigley was a Cook County commissioner routinely challenging Todd Stroger, who got no respect as Cook County Board president. Now Quigley has Emanuel’s seat in Congress. The same one formerly occupied by two convicted felons, Dan Rostenkowski and the aforementioned Rod Blagojevich.

The last time we elected a president, Toni Preckwinkle was an alderman representing Barack Obama’s home ward, but she would knock Todd Stroger out of a job. A number of people in his administration would be indicted.

Unemployment in 2008 was 6.7 percent. Today it’s 7.9 percent

America was fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Today there is one war and it’s winding down. Though Iran and Syria may be winding up.

The automobile industry was in dire shape. Not anymore.

Sarah Palin was running for vice president and was parodied as saying she could see Russia from her house. Presumably she still can.

Welcomed by Fox News as a contributor, she was unwelcome at the last Republican National Convention.

In Chicago, there were 513 homicides in 2008. This year, our murder rate was a regular headline in the national news. So far this year, 442 people have been killed in the city.

In 2008, House Speaker Michael Madigan was the most powerful politician in Illinois.

And he still is. Some things never change.

In the last presidential contest, lots of folks worried about the obscene amount of money being spent on political races.

This year both Obama and Romney will raise and spend in the neighborhood of $1 billion — each.

The 2008 campaign was the most expensive race until 2012, which will be the most expensive race until 2016.

Another thing that hasn’t changed.

Who will win the White House this time around? It’s possible we won’t know until the early hours of Wednesday.

But just remember, no matter whom you favor, every vote counts.

Just ask U.S. Rep. Melissa Bean, who lost to Tea Party challenger Joe Walsh in 2010 by just 290 votes.

In 2008, few people had ever heard of Walsh.

Some things do change.

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