Chicago Sun-Times Latest news from the Chicago Sun-Times Online en-us (Editor) Newspapers Chicago Sun-Times 84 34 30 Copyright 2014 <![CDATA[ Madigan wants city to unite behind location for Obama library ]]> Lead story image

The team of rivals angling to land the Obama presidential library and museum — Chicago State University, the University of Chicago and University of Illinois at Chicago — united on Thursday to encourage the state of Illinois to appropriate $100 million for the project, to help lure it to the city. With little discussion and with no opposition, a state House panel advanced to the House floor the Obama library $100 million sweetener championed by Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago. Shirley Madigan, the chairman of the Illinois Arts Council — and Madigan’s wife — also testified in favor of … ]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 02:25:50 -0500 <![CDATA[ Why Kirk is now campaigning for Oberweis for U.S. Senate ]]> Lead story image

After distancing himself from GOP Senate nominee Jim Oberweis last month — and saying he wanted to “preserve” his relationship with Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and not engage in a “partisan jihad” — Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., in a switch said Wednesday he will campaign for Oberweis. “I was already at the Lake County Republican dinner last week with him,” said Kirk. In discussing his newfound willingness to stump for the longshot Oberweis, who faces off with Durbin in November, Kirk on Wednesday did not mention Oberweis by name in citing two main reasons: Kirk said he wants to support … ]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 19:51:01 -0500 <![CDATA[ Odd couple: Durbin holds his fire as Kirk rips lawyers ]]> Lead story image

WASHINGTON — A question about a Democratic pay equity bill that failed in the Senate last week triggered a tirade from Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., against Democratic trial lawyers while Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., sitting next to him, silently stared at his hands, mute as a result of their non-aggression pact. Last month, I reported that Kirk said he would not campaign for longshot GOP Senate nominee Jim Oberweis because he wanted to protect his “relationship with Dick” and not launch “into a partisan jihad that hurts our partnership to both pull together for Illinois.” Kirk’s comments were a gift … ]]> Mon, 14 Apr 2014 02:16:48 -0500 <![CDATA[ Obama’s library foundation picks acting chief ]]> Lead story image

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle and Marty Nesbitt, a leader of the Obama Presidential Foundation, toured the LBJ Library on Thursday, though the main purpose for being there was for the president to deliver his speech marking the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act. But the visit to the library and museum in Austin, Texas, comes as the Obama foundation is staffing up, the first donations are in the pipeline and bidders for the Obama Library and Museum are working on proposals due in June. Chicago real estate executive Robbin Cohen has been … ]]> Fri, 11 Apr 2014 07:10:51 -0500 <![CDATA[ Rush: ‘I’ve been cooperative’ with inquiry ]]> Lead story image

WASHINGTON—Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., said the Office of Congressional Ethics has a pending inquiry against him, triggered most likely by Chicago Sun-Times stories raising questions about spending from his campaign fund and the handling of a $1 million grant, among other issues. Rush’s “Citizens for Rush” campaign fund has paid $5,000 to the law firm of Dickstein Shapiro for the OCE inquiry, Rush told me. “I’ve been cooperative,” Rush said. He said he wants the OCE to “affirm” that he has not violated any rules. “I have been just totally, totally cooperative, open and cooperative, and I encouraged anybody they … ]]> Thu, 10 Apr 2014 02:18:09 -0500 <![CDATA[ Dold vs. Schneider: In Illinois’ 10th District, the race to agree ]]> Lead story image

WASHINGTON — Democrat Rep. Brad Schneider and Republican former Rep. Bob Dold — who will face off in a November rematch — agree that the GOP-run House should call a vote on a bill extending unemployment insurance that the Democratic-controlled Senate passed on Monday, another example of the rivals being in violent agreement. For Dold, trying to recapture the Illinois 10th Congressional District seat that he lost to Schneider in 2012, the move makes him an outlier among most congressional Republicans for whom a vote on jobless benefits is not on their to-do list. That’s a very good place for … ]]> Wed, 09 Apr 2014 02:27:20 -0500 <![CDATA[ David Ortiz’s advertisement selfie at White House was low-class ]]> Lead story image

WASHINGTON — From Boston proud to Boston crass. Boston Red Sox superstar slugger David Ortiz took a selfie with President Barack Obama on Tuesday, jumping in with his cellphone moments before the official White House photo op to honor the World Series champs. “What an honor! Thanks for the #selfie, @BarackObama,” @davidortiz tweeted. By Wednesday night, the pic had 40,478 retweets and 46,765 favorites. Ortiz, it turns out, was not just a guy at the White House getting an insiders tour — because Ortiz just signed an endorsement deal with Samsung, the cellphone maker. When Ortiz saw an opening for … ]]> Thu, 03 Apr 2014 02:18:39 -0500 <![CDATA[ Despite its sickly start, Obamacare is here to stay ]]> Lead story image

WASHINGTON — After a very messy start, Obamacare is here to stay. That’s the main message President Barack Obama delivered Tuesday where he bragged about the 7,041,000 who enrolled in private health insurance plans by the Monday deadline. “There are still no death panels. Armageddon has not arrived,” Obama said in remarks from the Rose Garden. The speech was designed to mute the GOP critics — at least give it another try — who are still calling for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act and buck up Democrats who worry about being attacked in November for supporting the law. … ]]> Wed, 02 Apr 2014 02:18:34 -0500 <![CDATA[ Obamacare politics, a look ahead ]]> Lead story image

WASHINGTON — White House Press Secretary Jay Carney could have been talking about a relationship that soured and then got better. “We were in a bad place in October and November,” he said at the Monday White House briefing. He was referring to the botched Obamacare October rollout, when health insurance enrollment opened for the first time under the Affordable Care Act. Carney was all upbeat about Obamacare hours before the midnight Monday deadline to enroll, despite glitches at the website. Procrastinators triggered record traffic and enrollments at and at call centers. So much traffic that crashed … ]]> Tue, 01 Apr 2014 02:13:16 -0500 <![CDATA[ Hoping voters say Yes! to new state political map ]]> Lead story image

Working quietly — trying to stay below the political radar as they toil in a brick-walled West Loop office, complete with a foosball table — a new group is running a massive petition drive across Illinois to change the way state lawmakers are elected. As a practical matter, that means Yes! For Independent Maps is messing with Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, who also is chairman of the Democratic Party of Illinois, even though, under the proposal, no change could happen until after the 2020 census. The Yes! campaign is based at 300 N. Elizabeth, just off Fulton Market. It … ]]> Sun, 30 Mar 2014 02:27:42 -0500 <![CDATA[ Obama raising money here Wednesday ]]> Lead story image

President Barack Obama hits Chicago on Wednesday for two jumbo-priced fundraisers to benefit the Democratic National Committee. Obama hosts a roundtable — I am told keyed toward business executives — at the Chicago Cut Steakhouse downtown where about 25 folks are expected; the tab is up to $32,400. The Obama roundtable is hosted by Mesirow Financial Chairman and CEO Richard Price. Later, Obama is the headliner at a dinner for about 55 — donating up to $10,000 — at the Lincoln Park home of Craig Freedman and Grace Tsao-Wu, who is an Obama major donor and fund-raiser. “It will be … ]]> Sun, 30 Mar 2014 02:27:52 -0500 <![CDATA[ Kirk: No ‘partisan jihad’ vs. Durbin ]]> Lead story image

Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., is ruling out campaigning for longshot GOP Illinois U.S. Senate nominee Jim Oberweis, saying Monday he would rather “protect” his relationship with Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and not launch a “partisan jihad.” Kirk and Durbin are a very rare couple in Washington. They get along, even when they disagree. They grew closer after Kirk suffered a severe stroke, keeping him away from the Capitol for almost a year. As a result, the two have forged for now an informal, unspoken, non-aggression pact. Kirk’s more-than-kind words for Durbin will be very useful to Durbin in his race … ]]> Tue, 25 Mar 2014 11:22:40 -0500 <![CDATA[ Foundation unveils vision for Obama library ]]> Lead story image

The foundation in charge of building President Barack Obama’s presidential museum and library — an institution sought by a variety of Chicago interests — on Thursday told potential bidders in broad terms what they needed to put on the table. The long-awaited “requests for qualifications” document does not include any price tag for the construction and endowment for the institution, which will likely run significantly upward of $500 million, according to people familiar with the scope of the project. Replies to the RFQs are due June 16, with those making the first cut to be invited to submit formal “request … ]]> Fri, 21 Mar 2014 02:22:27 -0500 <![CDATA[ Durbin builds campaign as top Democrats map strategy for November ticket ]]> Lead story image

Over coffee, juice, sweet rolls and a big serving of rare cooperation, the top Illinois Democrats — Sen. Dick Durbin, Gov. Pat Quinn, Senate President John Cullerton and House Speaker/Democratic state party chair Mike Madigan — huddled Monday to map November strategy. “We are going to coordinate our efforts with the other candidates. I think working together we will present a strong message to the voters,” Durbin told me Tuesday at the primary election party he hosted at a River North restaurant. ]]> Wed, 19 Mar 2014 02:24:44 -0500 <![CDATA[ Gutierrez Oval Office Visit: The inside story ]]> Lead story image

Last Thursday, Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., and other members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus were about 15 minutes away from a vote on a resolution demanding President Barack Obama curb deportations when the Chicago lawmaker got a call from a White House staffer. Please hold off the vote. Why not first talk to President Barack Obama, the staffer said to Gutierrez, according to sources familiar with the exchange. An invitation was extended to meet with the president in the Oval Office later that day. The last-minute bid to quash a resolution by rushing House Democratic Hispanic leaders to a meeting … ]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 06:22:28 -0500 <![CDATA[ Suburban rep could get boost from a losing effort ]]> Lead story image

WASHINGTON—Rep. Brad Schneider, D-Ill., with House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. by his side, took the lead Wednesday of a long-shot petition drive to force the GOP-controlled House to call a vote on extending long-term unemployment insurance — a boost for the freshman facing a tough re-election battle. To try to force a vote, Schneider et al. are getting signatures on a “discharge petition,” a tactic that is rarely successful — the last time a discharge petition worked was in 2002; before that, 1986. But victory is measured in many ways, especially when this is viewed through a political lens. … ]]> Mon, 14 Apr 2014 11:08:46 -0500 <![CDATA[ U. of C. reaches out for partners in bid for Obama library ]]> Lead story image

WASHINGTON — The University of Chicago, far from going it alone, is reaching out for partners in its quest to land the Obama presidential library and museum on the South Side, already taking steps to collaborate with potential rivals: the University of Hawaii, the University of Illinois and a leading Bronzeville community group. In a series of exclusive interviews I’ve learned: ♦ Hawaii, the birthplace of President Barack Obama, is not competing for what would be the massive library and museum. Instead, Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie told me the state wants to land an Obama presidential center in Honolulu — … ]]> Mon, 07 Apr 2014 13:19:31 -0500 <![CDATA[ Pro-Obama group admits  it ‘fell short’ of standards ]]> Lead story image

WASHINGTON — Organizing for Action, the Chicago-based organization spawned from the Obama for America presidential campaign, is recognizing it fell short of its own standards following stumbles involving potential donors. No one ended up getting a favor. And the OFA never took a tainted donation. But after an NBC News report raised questions about fundraising, the organization took steps to avoid problems in the future. In an internal memo to OFA staffers sent out over the weekend — which I obtained — OFA Executive Director Jon Carson and Board Chairman Jim Messina wrote, “our organization recently fell short of these … ]]> Sun, 06 Apr 2014 06:40:55 -0500