May 28, 2006

"No, YOU'RE more corrupt!" "Am NOT!" "Are TOO!"

Blago/Topinka cage match.

In a feisty debate, Republican Judy Baar Topinka chided Gov. Rod Blagojevich on Friday for having "the most investigated administration" in state history, while Blagojevich said the state treasurer's hypocrisy on ethics made it hard for him to breathe.

Marking the first formal face-to-face appearance of the two major candidates in the Nov. 7 election for governor, Topinka repeatedly jabbed at Blagojevich for elevating "pay to play" politics to "an art form." The first-term Democrat has faced criticism over administration contracts that went to his allies and donors.

Topinka also noted allegations, raised in a federal plea agreement, that a prominent government official cited only as "Public Official A" had orchestrated a scheme to siphon campaign cash and reward donors.

"I still have a name. You're `Public Official A,'" she told Blagojevich.

"He is the new George Ryan," Topinka said, referring to Blagojevich's Republican predecessor, who was recently convicted on federal corruption charges. "Do you think the U.S. attorney spends his time just doing this for kicks? No. Because there is so much there and we've seen it come down."

Blagojevich has consistently denied any wrongdoing in his administration and said he doesn't know the identity of "Public Official A." He also said he instituted ethics reform laws after taking office, in response to Ryan practices that he said Topinka did little to stop.

The governor said Topinka had taken more than $500,000 in campaign cash from banks her office does business with, as well as having previously accepted donations from her state workers. He also said her office had faced the scrutiny of federal investigators over allegations that state workers did political work on taxpayer time.

"The hypocrisy here is so thick, I'm having a hard time to breathe," Blagojevich said. "She can criticize me, but when she criticizes me about things that she, herself, does, it's astounding."

Topinka has said her office has not heard from federal investigators in three years.
Hide the women and children, this could get ugly.

Streaming video and audio download of the debate available from WMAQ here.


At 5/28/2006 10:49 PM, Blogger SilverBackDemocrat said...

I watched the debate online earlier tonight. I thought it was really interesting. A funny thing about the debate is that the Governor did very well, at least that was my take. If I hadn't of watched the debate or read the transcripts, I would have thought the Governor did not do good, had I believed the headlines that raced throughout the state and internet. The Governor hit the nail on the head when he said that all the Republicans do is complain, complain, and complain. I think the moderator did a superb job, double Koodos to the moderator. He held both candidates feet to the fire. Ms. Topinka did not offer any details about state initiatives or policies, other than she is not for this and not for that. Like the Governor or not like the Governor, he has initiated a progressive state policy, which I am in favor of. I loved the part of the debate when the Governor pointed out that "Donald Trump doesn't qualify for the All Kids Covered because he doesn't live in Illinois." What is Ms. Topinka thinking? Does she and her right wing friends really believe that Millionairs would use a program for working folks. Like they, millionaire, cannot afford private health insurance. Give me a break. In closing, I think the Governor did pretty good, and I think Ms. Topinka looked "ok" but could be perceived a prude or "a loose cannon."

At 5/28/2006 11:52 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Thanks for that review Silverback, and for mentioning that the debate is available on-line.

I've added a link to the debate video available from WMAQ to the post. They also offer a podcast download of audio from the debate.

I haven't found a site with a transcript as yet.

At 5/30/2006 8:54 AM, Blogger Polt said...

COULD get ugly....sounds like it already is.

Course Pennsylvania politics is no better.....

At 5/30/2006 2:07 PM, Blogger DookOfURL said...

What would really be fun is to have a steel cage match with the governors of IL, LA and NJ to see who is the most corrupt.

Even though I live in IL, I'd have to go with LA.

At 6/01/2006 1:38 PM, Blogger HRC said...

I hope it does get ugly. Let Rod paste that makeup-smeared bottled redhead again and again.

Judy was there during all of George Ryan and knew damn well what was going on. She didn't do a damn thing.

And let Judy fight back. She'll show her 19 fans downstate what an awful, wretched, mean-spirited witch she really is.*

Considerably cleaned up for the Dope.


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