Tales from the Trail

Romney hits Obama’s economic vision in Democrat’s hometown

Presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney told supporters at a swanky fundraiser in President Barack Obama’s hometown on Thursday evening that under his administration they would see an “extraordinary resurgence of America’s economy” because of the former private equity executive’s economic prescription of less taxation, regulation, and government meddling.

The fundraising event in Chicago raised roughly $3.3 million for the former Massachusetts governor’s campaign and wider Republicans and came on the heels of speeches Romney and Obama gave hours before in different parts of the battleground state of Ohio outlining disparate visions for the economy.

“Our economy is propelled by freedom,” Romney said, speaking before roughly 220 people at a reception in a downtown Chicago hotel. “[Obama] believes a government can do a better job guiding lives and guiding the economy than can free people.”

Supporters spent $2,500 for the general reception, $10,000 to get a photo with Romney, and $50,000 for a private reception and dinner. Two-hundred and fifty tickets were sold, all in. In attendance was Dan Rutherford, the Illinois State Treasurer, and Illinois lawmakers Judy Biggert and Aaron Schock, as well as Pat Brady, the Illinois Republican Party Chairman.

“I am absolutely convinced that you are going to see an extraordinary resurgence of America’s economy. It’s going to come roaring back with the right policy,” said Romney, who has seen a lift in national polls and has been emboldened by weak economic data and an Obama gaffe giving the private sector a clean bill of health.

Obama has voted…

President Barack Obama has filled out his absentee ballot to cast his vote in the Senate and governor races in Illinois.

And… drumroll please… he voted for the Democrats.

OBAMA/“He just voted absentee in the West Wing,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs disclosed. “I know who he voted for, for governor and Senate in Illinois — the two Democratic candidates who I believe will win,” he said.

According to the RealClearPolitics average of polls, both of those candidates are trailing the Republican candidate. In the Illinois Senate race for Obama’s old seat, Democrat Alexi Giannoulias is trailing Republican Mark Kirk by about 2 percentage points. It is  one of the key races that is being watched to see whether Republicans can seize control of the Senate.

Senator Durbin has small tumor removed, “resting comfortably”

The Senate’s number two Democrat Richard Durbin had a small tumor removed from his stomach on Thursday and was “resting comfortably” after the operation, his office said.

USA HEALTHCARE/Durbin should be out of the hospital in Chicago in a couple of days and expects to resume a full schedule by next week, the statement from his spokesman Joe Shoemaker said. 

“According to Durbin’s doctors, there was no evidence that the tumor had spread beyond the site from which it was removed,” the statement said, adding that preliminary biopsy results “demonstrate a favorable prognosis.”

No head-butting, judge tells Blagojevich

No head-butting, no fighting, no macho posturing, the judge overseeing former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich’s upcoming corruption trial said on Wednesday.USA-BLAGOJEVICH/

If the federal courtroom is sounding more like a boxing ring, the disgraced politician suggested as much. On Tuesday Blagojevich called out prosecutor U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, telling reporters “I hope you’re man enough to be there (in court) tomorrow too.”

Blagojevich adopted a calmer tone after Judge James Zagel told both sides he alone would decide which evidence would be heard and that he would “not permit the legal equivalent of head-butting.”

Blago says he’s “blacker than Barack Obama”

Believe it or not, Rod Blagojevich is African-American — and more so than President Barack Obama. At least, that’s what the former Illinois governor tells Esquire magazine in a new interview.
“It’s such a cynical business, and most of the people in the business are full of (expletive deleted) and phonies, but I was real, man — and am real. This guy, he was catapulted in on hope and change, what we hope the guy is. What the (expletive deleted)? Everything he’s saying’s on the teleprompter,” Esquire quotes Blago as saying about the president, without the expletives deleted.

“I’m blacker than Barack Obama. I shined shoes. I grew up in a five-room apartment. My father had a little laundromat in a black community not far from where we lived. I saw it all growing up,” he explains.

Blago is, in fact, a white Democrat who gained prominence for introducing big male hair to the national political arena during a corruption probe that led to his indictment on charges of trying to sell Obama’s former U.S. Senate seat. He denies the accusations.

Blagojevich and the mammogram defense

For those having Rod Blagojevich withdrawal, he popped up again on the airwaves this morning to hammer home his innocence — just in case anyone missed the media blitz last week.

Blagojevich was ousted as governor of Illinois amid accusations he tried to sell the Senate seat vacated by President Barack Obama.

“It was an unlawful and improper impeachment. So I don’t view myself at all as being shamed or disgraced,” Blagojevich said in an interview on NBC’s “Today” show. BLAGOJEVICH-ILLINOIS/

US presidential result to touch off Senate scramble

WASHINGTON – When the voting ends in Tuesday’s presidential election, the campaigning will just begin for one and possibly two Senate seats.

That’s because whoever wins the White House, one or two Senate vacancies will be created.

If Democratic Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois is victorious, he will have to vacate his Senate seat, as will his vice presidential running mate Joseph Biden of Delaware. If Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona scores a come-from-behind White House win, he’ll do the same.