Monday, October 11, 2004

Updated October 11, 2004 at 12:30 am

The Obamas, Coulson, Bromberg and Schakowsky. What’s wrong with this picture? Who doesn’t belong in it?

Well, boys and girls, in an otherwise dull election season [once the Tribune let go of sex clubs, that is], this is kind of interesting.

Michelle Obama, wife of U.S. Senate candidate Barack Obama, will campaign in Skokie and Highland Park on Monday, October 11, 2004. Joining Michelle in Skokie [on Monday, late morning, at a bagel place] will be U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky and 17th District state Representative candidate Michelle [sic] Bromberg.

11:15 – 12:00 PM “Meet the candidates” with U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky and 17th District state Representative candidate Michelle [sic] Bromberg [Obama October 9, 2004 Media Advisory].

Okay, we all know, through Lynn Sweet’s efforts, that Barack Obama has been on a fairly intense schedule out of state helping raise money for other U. S. Senate Candidates and even for some state legislators in Iowa [seed work for Clinton- Obama, or Obama-Clinton in the 2008 Iowa caucuses?].

But, sending the wife, who is bright, charming and charismatic, in her own right, to help Cong. Jan Schakowsky help Michele Bromberg knock off 8 year incumbent, and very moderate, Republican Beth Coulson? Indeed, does that 8-year phrase sound familiar—as in 8-year state senator Barack Obama? Perhaps Coulson and Obama know each other, having arrived in Springfield at the same time. Indeed, although Republicans like to try to label Barack as an extreme liberal, he probably fancies himself as more of a moderate D. And, Coulson is almost so moderate an R, as not to be an R [Just ask Family-Pac’s Executive Director, Paul Caprio]. At the risk of getting myself in further trouble with yet another animal simile, you would have to guess that Barack and Beth do not exactly fight like cats and dogs.

Further, Rich Miller told us on Thursday in Capitolfax that one of Bromberg’s latest mailings stated that Coulson “supports and contributes to conservative Republican anti-choice candidates who would eliminate a woman’s right to choose.” Miller pointed out, on the other hand, “the pro-choice and cash-rich Personal PAC is a major Coulson supporter, however, so expect the group to do its level best to blow this particular charge out of the water.”

But, a few items that Rich Miller omitted from his discussion. Another purported recent Bromberg mailer [sent to me anonymously by a person claiming to be a constituent of Beth’s and which says paid for and prepared by Democratic Party of Illinois] had a photo of Obama and Bromberg literally joined at the shoulder, if not hip, and the headline was Michele Bromberg and Barack Obama [2nd billing for Barack, no less] are the only 100% Pro-Choice candidates running for their seats. Yes, the mailer surely has it right as to Obama’s opponent- but as to Bromberg’s, not so much.

And, on my show with candidate Michele Bromberg that is airing in the suburbs this week [See blog entry, immediately below, updated Oct. 9 at 7:15 pm, for further discussion of the 17th race, more show transcripts and the show’s airing schedule], Michele Bromberg gave some answers on reproductive choice that might make Michelle and Barack Obama, and maybe Personal Pac, wince- at least a wee bit. I mean, there is 100% Pro-Choice and then there is 100% Pro-Choice.

Take a listen [and a look this week, if you live in the suburbs]:
Jeff Berkowitz: You would be, would you say, 100% pro-choice?

Michele Bromberg: 100% Pro-choice.

Berkowitz: You would have opposed the ban on partial birth abortion in the state legislature that would ban that [procedure] except for the life of the mother [being at issue]. Would you oppose that ban?

Bromberg: Like I said, I am 100% pro-choice. I have been in situations where women have had difficult, difficult choices—all these things are very difficult choices and I support pro-choice 100%.

Berkowitz: Does that mean that you would oppose the ban on partial birth abortion that I just described?

Bromberg: Like I said, 100% pro-choice.

Berkowitz: There was proposed legislation [in the state legislature] to deal with what was called live birth abortions. The Live Birth Infant Protection Act. Would you have similarly opposed that legislation? It didn’t pass in Illinois.

Bromberg: Like I said Jeff, women must be able to make decisions for themselves on their health care.

Berkowitz: Okay, well, you know the live birth abortion issue deals with the point that allegedly was made that some abortions go wrong [so to speak], the fetus is born alive and the allegation was made that in some hospitals that fetus is taken away to another area [of the hospital] and allowed to die…

Bromberg: Jeff, I worked in a hospital. I have seen women in bad, bad situations. Like I said, 100 % pro-choice. I am not going to cut hairs with you on that issue. [Ed. Note- Cut hairs? Must be a nursing term]

Berkowitz: So that fetus, though—if that is going on, that is something you would allow to happen? That is, a fetus is allowed to die?

Bromberg: Like I said, umm, maybe we need to move on. [Ed. Note- 7 years of doing my show and nobody-- not even Barack, not even the Senior Senator, Dick Durbin-- ever told me to “move on.”]

Berkowitz: Parental notice, you would oppose parental notice.

Bromberg: I think we need to move on. Like I said, women need—

Berkowitz: No, I just want an answer. What’s your view? Do you oppose parental notice?

Bromberg: I think women need to make a decision. They are to be 100% able to make that decision.
Michele Bromberg, Democratic Candidate [from Skokie] for State Rep. in the 17th District, running against eight-year incumbent, Elizabeth [Beth] Coulson [R- Glenview, 17th Dist.]. Bromberg was interviewed on “Public Affairs,” in a show that was recorded on October 3, 2004 and will air in the suburbs this week [Week of Oct. 11] and throughout the City of Chicago on Monday, Oct. 18, 2004 at 8:30 pm on Cable Ch. 21 [CANTV].
See this blog entry’s concluding paragraphs for the airing schedule of the show.
So, as I said, Barack Obama, sending the wife to try to help knock off very, very moderate and very, very pro-choice Beth Coulson is a bit of a puzzle. Yes, Coulson is nominally a Republican. But, this is something Speaker Mike wants and Obama needs to oblige the Speaker?

Sure, you could say Obama, as a D, should try to help all Ds. But, his time and his spouse’s are scarce, like any other economic good. So, why allocate it to helping Bromberg knock off very, very moderate Beth Coulson. Picking up an IOU from Speaker Mike? But, that’s not supposed to be Barack’s style. Remember, a very different kind of politician. Or, is he? Or is this Barack paying back an IOU to Cong. Schakowsky, who, along with State Rep. Julie Hamos, did some major work during the primary to produce Barack’s landslide wins of North Shore Democratic township organization endorsements. And, now, Schakowsky has become somewhat fixated on removing Coulson—so Barack sends the wife?

Yes, Yes, I agree- it is a small puzzle. But, as Columbo showed time and time again-if you figure out all the small puzzles, the larger ones will follow.

And, besides, the bagel place where Michelle [2 Ls] Obama is going to help Michele [1 L] Bromberg? It is not even the best bagel place in Skokie. Not even close.
The suburban edition of "Public Affairs," is regularly broadcast every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8:30 pm on Comcast Cable Channel 19 in Bannockburn, Deerfield, Ft. Sheridan, Glencoe, Highland Park, Highwood, Kenilworth, Lincolnshire, Riverwoods and Winnetka.

The suburban edition also is broadcast every Tuesday night at 8:30 p.m. on Comcast Cable Channel 19 in Buffalo Grove, Elk Grove Village, Hoffman Estates, Lincolnwood, Morton Grove, Niles, Northfield, Palatine, Rolling Meadows and Wilmette and every Tuesday night at 8:30 p.m. on Comcast Cable Channel 35 in Arlington Heights, Bartlett, Glenview, Golf, Des Plaines, Hanover Park, Mt. Prospect, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Prospect Heights, Schaumburg, Skokie, Streamwood and Wheeling.

The City edition of Public Affairs airs throughout the City of Chicago every Monday night at 8:30 on Cable Ch. 21 [CANTV].

The “Public Affairs,” show with State Rep. Candidate Bromberg will air throughout the City of Chicago on Monday, Oct. 18, 2004 at 8:30 pm on Cable Ch. 21.
Jeff Berkowitz, host and producer of “Public Affairs,” can be reached at