Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Rolling out Jim Oberweis

Reliable sources say that Republican Jim Oberweis is planning to announce his candidacy for Governor next week-- on April 14th. Perhaps coincidentally, that is the same day that the Will County Republican Party [Chairman Jack Partelow] is hosting a Lincoln Day dinner at the Bolingbrook Golf Club, with President Bush’s key strategist and adviser Karl Rove showing up to be the keynote speaker at the dinner.

Rove, of course, is generally given credit for being the “brains” behind the Bush political organization and for masterminding the President’s election in 2000 and his re-election last November. Rove has also reportedly been involved with the Bush family for the last three decades and has worked on all of W’s campaigns.

White House Chief of Staff Andy Card is often referred to as the Bush adviser who recommended that the Bush Administration not begin the Iraq initiative until September, 2002 because you never “roll out,” a new product in August. I wonder what the Bush administration thinks about April roll-outs. Perhaps we will find out.

Oberweis declined in a telephone interview this morning to confirm or deny that he would “announce,” next Thursday. He simply repeated a phrase that he has said before that he “would be announcing within the next 60 days.” However, what he has said before was that he would be announcing within the next “30 to 60 days.” His somewhat different phrasing this morning is more consistent with an April 14 announcement. Oberweis also made it clear that he has decided to become a candidate for Governor; it is simply a matter of when to announce.

Oberweis said he is planning to attend the Rove Lincoln Day Dinner next week, but when I asked him if he was “going to try to arrange …five or ten minutes with Rove [at the Dinner]," Oberweis said he, "had not even thought about it." He did say that “it is probably a good idea and I probably should try to talk to him.”

Oberweis did emphasize that he agrees with the President “on 95% of the issues. There are two issues that I disagree with the President on: Immigration Policy and the re-importation of American made drugs from Canada. I don’t think that the Republican Party has ever been a party that would refuse to support a candidate who agrees on 95% of the issues and disagrees on 5% of the issues. I don’t think the President would in any way object to me. In fact, I have met with the President, after that, as you will recall, and he had no negative comments whatsoever [referring to the brief exchange that Oberweis had when the President greeted him (as he did others in attendance) last year at the $25,000 per head fundraiser at the Winnetka home of then Aon Corporation CEO and President Pat Ryan].”

I reminded Oberweis that if President Bush did object to him or his statements, he would usually leave that communication to his other folks, like Karl Rove. Oberweis responded, “Karl Rove has certainly given no negative comments to me whatsoever, either, but- you know, I haven’t specifically talked to him about it.”

If, in fact, Oberweis is planning to roll-out his campaign next Thursday, as reported, above-- he might want to reconsider. Remember how Jack Ryan’s team decided to release the famous “sealed documents,” to the press on the same day as the Bush Cheney Campaign's Illinois Chairman, Jim Edgar, kicked off the President’s re-election campaign in Illinois, thus apparently further alienating former Governor Edgar and his friends. Learning from that, Oberweis might want to be careful about possibly upstaging Rove.

Jim Oberweis ran in the Republican Primary for the U.S. Senate nomination in both 2002 and 2004, coming in second both times. Is the third time the charm?
Jeff Berkowitz, Host and Producer of Public Affairs and an Executive Recruiter doing Legal Search, can be reached at