Saturday, January 07, 2006

Watch Topinka-Birkett: Their first Presser, at the Hop

Judy Baar Topinka: …Joe Birkett is a fighter, figuratively and literally, he has taken on the special interests… he will fight for the working class of people here in Illinois. I like that. I like that

Republican Primary Gubernatorial candidate Judy Baar Topinka, introducing her running mate, Joe Birkett at their December 15, 2005 press conference
Last month, you read about the Topinka-Birkett press conference that formalized their Governor/Lt. Gov. ticket. Now, you can watch it at the Public Affairs Cinema.

The tape runs about 28 minutes, with the first half devoted to a two minute statement by Judy and a twelve minute statement by Joe, followed by Q & A, with both Judy and Joe, and wife Patti, in the second half of the show. [So, for those pressed for time, you may want to move the dial quickly over to the middle of the press conference]. The Birkett high school/college age kids are in the background, through-out, watching Dad. Indeed, sort of a role reversal of the role played by parents when their kids win academic or sports awards, or something like that. Presumably proud, but a bit awkward all around.

The dynamic duo of Judy and Joe seem a bit unsure of themselves when they attempt to answer questions regarding “public policy position sharing,” especially on the issue of abortion [as Judy and Joe are worked over a bit on the issue of abortion by Public Affairs' Jeff Berkowitz and ABC7's Andy Shaw] but perhaps Judy and Joe have worked out the kinks by now.

The Chicago Tribune's John Chase has an unusual presser cameo on the hotel deal, and its aftermath, that will never go away. The Tribune really loves that deal.

NBC5's Mary Ann Ahern has a behind the camera role, so to speak, as she wonders about the Birkett change of heart on a statewide race.

And, it ends with Berkowitz trying to operate a camera, question Birkett, walk backwards/forwards and shake hands with media friends, all at the same time. Almost as challenging an act of multi-tasking as President Ford's attempts to chew gum and walk at the same time. Boys and Girls, don't try this at home.

But, seriously, Public Affairs has asked gubernatorial candidate Topinka to appear on our show, with or without her running mate, so perhaps we will get a chance to see the Topinka-Birkett ticket interact with each other and answer questions in depth.

Judy has been camera shy, at least for the last few years, when it comes to Public Affairs. However, she did appear on the show about five years ago: twice, in her role as State Treasurer. Joe appeared on the show in 2002, in his role as candidate for Attorney General. So, hope springs eternal in the heart, if not the mind, of a cable political talk show host.
"Public Affairs" Show Host and Executive Legal Recruiter Jeff Berkowitz can be reached at