Thursday, March 09, 2006

Post LWV Debate Pressers better than Debate

What follows are excerpts from last night’s post League of Women Voters Debate pressers, held separately with Republican Gubernatorial candidates Brady and Oberweis. Excerpts from the pressers with Topinka and Gidwitz will follow later today.

Jeff Berkowitz: Do you agree with Andy Shaw? Would you have protected that student at Elmwood Park [School District] who sought to attend school on a temporary or tourist visa?

Sen. Bill Brady [D- Bloomington]: I don’t know the specifics of it but I will tell you that I think we have an obligation under the Constitution.

Jeff Berkowitz: The student was on a tourist visa to be here for six to nine months over a five year period.

Sen. Bill Brady It is my understanding that the Supreme Court has ruled on this issue, and it is pretty clear. [Ed. Note: Actually, not so. The Supreme Court has ruled that undocumented or illegal immigrants are entitled to attend schools, but it has not ruled on whether tourists with supporting documentation for short stays are entitled to stay much longer than that and attend schools in the United States; That was the issue to be decided by the Court that was dropped by the School District in exchange for having funds and athletic participation rights restored].

Jeff Berkowitz: Was he [Gov. Blagojevich] wrong to put Sister Muhammed there [on the Commission on Discrimination and Hate Crimes]?

Sen. Brady: Absolutely.

Jeff Berkowitz: Why?

Sen. Bill Brady: Because she is a follower of Lewis Farrakhan-- who has spoken out publicly in a hateful way.

Dick Kay: Why wouldn’t the Board, why wouldn’t they- those who resigned, just call on the Hate Crimes Commission to take a resolution condemning Farrakhan?

Sen. Bill Brady: We need to abolish it [the Commission] because we can’t trust this Governor. This Governor plays politics with Illinois citizens, their lives. And, when he plays politics with the Hate Crimes commission, he’s gone too far. We can’t trust him.

Dick Kay: How’s he playing politics?

Sen. Bill Brady: You know how he’s playing politics.

Dick Kay: All right, but tell me:

Sen. Bill Brady: He’s decided that the African American community is more important to his re-election than the Jewish community. He doesn’t care about any discrimination.

Jeff Berkowitz: Judy Baar Topinka seemed to support you this evening. It’s rumored that you’re in this campaign at the behest of the Edgar [a Freudian slip], excuse me, of the Topinka group to drain votes from Jim Oberweis and maybe Ron Gidwitz.

Sen. Bill Brady: Who is rumoring that?

Jeff Berkowitz: Lots of people say that.

Sen. Bill Brady: First of all, let me thank Judy Baar Topinka tonight for her endorsement. I think what she did tonight was polite and kind. Let me tell you something. My family and I personally have invested over half a million dollars in this race. I am not doing it to elect anybody else.
Jeff Berkowitz: At the end of the Debate, you said balancing the budget is the first priority. I thought you said your first priority was ending the culture of corruption. So, which is it?

Jim Oberweis: Jeff, that is a good point. I think they are both incredibly important. Certainly ending the culture of corruption is the first step in balancing the budget. Those two go together. They’re not one or the other.
Jeff Berkowitz: Do you think that Judy Baar Topinka did shred documents? Improperly?

Jim Oberweis: There clearly is evidence of that. It was reported in newspapers There is very clear sworn testimony that she ordered them shreded.

Jeff Berkowitz: Do you think Marty Kovarik is credible.? Is Kovarik credible?

Jim Oberweis: I will leave that for the press to determine. I think there are some good investigative journalists. Perhaps you are one.
Jeff Berkowitz: Do you think you can improve education without increasing taxes?

Jim Oberweis: The answer is yes. [the portion of the presser with Oberweis concludes].