Saturday, April 22, 2006

Meincke "...[George Ryan] would have been found guilty far faster."

Joel Weisman [Chicago Week moderator: Let’s talk about one big thing that didn’t happen and that was [former Governor] George Ryan taking the stand [in his own defense]. In retrospect, do you think that might have made a difference?

Paul Meincke [ABC-7 News]: Yeah, I think the deliberations would have been far shorter. He would have been found guilty far faster.
Bob Crawford [WBBM 780 AM Radio, Political Editor Emeritus]: I think George Ryan’s gruff demeanor would not have come across very well with the jury and I have a feeling that under the pressure of constant questioning by the prosecution, he might have even blown his cool, and I think that’s what Dan Webb was really worried about—putting George up there and having George start running wild.
WTTW’s, Chicago Tonight, Chicago Week in Review, April 21, 2006

I would say Meincke's and Crawford's comments pretty much support what I wrote two months ago [See here], in contrast to the view of NBC-5 News, WTTW and Chicago Sun-Times political expert Carol Marin, who seems to have gone astray on this one:

Carol Marin: And that’s what we always heard that he wanted…he’s a great politician, he [George Ryan] knows how to work a crowd, he was ready to convince the jury.
George Ryan sweet talk the Jury? I don’t think so. Maybe Carol is older than I thought and older than she looks. Maybe she remembers a younger, better politician George Ryan than I ever saw. Because the George Ryan I remember running for Governor, or even Secretary of State, was no charmer of the common man or the common woman, or any regular voter, for that matter.
So, if George was a “great politician,” as Marin puts it, it was because he was a master of backroom deals and tossing the taxpayers and others’ money around—and translating those tosses into votes …

Yes, George Ryan could work a crowd. A crowd of pols, that is. So, when he gave the State of the State or the State of the Budget, there was pork for everybody, Democrats and Republicans, and George would kiss them all, as long as they would kiss George’s backside …but that ain’t “working a crowd.” More like rotund George working the Rotunda, doing his quid pro quos.

… Work a crowd? Sweet talk the Jury? Not really, Carol. George was better at “working you over.”

Jeff Berkowitz, Show Host/Producer of "Public Affairs," and Executive Legal Recruiter doing legal search can be reached at