Skip to comments.Real birthday bashing at GOP Senate debate [Candidates debate on Reagan's birthday]
Posted on 02/07/2002 11:33:36 AM PST by BillyBoy
February 7, 2002
BY SCOTT FORNEK, STAFF REPORTER
Not surprisingly, all three Republican Senate candidates paid homage to Ronald Reagan during a spirited debate Wednesday, but Gold Coast businessman John Cox turned to another president to deliver a blow guaranteed to make any Republican wince.
"While I'm at it, Mr. Oberweis, you have a problem with the truth, because you don't tell the whole truth," Cox told rival Jim Oberweis. "We don't need another Bill Clinton."
It was the roughest jab in an often contentious debate between Cox, Oberweis and state Rep. Jim Durkin--who are all running in the March 19 primary, hoping for a chance to run against incumbent Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin in November.
By chance, the City Club-sponsored event fell on Reagan's 91st birthday--and all three debaters mentioned the former president. But none paid much attention to Reagan's famed 11th commandment, "Thou shalt not criticize other Republicans."
Cox was the most aggressive, presenting Durkin with a canned ham that he called a present for Durkin's support of Gov. Ryan's $12 billion Illinois FIRST program.
"We thought we'd give you a little pork," Cox said.
Durkin later downplayed the stunt to reporters, saying "you know, coming from the ham that gave it to me."
And Durkin took a dig at Cox's and Oberweis' wealth, saying "unlike my two opponents, I'm like the 99 percent that are not millionaires."
Oberweis, 55, is chairman of the family-owned Oberweis Dairy in Aurora and two investment firms. Cox, 46, is a lawyer, accountant and businessman. Both Oberweis and Cox are pumping their own wealth into their campaigns.
Durkin, 41, a resident of west suburban Westchester, is in his fourth term in the state House--a theme he used repeatedly.
"The issues I've talked about are the issues I've worked on for the last 7 1/2 years," Durkin said. "I think I've got a good record in Springfield."
But Cox tried to turn that record against Durkin, considered by many GOP insiders to be the front-runner.
"You've been a consistent vote for casino gambling, for the casino deal, for the liquor tax, for the license [plate] tax--for all the deals that have really made the public sick and cynical," Cox said.
The three also tangled over abortion. Both Cox and Durkin said they would support a constitutional amendment banning abortion. But Oberweis said he would not.
"I have a great deal of respect for the framers of our Constitution," Oberweis said. "And as a conservative, I would be hesitant to vote for an amendment."
All three say they oppose abortion, but Oberweis supports a woman's right to have the procedure--a position Cox attacked.
"I'm not going to equivocate," Cox said. "You know, saying you're personally pro-life but not favoring an amendment is like saying you're personally for freedom, but you think slavery's a good idea."
Oberweis hit Cox for saying he supports reconfiguring O'Hare Airport's runways but not expanding the airport--and putting a third airport in Peotone first.
" I'm not going to equivocate and try to play both sides of the coin like that," Oberweis said. "It's clear we must meet the needs of the future. Now, having said that, I'm not at all sure that the George Ryan-Mayor Daley plan that has been proposed is the right plan."
But the sharpest exchange came when Oberweis jabbed Cox and Durkin for lacking campaign funds. Oberweis' disclosure reports show him with $1,033,194 in the bank--$1 million of it his own money--at the end of the year. Durkin had just $36,593, and Cox had just $36,113.
"I'd like to ask the other two candidates to address the finance issue," Oberweis said.
Cox insisted he has already put in $600,000 of his own money and has another $1 million at his disposal, but has not yet reported it because of a clerical error by his campaign treasurer.
"You don't tell the whole truth," Cox told Oberweis. "You know that there are newspaper articles out there that say I have a million dollars in an account, but you persist in laying around saying I don't have enough resources. We don't need another Bill Clinton."
Each of the three argued he is the one to beat the popular Durbin. Oberweis displayed a Durbin fund-raising letter that singled Oberweis out as a potential threat, Durkin said he was "the only one who's going to be able to beat Dick Durbin," and Cox said "Durbin is plenty worried about my ability to talk about the issues."
But one GOP consultant who sat through the debate was not so sure: "Do you really think any of these three have Dick Durbin quaking in his boots?"
MOST DUBIOUS CLAIM TO FAME
"I've got the experience. I'm the only one of the three of us who's run a federal race. I ran for Congress two years ago."
-- John Cox, who spent more than $644,000 of his own money in the 10th Congressional District primary, coming in fifth in an 11-candidate race with 10 percent of the vote
A POSITION TOUGH TO ARGUE WITH
" I happen to be one of those who is very concerned about seeing someone put to death."
--Jim Oberweis, who supports Gov. Ryan's moritorium on the death penalty
STRANGEST ARGUMENT "In the Year 2000 we spent $2 billion on all federal, state and local races. We spent $8 billion on potato chips. I think politics is a lot more important than potato chips." -- John Cox on why he does not support the McCain-Feingold campaign finance bill
GOP candidates for U.S. Senate do lunch debate
Thursday, February 7, 2002
By Kristen McQueary
Wednesday afternoon, Republican hopefuls for U.S. Senate traded barbs over chicken Parmesan and pork at a City Club luncheon.
During his introduction, candidate John Cox, a certified public accountant and businessman who ran for Congress on the North Side last year, reached into a plastic shopping bag and presented one of his opponents with a gag birthday gift: a ham.
"Given that you've been down in Springfield so long working on all those great programs, we thought we'd give you a little pork," Cox told state Rep. Jim Durkin, referencing projects funded at the request of state lawmakers often characterized as unnecessary "pork."
Durkin, whom Cox has criticized for voting in favor of Gov. George Ryan's Illinois FIRST program, quickly put the canned ham under the table.
While Democrats can boast a strong incumbent in U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, Republicans face a three-way primary race between candidates considered weaker in name recognition.
With Democrats holding a one-person majority in the U.S. Senate, Republicans are hungry to boost their numbers in Washington.
During Wednesday's luncheon, Cox and Oberweis were the only candidate who said he would support an amendment banning abortions, even in cases of rape and incest. "If you're not sure how you would vote on it, I say err on the side of protecting life," he said. Durkin said he "plans to support an amendment of that nature." Oberweis said he would be hesitant to support changing the constitution.
Cox, an Alsip native and self-made millionaire, built several businesses and often touts his involvement in keeping Jays Potato Chips from leaving Chicago. He is a divorced father with three girls who ran for Congress in a crowded race for the 10th Congressional District in the north suburbs last year.
Cox has criticized Oberweis for using his dairy business to boost his name recognition state-wide through Oberweis Dairy advertisements and billboards.
Oberweis, a lifelong Aurora resident, said the company has been running radio ads for several years to promote the business and attract qualified workers. Married for 34 years and a grandfather of five, Oberweis said his experience growing his business would give him a unique perspective in Washington.
All three candidates support reconfiguration of runways at O'Hare and the construction of a third regional airport. Oberweis, a licensed pilot, said he was concerned the plan to expand O'Hare proposed by Mayor Richard Daley and Gov. George Ryan might not be safe. From what he's seen, the runways are too close, and pilots would have to cross active runways to get across the airfield, he said.
Still, Oberweis said O'Hare "is the greatest asset in the state of Illinois, and we must do whatever is necessary to meet the needs of the future."
Durkin a seven-year state representative, attorney and father of four young girls was the only candidate who said he supports a campaign finance reform bill currently in Congress. The bill would eliminate "soft money" in elections, which is money raised and spent by parties to get around disclosure laws.
Cox, who opposes the death penalty and didn't support it for Oklahoma bomber Timothy McVeigh, said he would support a death sentence for Osama bin Laden. In times of war or in acts of self-defense, Cox said he supports capital punishment.
Durkin said the death penalty is the "only appropriate punishment for people like Timothy McVeigh."
No one noticed my last varity on FR, so I figured it's time for some news stories! We have a heated three-way primary race for both the Senate and the Governorship in Illinois, unfortuantely the Republicans in the Senate nomination are nowhere as strong as the gubernatoral candidates.
It should be interesting to note...I'm support Jim Durkin in the primary, who has been derided by some of my fellow freepers as the most the "liberal" candidate-- but last night's debate seems to show Durkin was the ONLY candidate who opposed George Ryan's endless death penalty "moritorium", as well as the only candidate who has to spine to say McVeigh deserved to die.
Oberweis seems to be conservative on guns and finance/taxes (maybe soem economic issues), but liberal on everything else(abortion, capital punishment, euthenisia, etc.) I'm thinking he'd be happier in the Libertarian Party.
Cox seems to be conservative for whatever issue grassroot Republican voters are interested in the time. Ever since Oberweis has been running, Cox has been making the most of his pro-life stance, and ever since Durkin announced, Cox has been running around telling everyone he's Jim Edgar-like on budget issues (extremely frugal). He is marginally pro-gun but won't give specifics, and unfortuantely he supports George Ryan's views on the death penalty.
Durkin is conservative on everything but some taxes, and some gun laws. He probably rates around a C- or D+ on those, but he's still not as bad as Durbin.
I'll give my fellow freepers an 80% chance I'll vote for Durkin (still not set in stone here). Cox has a chance for my vote if he'll stop artifically pandering, and if he can show he'll be more than token opposition to Durbin. Oberweis is off my "consideration" list unless he apologizes for comparing the pro-life movement to the Tailban. If there's one form of Catholic leadership bashing I can't stand, it's one that comes from a self-proclaimed Catholic.
Personally, I would like to see someone (Durkin) take out Dickless Durbin. I think the gun issue is getting old, even with the soccer moms, although you should expect Durbin to bring it up.
I hope O'Malley gets the nod against Blagomilosovic, or whoever the Dems nominate this year. If the Republican candidate doesn't whimper when attacked on the gun issue (which, from living in Chicago, seems to be an obsession with female suburbanites) and tags Blagomilosevic as a tool of the Chicago machine, we can pull it off!
Find a way to win, my Illinois FReeper friends...with the most conservative candidate possible.
If he is liberal on everything else, he is probably not as conservative on guns and finance/taxes as he "seems".
Thanks for the ping.
At least none of these guys have that annoying sneer that Durbin sports. ;-)
The bill would eliminate "soft money" in elections, which is money raised and spent by parties to get around disclosure laws.
That's bad news, why didn't you bold it? You bolded everything else that was bad from the other two candidates. Anyone that currently supports making the media and unions the only way for politicians to get their word out, has a serious problem...
Just so you know, the reason I haven't posted much is my DSL is out and I've been busy at work...signing off for the night...
That, and my work schedule has been awash in 70+ hour workweeks. Who's the front-runner here? I suspect Cox, but can someone confirm?
The only way the Republicans are going to keep the Governor's mansion is if either O'Malley or Ryan win the Republican primary. If that stupid b*tch Corinne Wood wins, it's over in this state.
Corinne Wood has gotten so desperate, she's sunk 1.5 million into her own campaign (which she later "paid herself back" after some fund-raisers) and has taken to running ONE commercial in the Chicago market, which labels Ryan & O'Malley "extreme" on abortion. Wood is also heavily courting Democrat Women to cross-over since Wood is "pro-murdering unborn children" and against guns.
Sickening how it's going here in the land of Lincoln.
Of the three, O'Malley is my choice. O'Malley will wipe the floor with any of the democRAT candidates running today.