Monday, February 18, 2008

Grand Old Partisan: Setting the Obama Record Straight

Earlier this week, Grand Old Partisan issued what I'm sure is to be a continued party of the Clinton-McCain attacks on Barack Obama: "Where's the beef?"

GOP charged that Obama was all talk, no action on education, health care, transportation and government reform.

Before I respond, let me offer a counter challenge to GOP: What have Hillary Clinton and John McCain ACCOMPLISHED to improve education, health care, transportation and government ethics?

OBAMA ON EDUCATION:

- SB 19 (LAW) enacted school reforms backed by Mayor Daley

- SB 533 (law) expanded teacher training;

- SB 903 (LAW) expanded early childhood education;

- SB 1369 (LAW) created Illinois' first statewide capital needs assessment for schools;

ON HEALTH CARE:

- HB 2268 (LAW) Created the Health Care Justice Act, creating a bipartisan committee of experts to develop a universal health care plan for Illinois;

- SB 59 (LAW) created safety report cards for hospitals;

- SB 130 (LAW) Extended the children's health insurance program;

- SB 263 (LAW) HIV counselling and testing for pregnant women;

- SB 989 (LAW) expand health coverage for the developmentally disabled;

- SB 1417 (LAW) require insurance companies to cover colorectal cancer;

- SB 1418 (LAW) banned the sale of diet pill ephedra, linked to deaths in IL;

- HB 6 (LAW) expanded disaster preparedness programs to include hospitals and first responders;

ON TRANSPORTATION

- SB 1408 (LAW) Bipartisan measure to expand tranportation programs in Illinois;

- SB 46 (LAW) Extended tax credits for bio-fuels;

ON GOVERNMENT REFORM:

- SB 15 (LAW) Required videotaping of homocide interrogations;

- SB 30 (LAW) Cracked down on racial profiling by police;

- SB 1586 (LAW) Strengthened IL Open Meetings Act;

- SB 702 (LAW) Banned solicitation of state employees for campaign contributions, created the IL Inspector General's Office, and made other sweeping changes;

- SB 706 (LAW) Creates an Inspector General's office for the IL SOS to investigate corruption;

GOP uses the same-old attacks that have always been used against advocates of campaign finance reform. George Ryan used them very effectively against Glenn Poshard.

The argument goes something like this: Barack Obama says that Hillary Clinton has raised more money from lobbyists and PACs than any candidate, Democrat or Republican. But Barack Obama used to take money from lobbyists and PACs, so if Hillary Clinton is doing something wrong now, Barack Obama must have been doing something wrong then.

Well, as a State Senator, Obama did raise $93,000 in contributions of more than $1,000. The largest was $10,000 from Gold Coast philanthropist Abby O'Neil.

But he raised $379,000 from donors giving $150 to $1,000 (77%).

Given Illinois "Wild West" campaign finance laws, that's not too shabby.

Compare that to Illinois House GOP Leader Tom Cross:

Contributions of more than $1,000: $5.5 million (66%)

Contributions of $150 to $1,000: $2.2 million (33%)

Or Tom Cross' #2 man, Brent Hassert:

More than $1000: $806,000 (45%)

$150 to $1,000: $1 million (55%)

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