BY: Brian Hughes
President Obama poked fun at the checkered political history of his hometown Chicago on Tuesday, reminding voters in Wisconsin to vote early — but not often.
“You can only vote once — this isn’t Chicago, now,” Obama said at a rally in Milwaukee for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke.
Both parties are upping their early voting efforts, especially with low turnout expected on Election Day.
Obama was brought in to fire up the Democratic base, traveling to a ward in which he carried 99 percent of the vote in the 2012 presidential contest against Republican Mitt Romney.
Just a week before the Nov. 4 midterm elections, the White House has opted to deploy the president to liberal-leaning areas to help Democratic governors in competitive races. Obama will not appear with vulnerable Senate Democrats ahead of elections that will largely shape his final two years in office.
Former President Bill Clinton and first lady Michelle Obama also have campaigned on Burke’s behalf in Wisconsin. Democrats see Burke’s campaign against Republican Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a possible 2016 White House candidate, as one of the few marque races next month in which they can pull an upset.
Obama, seen as an albatross for other Democrats, basked in his favored political status in Milwaukee on Tuesday night.
The president said that Republicans’ policies on women’s issues were out of the “Mad-Men” era and told the friendly crowd they had a “chance to choose a governor who doesn’t put political ideology first.”
And Obama dusted off the hope and change message that propelled his first run to the White House.
“If you just sit home and complain, then of course nothing is going to change,” Obama said. “Cynicism has never ended a war, it has never cured a disease.”
CBS News) – Campaigning in one of the nation’s key U.S. Senate contests, Vice President Joe Biden said Monday that keeping Democratic control of the chamber would “break the back of the hard right” and ease gridlock in Washington.
Biden said next week’s choice between Democrat Bruce Braley and Republican Joni Ernst for the open Senate seat in Iowa was critical to the outcome. If Braley wins and the Democrats maintain their majority, he said, the Republicans in Congress will be open to compromising with Democrats on issues such as raising the federal minimum wage.
“If that happens and it will, what’s going to happen is it’s going to break the back of the hard right,” he said. “You are going to see many reasonable people in the Republican Party start to vote reasonably again. Not exactly like we do. But they are going to be open to the kind of compromise that’s always allowed this nation to move forward.”
SPECIAL: Modern Day Patriots, this is the time to stand shoulder to shoulder with our forefathers in Lexington and Concord. We need the Tea Party now more than ever.
Biden was the latest high-profile surrogate to visit Iowa as Braley, a four-term congressman, seeks a late surge in his tight race against Ernst. Hillary Clinton is coming Wednesday, and former President Bill Clinton will be in on Saturday. Biden was traveled to Rockford, Illinois, later Monday to campaign for Gov. Pat Quinn and other Democrats.
He warned that Republicans wouldn’t have the backs of working people. “They don’t come from where we come from. They don’t get it. They don’t understand how important it is,” Biden said.
In Davenport, Biden addressed activists inside a banquet hall at Modern Woodmen Park, a minor league baseball stadium along the Mississippi River. He appeared with Braley and Democratic U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack, who is trying to fend off a tough Republican challenge to win a fifth term.
Biden said he had struggled to negotiate compromises with Republicans in the House and Senate over the last four years because the deals were not palatable to Tea Party members in those chambers. He said voters in America had consensus on many policies that were being blocked as a result.
“If we don’t stop the march of the Tea Party now, those majority Republicans in the House and Senate who know better are never going to have the courage to stand up and vote the right way,” he said.
Republicans need to gain six seats to control the Senate. Biden warned Democrats that, “if we lose, we’re going to be pushed back another six or eight years.” He said if tea party conservatives such as Ernst prevail, moderate Republicans “will be scared” to work with Democrats because they will fear primary challenges from the right.
Biden did not mention Ernst by name — calling her the “woman who is running against Bruce” — but he criticized the state senator’s policy positions. He said her call for abolishing the Department of Education was a “bad idea.” He also criticized Ernst for a comment in which she said Medicaid recipients “have no personal responsibility for their health care,” saying the program helps struggling families afford care in nursing homes and treatment for disabled children.
“They don’t have any responsibility?” he asked.
Ernst campaigned Monday in northeastern Iowa with U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley.
In a statement, Ernst spokeswoman Gretchen Hamel said, “While Congressman Braley is hanging out with Obama administration officials at private events, Joni is traveling all 99 counties to meet undecided voters.”
Voter frustration gives GOP gubernatorial challengers hope in Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland
(Washington Times) – They call it “crushing the middle class” or “the big squeeze” or just plain “irresponsible.”
Regardless of the description they use, Republican candidates for governor in some of the Democratic Party’s most dependable strongholds are finding receptive audiences of voters fed up with too many taxes.
Incumbent Democratic governors in Connecticut and Illinois, which rank among the states with the heaviest tax burdens, find themselves trailing or tied in polls against Republican challengers a week before elections.
In Maryland, another deep-blue state with sky-high taxes, Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, a Democrat, had to vow “no new taxes” while struggling to convince voters he deserves a promotion to the governor’s mansion. His Republican opponent, businessman Larry Hogan, has made a top issue of the dizzying proliferation of taxes during Mr. Brown’s eight-year tenure with Gov. Martin O’Malley.
Republican victories in governors races in liberal-leaning Maryland, Connecticut and Illinois would signal a strong anti-tax tide building against Democrats ahead of the 2016 presidential elections.
In TV ads, debates and on the stump, Mr. Hogan has hammered home that the O’Malley-Brown administration has levied 40 consecutive tax increases that he says “crushed the middle class.”
The increases hit income tax, sales tax, gas tax, vehicle registration fees, birth and death certificate fees, alcohol tax and bridge and tunnel tolls — to name a few.
“They’ve never met a tax they didn’t like or at least one they didn’t hike,” Mr. Hogan says in one of his TV spots.
Mr. Brown led Mr. Hogan 49 percent to 42 percent in a Baltimore Sun poll this month. In a state with twice as many registered Democrats as Republicans, the 7-point spread was too close for comfort for Mr. Brown, who did get a bump in a CBS/New York Times poll that gave him a double-digit lead.
Polls show that voters in these solid Democratic states are on the verge of tax revolts at the ballot box.
Connecticut voters are reeling from at least $1.8 billion in tax increases — the largest in state history — under Gov. Dan Malloy, a Democrat. Residents are paying higher income taxes, sales taxes, cigarette and alcohol taxes and a yoga studios tax, while tax exemptions for clothes and footwear that cost less than $50 have been eliminated.
After all that, the state nevertheless faces a $1 billion budget shortfall in 2015.
Mr. Malloy trailed Republican Thomas C. Foley 50 percent to 43 percent in a Rasmussen Reports survey this month. It gave Mr. Foley a double-digit advantage over Mr. Malloy on handling taxes, 50 percent to 37 percent, and government spending, 47 percent to 38 percent.
Mr. Foley has called it “the big squeeze” that higher taxes and rising prices exert on residents suffering from stagnant or falling wages. His pledge to lower taxes and freeze state spending is the cornerstone of his campaign.
“They are rejecting the higher taxes,” said Mark McNulty, communications director for the Foley campaign. “Malloy has proven that his solution for everything is to raise taxes.”
A Quinnipiac University poll last week showed the race had tightened to a dead heat.
Mr. Malloy, who beat Mr. Foley by just half a percentage point in the 2010 governor’s race, has promised not to raise taxes again if elected to a second term.
He responded to attacks on his tax policy by slamming Mr. Foley for being a multimillionaire with a 116-foot yacht and his own fighter jets, who managed to owe no federal income taxes in 2011 and 2012.
Mr. Foley released tax return summaries that showed he wrote off business losses those years exceeding his tax debt.
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, a Democrat, has to fend off questions about whether he will try to raise taxes again in a lame-duck session if he loses his re-election bid to Republican Bruce Rauner.
Mr. Quinn has said he wants to make permanent a temporary increase in the state income tax to 5 percent. The rate is set to drop to 3.75 percent in January. He argues that it would be offset by a proposed $500-per-homeowner property tax rebate.
The temporary tax increases were passed in a lame-duck session just hours before the next General Assembly was sworn in.
Mr. Rauner, who has a slim lead in polls, has campaigned on a promise to get rid of the Mr. Quinn’s 67 percent income tax increase and 45 percent corporate income tax increase. He called the tax hikes irresponsible.
He also pledged to overhaul the tax code and prevent property tax increases that coincide with falling home values.
The tax increases under Mr. Quinn have topped $27 billion since 2011, according to an analysis by Forbes.
The increases included taxes on cigarettes and tobacco, Internet sales taxes and corporate taxes. One of the most painful was the 66 percent increase in personal income tax from a rate of 3 percent to 5 percent.
“We’ve become the worst state in America,” Mr. Rauner said in a recent debate.
Mr. Rauner led Mr. Quinn 48 percent to 47 percent last week in a Rasmussen Reports poll, well within the 3-point margin of error.
The survey showed Mr. Rauner had the advantage over Mr. Quinn when it came to voters’ trust on key issues of taxes (45 percent to 40 percent) and government spending (46 percent to 40 percent).
Mr. Quinn has shot back by attacking Mr. Rauner for being a billionaire and accusing him of planning to cut his own taxes while reducing spending on public schools.
The governor also has insisted that he doesn’t have “secret plans” to make the income tax increase permanent because his 2015 budget proposal included the higher 5 percent tax rate that he says is necessary to maintain the state’s “good schools.”
“I have the courage to tell people what they need to know,” Mr. Quinn said in a debate.
By Alexandra Chachkevitch
CrimeShootingsHomicideLaw EnforcementJuvenile DelinquencyJohn H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook CountyChicago Police Department
Four people, including a 17-year-old boy, were killed and 35 people were wounded in weekend shootings across Chicago.
This is how the weekend broke down for violence:
• Two people died and at least 10 people, including two teenage girls, were injured in shootings from Friday evening into Saturday.
• At least 15 people, including four teenage boys, were injured in shootings between Saturday morning and early Sunday.
• Two people, including a 17-year-old boy, were killed and 10 other people were wounded in shootings throughout Sunday.
Seven of the 35 people shot during the weekend were wounded either in the Englewood neighborhood or the West Englewood neighborhood, among 10 community areas with the most violent crime reports over the past month.
The Englewood community had 95 violent crime reports between Sept. 18 and Oct. 18, and the West Englewood community area had 91 violent crimes during the same period.
In the most recent homicide, a 36-year-old man died after being shot in the back of his head around 9:30 p.m. Sunday in the 2100 block of West 19th Street in the Heart of Chicago neighborhood on the Near West Side, said Officer Janel Sedevic, a Chicago Police Department spokeswoman.
Police officers found the man lying in the street while responding to reports of gunfire, police said. The man, whose name was not immediately released, was pronounced dead around 11:30 p.m. at Stroger Hospital, Sedevic said.
The shooting was believed to be gang-related and no one was in custody, Sedevic said.
Earlier Sunday, at noon, a 17-year-old boy was fatally wounded as he walked down the sidewalk in the 8200 block of South Houston Avenue in the South Chicago neighborhood, said Officer Ana Pacheco, another police spokeswoman. The boy was shot in the abdomen and taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Around 10:05 p.m. Friday, a 23-year-old man was fatally shot and a 24-year-old man was wounded in the South Austin neighborhood on the West Side, said Officer Hector Alfaro, a police spokesman. The two men were standing in a courtyard in the 5500 block of West Corcoran Place when someone approached and fired shots.
The 23-year-old was shot in the face and armpit and was pronounced dead at 10:45 p.m. at the scene, officials said. He was identified as Denzell Franklin, whose address was not available, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.
Police blocked off a portion of West Corcoran Place between North Central and North Pine avenues, enclosing a side of a four-story red-brick building and the entrance of a small commercial plaza.
About a dozen family members and friends of the man who died comforted each other at the scene. Some quietly wept and shook their heads as they found out the details.
On Sunday, Jermaine Powell and Joshua Grayer, both 19, were charged with first-degree murder in the attack.
Around 11:40 p.m. Friday, Charles Wright, 39, died after being shot in the stomach in the 5400 block of South Hoyne Avenue in the Back of the Yards neighborhood on the South Side, police said. He was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, police Officer Ron Gaines said. Wright, of the 3100 block of West 71st Street, died of multiple gunshot wounds.
Police blocked off the front porch of a red-brick house at the intersection of West 54th Street and South Hoyne Avenue at that shooting. One block east, evidence lay in a narrow alley between two homes on South Seeley Avenue.
An off-duty Cook County correctional officer was among people wounded in shootings this weekend.
The 36-year-old officer suffered a gunshot wound to the hand during an attempted carjacking around 3:40 a.m. Sunday in the 7900 block of South Paulina Street in the Gresham neighborhood on the South Side, police said. The officer was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, where his condition stabilized.
Authorities charged James Tillman, 21, of the 1200 block of West Hastings Street, with one felony count of first-degree attempted murder, one felony count of aggravated battery and discharge of a firearm as well as one felony count of attempted aggravated vehicular hijacking in connection with the incident, according to a news release from Chicago Police Department’s Office of News Affairs.