Why does Alexi Giannoulias always save his juiciest info for the Washington media?
First, he leaked the story about Mark Kirk’s military record to the Washington Post. Now, he’s telling Top Line, a webcast put out by the Post and ABC News, that he thinks Obama will campaign for him in Illinois. Alexi, why are you talking about your Senate campaign to someone in D.C.? They don’t even have a senator.
Before Giannoulias got to tout his friendship with the president, though, Top Line’s hosts asked him all the questions he didn’t want to answer, bringing up the failure of Broadway Bank, Giannoulias’s $30,000 tax refund, and the Rod Blagojevich trial.
First, they asked Giannoulias about the new financial regulatory reform bill, which his opponent, Mark Kirk, voted against.
“Is there something the federal government can do to prevent the failure of Broadway Bank and banks like that around the country?” Rick Klein wanted to know.
“We’re talking about two different situations,” Giannoulias said, uncomfortably. “One is the Wall Street banks that are engaging in the CBSs and the CBOs. What we need to do is help community banks that were engaged in real estate lending, that when you have a real estate market collapse by 30 or 40 percent, they’re in trouble.”
Then Giannoulias was asked if he’d made good on his promise to donate his $30,000 tax return to charity.
“Not yet,” he said. “I haven’t gotten the refund yet.”
But he insisted the donation isn’t a political move, saying, “I’d like to help in any way I can.”
Then, he made an attempt to turn the issue against Kirk by insisting he’d given reporters a closer look at his taxes -- even though he released them late on Friday, before the 4th of July weekend.
“What’s important, especially here in Illinois, as all of you know, there’s been a lack of transparency, a lack of ethics, a lack of integrity, and unlike my opponent, who keeps his tax returns hermetically sealed in a closet for reporters to check out every so often, I have made my returns public for the last five years,” Giannoulias.
So even though Giannoulias isn’t paying taxes this year, he’s man enough to admit it publicly.
On the testimony that he was a go-between in Obama’s effort to get Valerie Jarrett appointed to the Senate, Giannoulias said, “I never spoke to the president or the ex-governor.” (He spoke to the ex-governor’s chief of staff, John Harris.)
Finally, Giannoulias got to talk about Obama.
“I have a feeling he’ll be out here a few times before November, and I think everyone realizes this will be one of the most important races in the country, a race that’s bigger than me, bigger than Kirk,” he said. “This is a race that’s about the future of the country. We need to have a vision of where the country’s going to be in 2040, 2050, in a hundred years, and that’s why I’m running for the U.S. Senate.”
Ah, this race is bigger than Illinois. That’s why Giannoulias doesn’t talk about that stuff here.