Roland Burris' Buddies Win "Street-Fighting" Award

Handlers staged Senate spectacle

By Ivanna Hampton
|  Thursday, Feb 4, 2010  |  Updated 8:36 AM CDT
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Burris: I Am the Senator from Illinois

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Senate Appointee Roland Burris Rejected

Roland Burris was told his credentials are not in order and therefore he would not be seated.
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A pair of Chicago businessmen recently earned a top political honor for their role in getting Senator Burris seated in the Senate.

Jason Erkes and Fred Lebed won the "Best Bare-Knuckled Street Fight Victory" award from "Campaigns and Elections Magazine," Crain's reports.

Try and recall that rainy day in January when a jubilant Burris, fresh from his Rod Blagojevich appointment, walked up to the doors of the Capitol intent on taking his place among the U.S. Senate

... and remember the sour look that spread across Burris' face as he was turned away by the Washington club.

He was crushed; how would he explain the inscription on his mausoleum?

Erkes and Lebed, his handlers, wouldn't let the disgrace stand. The pair alerted the media, rounded up some reporters and cameras and staged a guerilla press conference across the street from the Capitol.

The Senate leadership relented and agreed to seat Burris. However, the Democratic Party turned a cold-shoulder to any prospects of supporting him if he decided to run for President Obama's former seat.

Washington heavy hitters George Stepanopoulos, James Carville and Christine Todd Whitman, who judged the Reed Awards --- named for "Campaigns and Elections Magazine," founder Stanley Foster Reed --  thought Lebed and Erkes deserved the "bare knuckle" honor for their "oustanding achievement in campaign excellence."

Too bad the Chicago duo couldn't help Burris once he was actually seated. For shame.

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