Republican attorney general candidate Paul Schimpf last week gave a brief talk at a luncheon sponsored by the Sangamon County Republican Network.
Schimpf, a former lawyer in the Marine Corps, had this to say about the formidable challenge of taking on Democratic incumbent Attorney General Lisa Madigan.
“Once you’ve helped out with the prosecution of Saddam Hussein, the proverbial ace of spades, the Madigan family just doesn’t look quite so intimidating,” he said.
Yikes. A statement like that sort of invites follow-up questions from the news media, including one asking whether the comment was a little over the top.
“I don’t think it’s over the top,” Schimpf said. “I think the Republican Party is intimidated by the Madigan family. I’m not suggesting the Madigan family is corrupt. I’m not demonizing Lisa Madigan.”
Schimpf was also asked whether he was comparing the Madigan family to the notorious Iraqi dictator.
“I don’t think I’m comparing them to Saddam Hussein,” he said. “The Madigans have the Illinois Republican Party buffaloed. I’ve dealt with weightier matters than a statewide election in Illinois.”
Just to be clear, Schimpf did not prosecute Hussein himself. That was left up to the Iraqis. However, he said he did advise the prosecution team on strategy and other techniques for effectively pressing their case. He said he also rehearsed the prosecutors on presentation prior to key moments in the trial.
A while ago, Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka launched a website called The Ledger that contains a bunch of financial information about state government.
She said the site has had 2.5 million hits since it was launched in March. Care to guess what part of the site has proved most popular? Topinka said it’s the part that lists public worker salaries.
“It has been viewed on every continent except Antarctica. And we’re working on penguins just to see if we can get that in order to make it universal,” Topinka said on the widespread popularity of The Ledger website.
All in good fun
There was a story out of Virginia last week about the Virginia Executive Mansion. Apparently a tradition there is for an outgoing governor to play a trick – in good fun, of course – on the incoming governor, according to a story in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
It quoted Gov. Bob McDonnell, who said that when he moved into the mansion, cell phones would start ringing in the middle of the night. It turned out his predecessor, Timothy Kaine, had hidden some phones in the walls and other locations in the mansion. It took people a couple of days to track down the phones and determine they were Kaine’s parting trick.
Kaine’s predecessor, the story said, left a cardboard cutout of himself in the shower as his trick.
You may ask whether Illinois has a similar tradition.
We don’t know, because no one seems to live in the Executive Mansion anymore.