Thursday, August 5, 2010

Obama returns to Illinois for U.S. Senate campaign dominated by scandals

President Barack Obama, who left Chicago promising hope and change, appears in his adopted hometown today to raise money for a U.S. Senate candidate amid reminders of the difficulty of getting away from the tarnish of a place renowned for its political corruption.

Obama’s speech at a downtown hotel for Alexi Giannoulias, the Democrat seeking the seat he once held, will be two blocks from the federal courthouse where jurors are weighing the fate of Rod Blagojevich. The former Illinois governor stands accused of trying to sell the Senate post to the highest bidder.

Giannoulias and his Republican opponent in the Senate race, Mark Kirk, have spent much of the campaign debating who is the more scandalized. Giannoulias has dealt with fallout from the failure in April of a bank his family ran, while Kirk was forced to apologize for repeatedly exaggerating his biography.

“Maybe the candidate pool isn’t as deep as it used to be,” said Charles Wheeler, a public affairs professor at the University of Illinois at Springfield.

Wheeler's comments were featured in a August 5, 2010, article by Bloomberg News.

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