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On the US front line II

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Robin Lustig | 12:23 UK time, Monday, 4 February 2008

There are some very disappointed Republicans in Sangamon County, Illinois. Every year for the past 104 years they’ve held a Lincoln Day dinner to mark Abraham Lincoln’s birthday – and this year their guest of honour was to be Rudy Giuliani.

He’s the man they’d backed to be their party’s presidential candidate – but a couple of days before the dinner, he threw in the towel. The banners had been printed, the venue and the caterers paid for, but Mr Giuliani said he wouldn’t be able to make dinner after all. No guest of honour, no dinner.

So now the local Republicans are scratching their heads and wondering where that leaves them. True, this tends to be Obama country, but that doesn’t mean there are no Republicans, out in the Springfield suburbs and beyond. Will they go for John McCain? Probably, but I didn’t get the impression there was much enthusiasm. They reckon he could probably beat Hillary Clinton … but that Obama, he’d be a much tougher proposition.

Which is why the Democrats in Springfield are grinning from ear to ear. They love their local senator – and they love the idea that some day soon they may even be able to say “I’ve met the President of the United States”. (Obama used to be an Illinois state senator before he was elected to the US Senate, so they saw quite a bit of him in and around the State Capitol.) They expect to be weighing the votes rather than counting them, much as they will be in the rest of Illinois, where the most recent opinion polls suggest Barack Obama will get more than 50 per cent of the Democratic Party primary vote.

So tomorrow’s the big day. I’m now in Chicago and will be paying a visit to the stock exchange shortly to see how the local economy is faring. I hope to be on air tonight, and then again tomorrow and Wednesday, by which time I’ll be in Washington DC to look at the national picture. They tell me there’s no snow there …


  1. At 05:45 PM on 04 Feb 2008, Mark wrote:

    Republicans in Illinois have been disappointed for a long time. When mayor Daley ran Chicago, his machine and the Mafia delivered elections to the Democrats time and time again...for a price. One theory has it that President Kennedy was assassinated by the Mafia because they had delivered Chicago, Illinois, and the Presidency with it in 1960 when Nixon actually won but Kennedy appointed his brother Bobby as Attorney General where he continued his one man crusade against the Mafia and its businesses. The assassination according to this theory was a paid "hit."

    There is no snow on the ground in Central New Jersy and likely points south so there wouldn't be any on the ground in Washington DC. This is very unusual for this time of year, quite a surprise. It may be one of the benefits of global warming. Contrary to what environmentalists would have us believe, there will be winners if the climate really does change. This part of the US could be one of them. Ironically and also contrary to expectations, most recent summers in the Northeast have been milder in recent years, that is less hot and humid than in previous decades. Who knows, one day if this continues, there might be a reverse migration from the so called sun belt in the Southwest back to the Northeast.

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