After months of silence, President Obama has thrown in his lot with embattled Illinois Democratic Senate candidate and mob banker extraordinaire Alexi Giannoulias. During introductory remarks in Quincy, Ill., Obama offered Giannoulias a shout out, calling him the state’s “soon-to-be senator.” Here’s the (strangely elusive) video of the de facto endorsement — starting at 2:38:
Chicago’s NBC affiliate also offers bonus footage of a man-hug Obama and Giannoulias shared on stage. What a curious way for the president to convey his deep “concern” over Giannoulias’ banking practices. Clearly, Obama is working hard to improve his sparkling 50-percent home-state approval rating.
But we digress — back to Quincy.
As heavily armed brigades of riot police kept a watchful eye over a gathering of potentially dangerous right-wing extremists outside the auditorium, indoors the president railed against Wall Street greed and the pressing need to reform America’s banks. How rich. Perhaps the president wasn’t informed that a bank owned by the family of the very man he had just touted as a “soon to be senator” was recently seized by the feds. Or that said bank failed, in some measure, because of irresponsible loan practices, including multimillion-dollar deals with known mobsters. Or that the Giannoulias family managed to extract $70 million in bank dividends for themselves in recent years. Does that count as greed? At what point, Mr. President, has the Giannoulias clan “made enough money”?
For his part, young Alexi has undertaken a risible self-defense, arguing that the failure of his own family’s bank, at which he was a senior loan officer for several years, is actually the fault of … his Republican opponent, Mark Kirk. Oh, and George W. Bush, of course.
Your move, buddy:
This ad may resonate with the coveted ‘Alexi Giannoulias’s blood relatives and fiancee’ demographic, but will likely leave most voters unmoved. As Warner Todd Huston quips:
This is sort of like blaming your imaginary friend for stealing the cookies from the cookie jar, isn’t it? Of course, thousands of banks have stayed solvent by not making bad loans no matter what the “status quo” was doing, but what was the Giannoulias family doing? Taking obscene profits and making bad loans. And here is Giannoulias lamely blaming Kirk for all this? How many banks has Kirk badly administered and caused to fail? I can’t think of a one! Can you?
Shockingly, Kirk and his gubernatorial GOP counterpart, Bill Brady, are leading in multiple polls. With cash pouring in to Kirk’s coffers, it’s no small wonder that Rahm for Senate! rumors continue to swirl.