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The [Wednesday] Papers

Super Tuesday notes.

* Without a doubt, the best story of the night was the story of the magic pens and their invisible ink on the Far North Side.

"[W]hen I got to the booth, my pen didn't work - it was like a felt-tip marker with no ink," Amy Carlton writes at Rubber Nun. "So I went back to the desk and was told - along with several other confused voters trying to swap out their nonfunctional pens - that these were 'invisible ink' pens that would not leave marks on the ballot but would absolutely be read by the scanners . . .

"I saw a woman (let's call her Angela, because that is her name) talking to a Board of Elections official about these weird invisible ink pens. Angela had tried to vote just after 6 am, and called the BOE after her ballot was also rejected. The BOE official kept flipping through the official booklet and found nothing about invisible ink pens - neither she nor the other BOE supervisor who showed up knew anything about them. Yet the election judges kept insisting they were trained to hand out these pens, asserting that the scanners could read them."

The election judges kept insisting they were trained to hand out these pens!

"I should mention here that the committeeman and another guy working in that office both said when I asked about the invisible ink thing, Yeah, that's how they're doing it this year.'" Carlton continues. "So there's plenty of stupid to go around.

"When I got to the office I called the Chicago Tribune, the Board of Elections, a Rogers Park blogger, and my alderman."

"But officials insisted there were no dirty tricks involved," the Sun-Times assures us.

Huh? I mean, we know who the poll workers were, right? Will they be questioned? Can they be charged with election fraud? Or were those pens really magic . . .

* "'Barack is doing really bad if he can get only 52 percent of the Hispanics in Illinois,' said Ald. Danny Solis (25th), one of the only elected officials in Illinois to endorse Clinton," the Sun-Times reports.

The paper failed to mention that Solis's sister is Hillary Clinton's campaign manager.

* The most fascinating local race by far was for Cook County State's Attorney. According to the Tribune's numbers, Anita Alvarez edged out Ald. Tom Allen in both the city and the suburbs to win the Democratic nomination.

Larry Suffredin, who was endorsed by Jesse Jackson Jr. and Forrest Claypool, stomped the rest of the field in Evanston but didn't show as much widespread strength as Alvarez and Allen. Likewise, Howard Brookins's stronghold of Thornton Township in the south suburbs wasn't enough to overcome a middling showing elsewhere.

* There was no online chat on the Fox News Chicago website, by the way; they decided not to. But I did appear on-air once with the magic pen story, and I taped a segment for this morning about the failure of the national liberal netroots to topple Southwest Side U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski, who easily won re-election.

* Twenty-seven percent of Illinois voters thought that only Hillary Clinton had engaged in unfair attacks, according to exit polls cited by the New York Times. That compares to 18 percent of Missouri voters, 17 percent of New York voters, and 13 percent of California voters.

* "When Obama says he is running a grass-roots campaign, it isn't just talk," Mary Mitchell writes today in the Sun-Times.

Her colleague, Lynn Sweet, however, notes that Obama "draws votes from people with higher incomes and educations." Elsewhere, the Sun-Times described the crowd at Obama's Hyatt headquarters in Chicago last night as "mostly young, white," and the Tribune reports that "Latino voters and lower-income workers also continued to show fealty to Clinton."

And then there's Obama's "stealthy" K Street operation.

So I guess it depends on what you mean by "grass-roots."

* Mike Huckabee has no pollsters, no consultants, and wants to abolish the IRS. Now there's a change agenda built on a new kind of politics!

* It was a bad night for reform, meaning it was business as usual in Chicago.

* Carol Marin has the scoop on the tainted victory of Deborah Mell, daughter of Ald. Dick Mell and sister of First Lady Patti Blagojevich.

* "Having run on the idea of broad participation across society's divisions, Mr. Obama's campaign often seems to teeter on becoming a cult of personality - a feeling that the candidate and those around him do nothing to dispel," the New York Times editorial page says this morning.

"In an interview with ABC's Good Morning America, on Monday, Mr. Obama's wife, Michelle, was asked if she would work to support Mrs. Clinton if she won. 'I'd have to think about that,' she replied."

Hillary has pledged to support whoever wins the Democratic nomination.

Then again, the editorial says that Hillary "fired the first divisive shots of the campaign," even though it was the Times itself that reported Obama's intention to save his flagging campaign by attacking Hillary Clinton - at the behest of his wealthy donors.

* Mark Brown pushes the button on the pre-set McCain narrative in the Sun-Times today, writing that "The Straight Talk Express has driven a straight path long enough that we know it's real."

Not quite. Obama is right when he says "Somewhere along the line, the Straight Talk Express lost some wheels." Here's some of the debunking.

(Brown is right, though, when he says that a McCain candidacy would undermine, not bolster, Obama's claim on independents.)

* "If I were Barack Obama I would tell my flaks in the news media to shut up in the final days before elections," Craig Crawford writes at Trail Mix in a post titled "Media Gets It Wrong Again."

In particular, the polling out of California was worthless, yet wildly touted all over the airwaves and, yes, the blogosphere. Doesn't anyone ever learn?

* Obama's speech got me all fired up to go . . . change something. But what?

* My brother voted for Wolf Blitzer, because he spends so much time in The Situation Room that he's obviously the best prepared to be president.

The Beachwood Tip Line: Situated.


Posted on February 6, 2008

MUSIC - Britney's IUD.
TV - Vizio's Best Product Is You.
POLITICS - UIC: Soda Taxes Work.
SPORTS - Locked Out And Loaded.

BOOKS - Foxconned.


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