Last night, ABC 7 Chicago hosted and aired a debate between the Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate. As the Tribune's Rick Pearson noted in his write-up, all of the candidates "looked far from comfortable" during the in-studio event. For instance, in her opening ...
Last night, ABC 7 Chicago hosted and aired a debate between the Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate. As the Tribune's Rick Pearson noted in his write-up, all of the candidates "looked far from comfortable" during the in-studio event. For instance, in her opening statement, Cheryle Jackson urged Illinoisans to vote for her on "February 4," rather than February 2. And little-known candidate Robert Marshall brought some extremely conservative views to the table. That being said, the Senate contenders have another chance to introduce themselves to a television audience next Wednesday when WTTW hosts their own forum at 7 p.m.
In addition to Pearson's piece, the Sun-Times and Chicago Current have also posted solid articles on the event. You can watch the hour-long debate in full on ABC 7's website. Meanwhile, ABC 7's Charles Thomas zeroes in on Jacob Meister's aggressive criticism of David Hoffman
We've been covering the ongoing debate over Alexi Giannoulias' handling of the Bright Start college savings program for several weeks now. Not surprisingly, it came up repeatedly last night. In keeping with his recent television ads, Giannoulias brought the issue up first, touting the fact that he turned the program "from one of the worst in the country to what is now one of the top five in the country." In turn, Hoffman repeatedly emphasized the outsized losses suffered by some Bright Start participants thanks to Oppenheimer's mismanagement of the Core Bond fund. Giannoulias responded by noting that he was the first state treasurer to take action to protect the Core Bond investors from further losses. Watch it:
One recurring question -- cited by Hoffman at the end of the above video -- is whether Giannoulias is justified in describing Bright Start as "one of the top five" college savings programs in the U.S.
Hoffman argues that this is a misleading claim on Giannoulias' part, noting that Morningstar dropped the plan from its top-five list last year. He also notes that SavingForCollege.com ranked Bright Start 39th in terms of one-year performance as of September 30, 2009. But there is no single authority on the subject. As such, the Giannoulias campaign counters with their own set of rankings that followed news of the Bright Start losses:
- In March 2009, Consumer Reports ranked Bright Start as one of the best 529 plans in the nation stating, "After studying state 529 college savings programs to see how well they performed during last year's stock-market plunge, we found five that are worthy of an A."
- In April 2009, Money Magazine ranked Bright Start in the top three low-risk 529 plans.
While Consumer Reports has objected to the use of their logo in Giannoulias' recent ads, they have not qualified their March 2009 ranking in any way.
As is often the case, the candidates' closing statements were somewhat more interesting than their introductory comments. Here they are in alphabetical order:
Full Disclosure: The SEIU Illinois State Council, which sponsors this website, has endorsed Alexi Giannoulias in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate.
Registered to vote and want to cast your ballot now? Early voting is available until the 28th of January. Look up your local election authority here.