Republican senatorial challenger and ice cream mogul Jim Oberweis bashed Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin, painted himself as a non-tea-partying moderate Republican and said that he was welcomed when campaigning in black neighborhoods on Chicago’s South Side.
But the ice cream he was handing out may improved his reception in those neighborhoods, Oberweis joked during a luncheon speech Tuesday to the City Club of Chicago.
Oberweise got serious, however, when he slammed Durbin as a “millionaire career politician” who “presided over one of the worst periods of economic stagnation and decline in Illinois history.”
“If a manager at one of my ice cream stores or one of my mutual funds had that kind of a sorry record, we would have fired him a long time ago,” Oberweis said. “We have an opportunity to fire Dick Durbin in four weeks.”
He also called out Durbin for saying he is for equal pay for women while allegedly paying a female staffer less than a male staffer with the same title and responsibilities.
“Dick Durbin apparently believes none of his lectures apply to himself and that the truth is as foreign to him as one of his overseas junkets,” Oberweis said.
Durbin’s people said Oberweis is comparing apples and oranges.
“These are two distinctly separate jobs,” said Ben Marter, communications director for Durbin.
“As Downstate Director, Bill Houlihan oversaw 96 of the 102 counties in Illinois, including 3 offices and more than half of the state staff. Clarisol Duque is our Chicago Director, overseeing the Chicago office,” Marter said. “Six of the highest paid staffers in Sen. Durbin’s office are women, and on average, women earn nearly $4,000 more than their male counterparts. Sen. Durbin is proud of his record on pay equity. He is committed to ensuring that his offices reflect the values and the diversity of the Illinoisans he represents in the U.S. Senate.”
As for what he would do if elected, Oberweis would repeal Obamacare and replace it with what he called a more market-driven insurance system; replace the current tax system a “broader, flatter” tax; balance the federal budget by making goverment smarter and smaller; and impose federal term limits for Congress.