Sneed: GOP concerned about Sen. Mark Kirk’s re-election bid

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Is Sen. Mark Kirk up to a grueling campaign? | Sun-Times files

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The Kirk file . . .

Pssst!

Sneed hears rumbles top Republican Party stalwarts are worried U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., who suffered a massive stroke in 2012, may not have the energy to win re-election.

“The last race for the U.S. Senate seat between Kirk and Dem senatorial hopeful Alexi Giannoulias was a bruiser, and the next race will be heavily funded by the Democratic Party,” said a top GOP source. (U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill. and attorney/former Urban League President Andrea Zopp have entered the Dem primary fray.)

Kirk, who had to learn how to walk again and hasstruggled with speech issues, has dealt recently with verbal gaffes, one of which required him to offer a one-line apology recently after he was caught on a hot microphone referring to U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a bachelor, as a “bro with no ho.”

More recently, Kirk’s performance while questioning Consumer Financial Protection Bureau chief Richard Cordray at a Senate Banking, Housing & Urban Affairs Committee hearing was described as “disastrous” by a top Republican insider who asked not to be identified.

Stay tuned.

The floating iceberg . . .

Here ye!

The city’s pension mess, which has Chicago pols scurrying for a solution, was recently described as thus by a top city scribe: “It’s like watching deck chairs being rearranged on the Titanic!”

There ya go!

The Hastert file . . .

Ka-ching! Sneed hears private fundraisers are being held to help pay for the legal defense of former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, who is fighting charges he flouted banking laws and lied to the FBI about a plan to pay $3.5 million to a former student at the Yorkville high school where Hastert worked as a coach before entering politics. The feds claim Hastert paid the student to keep quiet about sexual abuse allegations.

A sports short . . .

Following what would have beenChicago Sun-Timessports legend Dave Feldman’s 100th birthday Thursday, stories began to roll in on the man once baptized the dean of horse racing in Chicago.

OPINION

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Here are two Feldman anecdotes, as told by former Sun-Times sportswriter Bill Figel, a media consultant who heads Figel Public Relations — and whose desk was once next to Feldman’s on the night shift.

• No. 1:

“Feldman would arrive between8 and 9 p.m.to write hisBroken Down Horse Players’picks columnfor the next day’s paper.The desk would be waiting anxiously but it didn’t interrupt his routine.

“If there were an evening racecard and he had to be in the office, he would call the track andimpersonate his wife in a high-pitched Chicagoese screech:

“ ‘This is Fern Feldman. Is Dave Feldman there?’

“After a pause:

“‘Well then have him paged.’

“After weeks of this I asked Dave what he was doing.

“‘Look, I always have myself paged at the track because if my readers don’t think I’m there, I’m nothing to them.’ ”

• No. 2:

“Some of the best verbal sparring takes place in newsrooms, and maybe more so with headstrong, opinionated sportswriters filing stories in tight spaces and equally tight deadlines.Dave got off the ultimate insult on a colleague once to abruptly end an argument.

“After a very heated rally on the importance of each other’s beat and copy, Feldman lashed out:

“‘Do you know the difference between you and me? Huh, do ya?’

“No response.

“‘Well, do ya?’

“No response. (And the sports department was silent in anticipation.)

“‘Well, I’ll tell ya.You read me. I never read you.’ ”

Loved it, Bill. Thanks. The days of hijinks and headlines were so much fun.

Sneedlings . . .

Saturday’s birthdays: Matt LeBlanc, 48; Iman, 60, and Barbara Harris, 80 . . . Sunday’s birthdays: Sandra Bullock, 51; Mick Jagger, 72, and Jeremy Piven, 50.

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