After cleaning up her act, Patti Blagojevich making calls for sister in aldermanic race
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Illinois’ former first lady has apparently cleaned up her act since being caught on FBI surveillance tapes dropping F-bombs and plotting with her now-imprisoned husband, Rod Blagojevich.
Patti Blagojevich is making calls to her Northwest Side neighbors on behalf of her sister, Ald. Deb Mell (33rd).
Deb Mell was appointed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to replace her father in a classic political deal engineered after the mid-term retirement of veteran Democratic warhorse Richard Mell.
She’s fighting for survival in a three-way race against Chicago Teachers Union candidate Tim Meegan, a social studies teacher at Roosevelt High School and a member of the Albany Park Neighborhood Council, and Annisa Wanat, who is backed by the Fraternal Order of Police.
In a tape-recorded call posted by DNAInfo Chicago, Patti Blagojevich sounds like a pleasant neighbor who’s asking to borrow a cup of sugar.
“I was in the neighborhood the other day knocking on doors trying to urge my neighbors to vote for my sister, Deb Mell, who’s running for re-election as alderman and I stopped by. I noticed you had a Meegan sign on your front lawn, but I still would like to urge you to vote for Deb Mell,” Patti Blagojevich says on the tape.
“I know that she’ll do a great job for you. I know she’s been doing a great job for you. She’s got the interests of our neighbors and our neighborhood in mind with everything that she does.”
Deb Mell said Thursday she’s thrilled to have her sister making calls on her behalf.
She’s not at all concerned that the calls may backfire with voters who remember Patti Blagojevich’s profanity-laced plotting with her husband and how close she came to being indicted herself.
“When I go out knocking on doors in our neighborhood, people ask me how he [Rod] is doing and how the family is doing and the girls. They say, `We’re thinking about them.’ I’m not saying every door, but many of them,” Deb Mell said, of the former governor now serving a 14-year sentence after his conviction on federal corruption charges.
“It’s a sister helping her sister out in the neighborhood where she lives. I’m just really glad I’m getting support for her. She’s my sister. She wants to help me out. She’s making calls for me. She’s lived in that community for a long time.”
During her husband’s trial, profanity-laced FBI surveillance tapes were played that gave birth to a “Saturday Night Live” skit and prompted Barbara Walters to label Patti Blagojevich a “potty mouth.”
In one recorded conversation, Patti Blagojevich denounced the Chicago Tribune’s editorial board for demanding her husband’s ouster at the same time the Tribune Co. was trying to get state help in selling the Cubs and Wrigley Field.
“Tell him to hold up that f—— Cubs s—. F— them. F— them. Why should you do anything for those a–holes? Sam Zell. What kind of bulls— is that?” she said.
Patti Blagojevich wasn’t done. She also voiced an opinion about what should be done to the Trib editorial board.
“Just fire them . . . what would William Randolph Hearst do?” she said.
A “Saturday Night Live” skit subsequently lampooned Rod Blagojevch by portraying him before the U.S. Senate trying to extort a personal “bailout.”
The Blagojevich character offered to appoint a candidate approved by the Legislature if the U.S. Senate gave him a lump sum and paid off his credit cards.
When the Senate committee actors balked, he threatened to appoint himself. He later became angry at the “paltry” salary of senators, offering to accept instead an ambassadorship to Turkey as long as it was a “no-show” position; and offering for sale the wedding ring of Abraham Lincoln.
Patti Blagojevich wasn’t spared, either. Her character was seen storming in with expletives to demand her husband get her a seat on NASA’s board. “You promised!” she blared.