Faced with increased scrutiny from local Chicago media and Republican critics, Giannoulias has attempted to minimize his executive role at the shady bank and told voters he had largely left Broadway Bank in 2005. But he admitted this week that he benefited from a massive $2.7 million tax deduction by reporting to the IRS that he had worked some 500 hours for the company in 2006. The claim allowed him to avoid paying federal income taxes in 2009.
No word on whether Vice President Joe Biden has questioned Giannoulias' patriotism yet. Perhaps Mrs. Obama -- whom her hubby calls his "moral center" -- will pipe up.
After Giannoulias, Mrs. Obama will travel to Colorado to stump for Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet, who is trailing upstart GOP Senate nominee Ken Buck. Bennet is a former high-powered lawyer and financier who made a fortune in the very corporate world Mrs. Obama tirelessly condemned during the 2008 presidential season. As head of the Denver Public Schools, Bennet drew on his high-risk finance background to champion an "exotic" bond deal that later cost the system at least $25 million. _
East Wing spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter, touting the first lady's popularity on the campaign trail, says Mrs. Obama's strength is advocating "what we can do together to build a better future. ... She comes to this as a mom, and that's the lens through which she sees the world, and that's her test for every issue -- what it means for her daughters and all of our kids."
So: What grade does Mrs. Obama give Bennet's debt-exploding school financing schemes?
From Colorado, the first lady will take the two-faced show to California. As she pushes her husband's message of shared sacrifice and business-as-usual bashing, she'll head to a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee gala co-hosted in San Francisco by jet-setting Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi -- one of Capitol Hill's wealthiest members and land barons, who took in twice as much lobbyist cash this election cycle as reviled House GOP leader John Boehner.
If her hubby's recent fundraising complaints are any indication, we can look forward to more trademark griping from martyr Michelle. At a $30,000-per-person dinner last weekend, the put-upon president lamented that he needed a "little break and some Tuscan sun." Behold the fist-bumping Obamas on the stump: two privileged phonies for the price of one.
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