Diary

Obama - Illinois Senate June 11, 2002

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The debate on June 11, 2002, in the Illinois senate, was over several line-item vetoes, Obama speaks in favor of some budget cuts and against others. He states that Republicans do not have the monopoly on “responsible” budgeting.

Obama rambles on for about 5 minutes.

No sooner has Obama finished speaking than an irate State Senator Hendon has already returned to the microphone, demanding to be recognized. He positively shouts:


I just want to say to the last speaker — you’ve got a lot of nerve to talk about being responsible, and yet you vote to close the DCFS office on the West Side when you wouldn’t have voted to close the one on the South Side. So I apologize to my Republican friends for my bipartisanship comments, because there are clearly some Democrats on this side of the aisle that don’t care about the West Side either, especially the last speaker.”


At first, the entire chamber is silent. The chair asks Obama whether he would like to respond, and shouts suddenly become audible in the background. He finally addresses the chamber, calmly:


I understand Senator Hendon’s anger. Actually, it turns — the, uh — I was not aware that I had voted ‘No’ on that last piece of legislation. I would have the Record record that I intended to vote *‘Yes.’ *On the other hand I would appreciate the next time, my dear colleague Senator Hendon, ask me about a vote before he names me on the floor.


Obama ends that sentence with a descending tone of voice. He sounds slightly upset. According to other accounts of this exchange, Obama placed his hand on Hendon’s shoulder and Hendon slapped it away.