Springfield State Journal Register

April 24, 2002

Jim Ryan visits Washington for campaign aid 


WASHINGTON ó Illinois Attorney General Jim Ryan Tuesday began a two-day visit here seeking support for his gubernatorial
campaign by getting a commitment that President Bush will attend a May 13 fund-raiser.

But even as he sought the embrace of a popular president, he could not escape the shadow of an unpopular governor.

Ryan was pelted with questions on how he will seek to distance himself from the troubled administration of Gov. George Ryan and the licenses-for-bribes scandal that has embroiled it.

"Hereís what distinguishes me from Gov. Ryan. Iím Jim Ryan. Heís Governor Ryan. And I have a long record of my own..." Jim
Ryan said.

"Iím going to talk about me and what my administration will do," Ryan said. "Iím going to talk about education. Iím going to talk about jobs. Iím going to talk about health care. And I am going to talk about raising our ethical standards and changing the way we do business in Springfield."

The closest he came to criticizing Gov. Ryan was to say: "Iím going to demand high ethical standards of the people who work for me."

After a bruising three-way primary in March, one post-primary poll gave the edge to Ryanís Democratic opponent Rod
Blagojevich. That has underscored concerns in the Republican camp that the governorís office could be be wrested away by the
Democrats for the first time since 1977.

Ryan refused to reveal what advice he received from President Bushís political chief Karl Rove in their White House meeting
Tuesday or how he tried to sell himself to other key Republicans.

"The president believes I can win," Ryan said. The presidentís political advisers, he said, "see it as an important race. They see it as a winnable race."

Bush has made frequent trips to aid Republican candidates, hoping to capitalize on his wartime popularity. 

Of the 36 governorships up for grabs nationwide, 23 are now held by Republicans.

Also Tuesday, Ryan said he received pledges for financial and other assistance from the Republican National Committee and the Republican Governors Association. The Republican Governors Association has already contributed $250,000 to his campaign after the primary.

"So far, itís been a good day and Iím very excited about this," Ryan told reporters.

Ryan spokesman Dan Curry said there were no specific dollar pledges made. But he insisted that both groups said they considered it a high priority race.

On Wednesday, Ryan is scheduled to meet with House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Yorkville, who endorsed Ryan in the primary,
as well as other Illinois Republicans in Congress.

Gov. Ryanís campaign committee and two of his top aides were recently indicted in a federal investigation of the licenses for
bribes scandal while the governor was secretary of state. The governor has not been charged with wrongdoing.