Chicagoans Weigh Obama's Rise, Blagojevich's Fall

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At Daley Plaza in downtown Chicago, people are balancing a dual message about the politics of their city: On one hand, there's President-elect Barack Obama's ascent, and on the other is Gov. Rod Blagojevich's descent.

GUY RAZ, host:

This past year has been dramatic politically for Chicagoans. One of the city's politicians is ascending to the White House, and another is descending into scandal. We asked some people at Daily Plaza in downtown Chicago how they're dealing with the transition from Barack Obama's victory to the possible downfall of Rod Blagojevich.

(Soundbite of downtown Chicago)

Ms. MARY HOLLICE (Resident, Chicago, Illinois): It makes us look bad. Like, everybody already thinks, like, oh, you know, gangster city, blah blah blah, and then, like, all of a sudden we have all this crap. It just makes us look even worse.

Mr. JOHN CARNAVAZ (Resident, Chicago, Illinois): I don't think it says anything about Chicago, per se; it's individuals. So, you can't characterize a city by what one person does or doesn't do.

Mr. GARY WILSON (Resident, Chicago, Illinois): Politics is going to be politics, but you know, obviously we should not let this distract from what's happened as far as the electorate overwhelmingly choosing Obama.

Mr. MICHAEL GOLDWATER (Resident, Chicago, Illinois): It bothers me because everyone is all about - everyone was so excited about Chicago. Now it just makes us look like we're a bunch of corrupt - like, state again after we just had all this with Obamas. It's kind of demoralizing, but I mean, what are you going to do? We got fooled.

Ms. MEGAN HORRY (Resident, Chicago, Illinois): Blagojevich represents the old-time Chicago politics. You know that we're all very familiar with and pretty much realize that it's pay-for-play sometimes, and Barack is separate from that and is above that.

RAZ: Some commentary from downtown Chicago. We heard from Mary Hollice(ph), John Carnavaz(ph), Gary Wilson(ph), Michael Goldwater(ph) and Megan Horry(ph).

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