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Thursday, March 18, 2004 12:37 am

Quick Takes 3-18-04

DOG BITES

Republican U.S. Senate hopeful Andy McKenna stopped Sunday at Oak Ridge Cemetery to rub Abe's nose for luck.

It didn't work -- not for McKenna.

But the campaign stop gave Springfield resident Liz Eilers a shot in the limelight. The Chicago Tribune needed a hook for its coverage of the waning days of the campaign, and Eilers and her Lhasa Apso named Gospel Dog fit the bill.

The newspaper recounted how Eilers broke out in an impromptu rendition of 'Gloria in Excelsis Deo' during McKenna's appearance. Gospel Dog, sporting a McKenna sticker on his head, accompanied Eilers with his yaps, seemingly on cue. The Trib's headline: "Even a dog gets in act as Senate race ends."

We crossed paths with Eilers outside the Lincoln Tomb before the event. A woman with passionate views -- she opposes same-sex marriages and believes homosexuality is a disease, Eilers volunteered a backhanded endorsement for Illinois Times: "The most bleeding-heart liberal paper in the state of Illinois."

Gee, thanks.


LIGHT A CANDLE

Instead of cursing the darkness, Springfield's Iraq Peace Coalition says it's time to light a fire.

The coalition is inviting people concerned about the occupation of Iraq, the welfare of Iraqis and the safety of our soldiers to gather at the Capitol steps, at Second and Monroe streets, at 6 p.m. Saturday, March 20, for a vigil. Candles will be provided.


RHYMES WITH SPINACH

U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, led a spirited, if brief, rally at the Old State Capitol Monday during one of his final stops in his quixotic presidential bid. Campaigning more to send a message than win, the former Cleveland mayor repeated his criticisms of the Bush administration, garnering applause from the 100 or so supporters for his stands against NAFTA, the WTO, and the U.S.-led war in Iraq. On Tuesday, Kucinich received 2.3 percent of the Democratic vote in Illinois -- and U.S. Sen. John Kerry locked up the party's nomination.

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