[Rostenkowski raw #205]

Raw footage from the 1981 documentary "Rostenkowski," a portrait of House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dan Rostenkowski, a powerful figure in Chicago (and national) politics. At a rally for Rostenkowski in the field house in Chicago's Pulaski Park (which sits in Rostenkowski's district on Chicago's northwest side), a candidate for judge is giving a speech offscreen while the camera captures various audience members. Next Rostenkowski gives a speech. In the speech, he discusses various issues, including: the importance of voting; the late Mayor Daley; social programs proposed by the Democrats; the importance of staying in a "changing neighborhood"; commitment to one's neighborhood; extending the "L" to O'Hare airport (and telling the residents that it will raise the property values); and his family's decision to stay in Chicago rather than move to Washington D.C. At around eleven minutes, a member of the camera crew on the stage knocks something over, startling Rostenkowski during his speech. The tape abruptly ends at just over fifteen minutes.

00:00Copy video clip URL Tape begins with various shots of the audience in attendance as an unidentified speaker talks to the crowd. Some audience members make awkward eye contact with the camera, while others smile and wave their campaign signs.

03:14Copy video clip URL Blumberg rushes up to the stage and gets a shot of Rostenkowski with his family before he speaks to the crowd. Shortly after his family steps off stage, Rostenkowski begins to speak to the audience. However, the audio is a little hard to make out because of it coming through only the right channel at this point in the video.

06:34Copy video clip URL The audio returns to stereo. Rostenkowski talks about the strong points of the Democratic Party. “We in the Democratic Party never really lose our spirit, because we’re always fighting. You know what’s great about the party? The greatness that’s really made the city of Chicago one of the outstanding communities of the world is because we’re concerned. Because we like to see things done in an orderly manner.” The Congressman goes on to talk a little bit about the late Mayor Daley, and describes what the Democratic Party strives for. “The difference between us and the other party is that we’re working at what we do. We enjoy what we do. When we argue, we come to a consensus and we go to the polls. And I’m not going to hide this at all: If ten people vote in our community, you can bet nine of them will vote democratic, and you know why they’ll vote democratic? They’ll vote democratic because basically we reflect their views. We’re concerned with what little people get out of their government.” Rostenkowski continues in a very stern tone, “What we are totally committed to is helping our neighbor,  because as a unit in the Democratic Party, that’s when those of us that live in this community really feel the benefits of a society.”

10:38Copy video clip URL Rostenkowski makes a point about the development of the neighborhood. “How long have I been saying to you, stay right here. This neighborhood is coming back. It’s going to make the turn, and the only way that we can keep it is by you living here and working here.” Rostenkowski then goes on to talk about his family a bit and their commitment to the neighborhood.

13:13Copy video clip URL Rostenkowski thanks his supporters. “I just want to say that I’ve been granted a great privilege by you, by those of you that have consistently favored me at the polls by sending me to Washington.” Kind of choking up a bit and in a very solemn tone of voice, Rostenkowski says, “You know, I’ve come and asked your favor, twelve times now as a member of Congress and six times as a legislator. That means that on eighteen different occasions, you reaffirmed my commission. You renewed my contract. And in the time that I’ve served you, I’ve certainly tried in the best way I know how to reflect credit on this community and the eighth congressional district.”

15:20Copy video clip URL Tape ends.



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