With Inauguration Over, Obama Administration Returns To Work
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CHICAGO (CBS) – After a full weekend of festivities, it was back to work today for the Obama administration.
His voice hoarse, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) told CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine, “My voice is gone, because we were partying. There was a big family party with the president and his family last night until one in the morning, and I left and it kept going.”
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama clearly were in a partying mood last night, attending two inauguration balls before their White House after party – where the mood, according to Durbin, was a lot less formal.
“Never been to a party like that, and it was – from the minute we stepped into the room – it was just more fun. People were enjoying every second of it,” Durbin said.
Tuesday morning, workers dismantled the stands from the inaugural parade outside the White House – symbolic of the back-to-business approach inside.
The focus returned to hot button issues like gun control, for which Durbin and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel have been pushing hard. Some Democrats in Congress have been hoping for compromise on at least part of their agenda.
The gun control measures backed by the president include a proposed ban on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips, and requiring universal background checks for gun purchases.
Congressman Mike Quigley (D-IL) said, “I think it’s background checks. The majority of gun owners, the majority of NRA members, and the vast majority of Americans don’t want really bad people to get guns.”
Also on the horizon – with campaign 2012 in the past – is the Illinois governor’s race in 2014, and Durbin’s own decision about whether to seek a fourth six-year term in the senate that same year.
Durbin said he’ll have to consult with his wife, but expects to make a decision within the next few months.
Durbin is unlikely to be challenged by a Democrat if he runs again, unlike Gov. Pat Quinn, whose potential Democratic rivals have already sought out Durbin for guidance.
The senator said both Bill Daley – the brother and son of former Chicago mayors, a one-time chief of staff to Obama, and a U.S. Commerce Secretary under President Bill Clinton – has been weighing a run for governor. So has Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan.
“They’re both considering it very seriously, and going through a thought process, and deciding the pros and cons,” Durbin said. “I think it would be a little too early to predict if either one of them will get in the race.”
Durbin said he’ll stay out of it if there is a contested Democratic primary for governor. Political operatives in D.C. were betting, if either Madigan or Daley enters the race, the other will not.