ABC News’ Rick Klein reports: President Obama hasn’t joined the parade of prominent Democrats who’ve headed to Illinois this year to help keep his old Senate seat in Democratic hands. But the Democratic candidate for that seat, Alexi Giannoulias, said on ABC/Washington Post’s “Top Line” today that his campaign has been in touch with the White House about having the president campaign for him, and that he expects him to be in Illinois for him “a few times” before November. “I have a feeling he’ll be out here a few times before November,” Giannoulias said, “and I think everyone will realize that this will be one of the most important races in the country — a race that’s bigger than me, that’s bigger than [Republican candidate Mark] Kirk. This is a race, guys, that’s about the future of this country. We need to have a vision of where this country needs to be in 2040, in 2050, in 100 years, and that’s why I’m running for the U.S. Senate. I’m concerned about the next generation.” Giannoulias said he hasn’t personally asked the president to campaign for him, but said his campaign has been in touch with the White House. “We’ve talked to them. They’ve been — the White House has been great. They’ll be out here, and we’re very excited to have the full support of the White House,” he said. He also said he never spoke to either the president or former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, D-Ill., about who they’d like to see fill Obama’s Senate seat after he won the presidency. “I never spoke to the president or the ex-governor,” he said. “What we did hear on the tapes last week is that our former governor had some pretty horrible things to say about me, which here in Illinois, is a very good thing. And I think it goes to the bigger picture that here in Illinois, as a new leader, I fought the establishment; I fought for good government reform my first day in office; I ended pay-to-play in the state treasurer’s office; and as I did here in Illinois, I’m gonna do in Washington, DC. I’m gonna stand up to the special interests.”
And Giannoulias – along with the rest of Chicago – is rooting for LeBron James to join the Bulls. “I have a feeling whether it’s Dwyane Wade and LeBron James, or Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh, we’re gonna have some talent — some great talent. And if LeBron comes, that would be — that’d be terrific. That’d be really great for the city,” he said. Giannoulias also talked about financial regulatory reform, and his decision to donate to charity the $30,000 tax refund he’s due to receive this year, the result of losses stemming from his failed family bank.