Bitter campaign ends in beer summit

November 4, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol 

(CNN) - As President Obama prepares for a post-election “Slurpee summit,” the candidates for his old Senate seat in Illinois followed his previous example with a beer summit of their own.

Senator-elect, Republican Mark Kirk, and vanquished rival, Democrat Alexi Giannoulias, met in downtown Chicago at the famous political staple Billy Goat Tavern.

Kirk told reporters the two discussed the idea during the campaign, before the race turned bitter, and decided to hold the gathering the day after Kirk’s victory.

CNN affiliate WLS reports Kirk said after Election Day, “We exchanged e-mail and cell phone numbers and I said don’t be shy. You know almost half of Illinois voted for him to be their Senator and I think you have to respect that voice. On camera and through the TV ads it was tough but off camera he’s a very likeable guy.”

They each downed one beer during the short meeting, in front of plenty of cameras.

WLS said Giannoulias gave Kirk the book “The Wisdom of Abraham Lincoln.” Giannoulias, the station reported, told Kirk, “Look, listen, I know you’re going to make some tough votes. Always stay true to yourself.”

“Who is he to take advice from me but I hope and I believe him when he says he’s going to be a good senator and not worry about the next election,” Giannoulias told WLS.

CNN Political Ticker


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