Home Why The Boss draws a political crowd

Why The Boss draws a political crowd

Why The Boss draws a political crowd


Good Wednesday morning, Illinois. What fun hanging out with the 1970-80s-era Springfield Capitol press corps last night at Club Lago, not Blago, as they would say.


Democrats and Republicans have always been able to relate to Bruce Springsteen, who plays Wrigley Field tonight and Friday.

The Boss speaks about small-town life, God and the flag in a way that folks on the left and right can relate to.

“Springsteen’s music is incredibly political,” Gov. JB Pritzker’s chief of staff, Anne Caprara, told Playbook. “You can’t listen to the actual lyrics of ‘41 Shots,’ ‘Born In The USA,’ ‘Death to My Hometown’ and ‘We Are Alive’ and not conclude that he’s not taking a strong stance on critical issues.”

The love runs deep: Caprara is a Pennsylvania native who grew up on Springsteen and will be hitting Friday’s Chicago show. “He was a staple of summers at the shore and family get-togethers,” she recalled. “I love him because he gives everything in his concerts.”

To be a patriot: “Springsteen has always shown us that true patriotism is acknowledging our country’s original sins while celebrating what makes us strong. Springsteen’s been singing about small towns and big towns for decades — and he knows how to do it with honesty and care and authenticity,” Caprara added.

Senate President Don Harmon, who will be at Friday’s show, too, also connects with Springsteen’s lyrics. Though he’s especially drawn to The Boss’ musicianship. Harmon plays guitar in a band after all.

Brian Zilm, the district director for Congresswoman Nikki Budzinski, is a Springsteen devotee. “The stories he tells and characters he describes remind a lot of communities and people I know in central and southern Illinois,” he told Playbook.

Former Chicago Ald. Joe Moore calls himself an “ultimate” fan and is attending his 48th and 49th Springsteen shows this week.

State Sen. Sara Feigenholtz is also a “huge” fan who’s going to both shows. It helps that Wrigley Field is in her district.

Brian Berg, who directs public affairs for the city Treasurer’s Office, will be there. “His music reflects the diversity and possibilities of our country,” Berg said of Springsteen.

Donors dig him, too: Democratic donor John Atkinson will be at Wrigley Field both days, and so will Republican donor Gerald Beeson.

Springsteen once drew praise from candidate Ronald Reagan, though the singer didn’t endorse the Republican presidential candidate that year or his Democrat opponent Walter Mondale.

But as politics became more divisive, Springsteen opened up about where he stood — left of center. He even performed on that chilly inauguration day for newly elected President Barack Obama.

There’s GOP love in high places, too. Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie is a fan.

Of course, not everything is politics. Public affairs consultant Thom Serafin and his wife, TV producer Ann Serafin, will be at tonight’s show to mark their first date: seeing Springsteen’s Tunnel of Love Express Tour at the Rosemont Horizon in 1988.


When Wirtz lost his smile: Chicago Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf gave a touching tribute Tuesday to his friend of 30 years, Rocky Wirtz, the late chair of the Chicago Blackhawks.

Reinsdorf and Wirtz were co-owners of the United Center ,where their teams both play. They had a bond that extended beyond business. Wirtz died last month at age 70.

At the funeral Tuesday, Reinsdorf reflected on Wirtz’s good nature. He was a man who always had a smile on his face, Reinsdorf told the hundreds of attendees at the Fourth Presbyterian Church.

In fact, the only time Reinsdorf ever saw Wirtz angry was when former Mayor Rahm Emanuel raised Chicago’s amusement tax after promising he wouldn’t, he told the group. And with perfect comedic timing, Reinsdorf added, that’s why Emanuel is in Japan today.

Eating it up: The hundreds of family, friends and politicos chuckled knowingly.

In attendance were Mayor Brandon Johnson, former Mayor Lori Lightfoot, former Mayor Richard M. Daley, Gov. JB Pritzker, former Gov. Pat Quinn and several Chicago aldermen. Quinn wore a Blackhawks T-shirt under his dress shirt. It was the same T-shirt that he wore in Philadelphia in 2010 when the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup.

A public memorial for Wirtz will be held today at United Center.

If you are toiling away on the City of Chicago budget, Playbook would like to hear from you. Email [email protected].


At the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield at 3 p.m. for the unveiling of the butter cow. (She’s always a beaut!)


At the East Bank Club at 6 p.m. to give remarks at the Hispanic American Construction Industry Association monthly membership meeting.

Where's Toni

No official public events.

Get beyond today’s storms and send me a line: [email protected]


Watchdog overseeing abuse, neglect cases at state-run facilities resigns for Chicago post: “Peter Neumer accepted a position as the inspector general for the Chicago Park District. He will be replaced [at the state] by Charles Wright, Neumer’s deputy since March 2021. Neumer’s last day as IDHS OIG will be Aug. 17,” by Capitol News’ Beth Hundsdorfer.

Illinois lawmakers look to address domestic violence rise with laws to help survivors: A one-on-one interview with state Rep. Joyce Mason. WTTW’s Paris Schutz and Alexandra Silets report.

The most feared highway in the state, by Belleville News-Democrat’s Aaron Mudd

‘Several hundred’ workers laid off from Memorial Health System, citing negative economic trends, by State Journal-Register’s Steven Spearie


Obama Foundation, fueled by two mega-donors, has record fundraising year in 2022: Airbnb co-founder Brian Chesky donated $125 million and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos gave $100 million, the foundation tells Sun-Times’ Lynn Sweet.

On South Side, neighbors fight to keep Lake Michigan at bay: “Residents dogged by frequent flooding have finally drawn attention from city and state officials,” by the Grist’s Siri Chilukuri.

Bloomingdale Trail will be extended eastward from Ashland to Elston Avenue, by Sun-Times’ Jacquelyne Germain

Chicago’s ‘bikeability’ is behind the curve in recent cycling studies, by Sun-Times’ Kaitlin Washburn

TikTok influencer is trying to eat a dish from every nation on Earth without leaving Chicago, by Tribune’s Christopher Borrelli


Wilmette opposes Ryan Field concerts: “Most of the more than a dozen residents who spoke at the board meeting opposed the plan to hold up to 10 concerts at the stadium,” by Evanston Now’s Bill Smith.

As companies flee big headquarters and office parks, suburbs are scrambling to reinvent those spaces — and themselves, writes Robert Reed in Chicago magazine


Jury of 6 men, 6 women selected as perjury trial gets underway for ex-top aide to Madigan: “Assistant U.S. Attorney Julia Schwartz has signaled one witness will likely be former state Rep. Greg Harris, who was secretly recorded by the FBI speaking with a longtime Madigan ally about becoming majority leader,” by Sun-Times’ Jon Seidel.

Reader Digest

We asked about your Grand Canyon vacation.

Nancy Rotering, Highland Park mayor: “There was so much fog, we commented that we just as easily could have been on the shores of Lake Michigan. We left for lunch and returned and voila!”

Jessica Catlin: “The hike down to the bottom and lodging at Phantom Ranch is like staying on the moon.”

Robert Christie: “On a family spring break in Phoenix, where temperatures were in the ‘90s, we drove four hours to the South Rim and were surprised by the weather change: around 30 degrees and snowing.”

Kristin DiCenso: “Stunning and a bit scary.”

Ashvin Lad: “I just wanted to hike down a couple hundred feet but kept going out of curiosity and ended up at the bottom a few hours later. Hiked back with no water or snacks.”

Ed Mazur: “On a boat in Greece, several Europeans talked about the wonders of the Grand Canyon and shamed me for not having seen it. So we visited, and they were correct.”

John McCabe: “After seeing the closing shot of the South Rim of the movie Grand Canyon, that became our next family vacation!”

Joan Pederson: “Vivid colors under deep blue skies on Day 1 were followed by a feathery gray snow globe on Day 2.”

Mark Rosenberg: “Experienced the awe inspiring views years ago, and then in 2018 I did a two-week trip down the Colorado River.”

In your humble opinion, what’s the best food at the Illinois State Fair? Email [email protected]


Abortion rights won big in Ohio. Here’s why it wasn’t particularly close, by POLITICO’s Madison Fernandez, Alice Miranda Ollstein and Zach Montellaro

— THE FIFTY: Five state lawmakers traded in their Democratic credentials for the GOP this session, by POLITICO’s Liz Crampton

Another governor slams White House for ‘federal crisis of inaction’ on migrants, by POLITICO’s Lisa Kashinsky and Kelly Garrity

Divided Supreme Court allows ‘ghost gun’ rule to take effect, by POLITICO’s Betsy Woodruff Swan

DeSantis replaces campaign manager as he struggles to catch up to Trump, by POLITICO’s Gary Fineout


Doug Bragan, who loved Chicago theater so much he bought the Ivanhoe, dies at 79: “Bragan helped foster the city’s off-Loop theater scene as the owner of Ivanhoe,” by Sun-Times’ Mitch Dudek.


-— Olivia Pantoja is now a senior director in Faegre Drinker Consulting’s Chicago office. She was head of OMP Strategy & Advocacy Group.

— Invenergy, the Chicago-based renewable energy company, has expanded its public affairs team. Carol Roos is senior VP of corporate affairs and brand. Andrew Wills is senior VP of federal affairs. And Erin Grizard is VP of government affairs for California. Roos was a partner at Brunswick Group. Wills is returning to Invenergy after a stint at the U.S. Energy Department. And Grizard led government affairs at Newlight Technologies.


— On this day in 1945, the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb on Nagasaki. The bombing came three days after the bombing of Hiroshima. About 74,000 people were killed. Japan would surrender on Aug. 14.


TUESDAY’s ANSWER: Congrats to Jim Montgomery and Mike Miletich for correctly answering that Sacred Heart Griffin High School and DuBois Elementary School are located on the old site of the Illinois State Fairgrounds of 1853.

TODAY’s QUESTION: Who was the first horse to perform at the Illinois State Fair Grandstand? Email [email protected]


Former White House chief of staff Bill Daley, civic leader Nora Daley, Cook County Circuit Court Judge Greg Ahern and activist and former mayoral candidate Ja’Mal Green.