Illinois Senate President Important Ally For Barack Obama

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) -- Barack Obama has had a lot of political allies over the years, but few have been as important as Illinois Senate President Emil Jones.

Obama has even referred to Jones as his "political godfather."

Jones gave early support to Obama's longshot bid for the U.S. Senate in 2004, helping give Obama credibility with donors and political groups.

Jones also picked Obama to handle some high-profile legislation, including bills to requiring police to record interrogations in murder cases and ordering the study of racial profiling in traffic stops.

But Jones and Obama have very different political styles.

Jones is an old-fashioned Chicago politician with relatives on the state payroll. He steers state grants to favorite organizations and uses his clout to punish enemies and bury GOP legislation.


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