Obama weighs in on death penalty bill

President Obamaby: Chicago Sun Times
5th March 2011

President Obama has appeared to tip his hand on Illinois’ bill to end the death penalty, which Gov. Quinn is expected to act upon within the week. During an encounter with Quinn at the White House last week, the president praised the governor on the legislation and on Illinois’ legalization of civil unions, said state Sen. Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago), a lead legislative backer of the abolition bill and Obama’s successor in the Illinois Senate.

“The governor said Barack had complimented him and the state on our work on civil unions and the death penalty,” Raoul said Friday, recounting a conversation with Quinn following his return last week from a Washington, D.C. trip to attend National Governors Association meetings.

Obama has publicly stated his support for the death penalty in heinous cases but as a state lawmaker voted against expanding the death penalty to crimes arising from gang activity.

Obama was a driving force behind a 2003 package of death-penalty reforms that required interrogations be videotaped in capital punishment cases.

How or if the president’s words of praise play into Quinn’s decision-making isn’t entirely clear. The governor had been widely anticipated to take action on the repeal bill Friday but then abruptly postponed doing so.

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