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A recent Pantagraph editorial ("How low can you go?," Nov. 30) engages in shameless sleight-of-hand, applying my comments about a poll on President Bush's job approval rating to an entirely different poll on Governor Blagojevich. Although the paper notes the two polls, the tactic is misleading.

The editorial also selectively cites data showing that while President Bush's approval has fallen to 35 percent, approval for Congress was at 34 percent. That's misleading, too.

The poll asked participants whether the Republican-controlled Congress reflected their priorities and values. That's the basis for the low ratings.

I couldn't agree more.

The priorities of the White House and the Republican Congress often diverge from what matters most to families in Illinois and across the country.

Americans are paying more for gasoline, more for prescription drugs and more to heat their homes. But Congress' answer is a flood of special-interest giveaways to oil companies, pharmaceutical makers and others.

President Reagan used to sit down with both parties to solve national problems. That's how we rescued Social Security in 1983. Not so today. President Bush and his allies in Congress take a hard-line approach. When Democrats disagree, they're labeled as obstructionists or worse.

Americans are tired of politicians putting party ahead of principle and are worried about the future. We must restore America's sense of community and common purpose.

About half of all bills I introduce are bipartisan. I stand ready to work with any Republican on programs to keep American jobs in America. Or an energy plan that reduces dependence on foreign oil. Or tax-reform that helps the middle-class and eliminates giveaways to well-heeled special interests.

As to The Pantagraph's suggestion that before criticizing others, we should be mindful of our own poll numbers, let me offer this: according to a Gallup poll, just 17 percent of Americans rate print journalists as ethical and honest.

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin



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