* Gov. Pat Quinn appeared to nod off several times during yesterday afternoon’s debate with Dan Hynes while a woman explained how her pregnant daughter-in-law died because she didn’t have access to health insurance. The Hynes campaign sent me this video which they call “Asleep at the Wheel.” Have a look…
Not good at all.
* Progress Illinois has a short video compilation of some of yesterday’s afternoon debate between Gov. Pat Quinn and Comptroller Dan Hynes. Have a look…
More from PI’s coverage…
Because he knows the consequences of bad budgeting, the comptroller emphasized “his obsession with financial responsibility.” As governor, he said he would push to make the higher reimbursement rate for Medicaid, which was established under the stimulus, permanent and continue to push for stem cell research at the state level (as he did in Illinois when President Bush eliminated federal funding). Quinn repeatedly reminded the audience of his 2001 walk across the state with Dr. Quentin Young, an ardent public health advocate. Quinn also suggested that voters look at his record fighting for the All Kids and Veterans Care programs as well as his veto this summer of a budget that would have eviscerated social service programs throughout the state.
HYNES: There’s something wrong in the state of Illinois when the comptroller’s wife gets a collection notice from her physician because the state hasn’t paid them on time.
Quinn in turn charged Hynes with ducking hard decisions, and played up a record of leveraging federal money.
QUINN: We were able to get the legislature to pass some legislation that will allow us to get over a billion dollars of new health care money from Washington.
* The candidates had two debates yesterday, the first was early yesterday morning…
Responding to an audience member’s questions about how it is “really painful” to watch the [TV ads run by both candidates], Hynes said his commercials were meant to “educate” Illinois voters about the main difference between the two Democratic candidates for governor.
“The ads we’ve run have been based on the central issue in this campaign — the budget and how to deal with it,” he said.
Hynes added that Quinn’s ads have targeted his family vacation over the July 4th weekend and his salon-quality haircut.
Quinn responded that Hynes was trying to “demonize” him and his proposed income tax increase in his campaign ads.
“I think it’s important to defend yourself if you’re attacked,” Quinn said.
“Really painful”? Heh. Wait until January. And I dunno about demonizing the governor himself. And his tax hike is what it is.
The two traded shots on budget policies. Hynes accuses Quinn of “using the same gimmicks” that got the state in the financial mess it’s in now. But Quinn says Hynes’ plan doesn’t have much to stand on.
QUINN: The comptroller is $3-4 billion short. It’s not a plan. It’s a blank piece of paper.
When it comes to free rides for seniors and funding the Chicago Transit Authority, Quinn says he’s worked out a careful agreement with the CTA. But Hynes says major cuts are still on the table.
HYNES: You didn’t solve the CTA crisis. You came in, offered borrowing on top of borrowing to avoid a fare increase for two years to get through the election.
Quinn, who inherited the governor’s job in January when Rod Blagojevich was ousted from office, called Hynes a latecomer to the progressive tax idea.
“All of a sudden when he’s running for governor he’s found the faith. Oh happy day,” Quinn said.
Sometimes, the governor really can be a funny guy. “Oh happy day.” You gotta chuckle at that. Too bad he has trouble staying awake in the afternoons.
* Dillard walking narrow middle ground in GOP gov race: Similarly, he not only defends but brings up himself his vote for a series of sales-tax hikes last year that kept public transit running and helped fund public safety and other operations in DuPage County. While conservatives groaned, “We kept millions of people going to work every day,” Mr. Dillard says.
What, Quinn had no staffers with him? If I was sitting there watching him do this I would have came up behind the table and crouched down to check if he needed coffee or a break. These people are human. They get sick, they get tired, and they nod off when they are. It isn’t a crime. It isn’t a sign of boredom. It isn’t a comment on how the Governor feels about the issue being discussed.
This is the kind of silly gotcha political crap that we are tired of seeing. I’m no fan of Quinn, but I recognize making a mountain out of an accidental molehill here.
I don’t see him sleeping. Each time his head lowers he has apen in his hand and he seems to be taking notes. This is a gotcha that I just don’t see. Also, another class move by the Hynes campaign staffers.
I don’t understand how someone could fall asleep during something like that. If you are paying attention to someone talk about a horrible experience, then it should be making you angry, sad, or a host of other emotions. It’s clear that he was just not listening to that woman.
- Yellow Dog Democrat - Thursday, Nov 19, 09 @ 11:38 am:
I know it looks bad, but I don’t think these increasingly common videos of leaders fighting droopy eyelids show lack of interest or commitment. They’re working long hours and their bodies sometimes don’t agree with the schedules. He’s obviously trying to wake up with a drink of water or some nodding back and forth. Come on, this is a biological influx of sleep-inducing chemicals, not callousness to personal testimony. It’s like getting the hiccups or an ill-timed sneeze. I’m not choosing against a candidate because he occasionally fights his biological clock.
While not good, his nodding has nothing to do with a lack of sympathy for the speaker. On the contrary, the governor would probably have a lot more energy if he didnt go to the funeral of EVERY Illinois soldier who dies in combat! Does the comptroller have the same committment to our Illinois military members and their families that the governor does? I think not.
We’ve all been here before where you are at an event and you are fighting fatigue. Its really tough and you can see the governor fighting it — drinking water, taking notes, even rocking. Campaigns are hard and so is governing a state that is in fiscal dire straits. I think the governor deserves some slack here. And if Hynes puts this ad out, I think he is truly desperate.
wow! i’m not much of a political person but how can someone be bored and start to fall asleep during a speech like that, it’s just disrespectful. I understand working long hours and lack of sleep during the campaign process, however, there is such a thing called “compassion” and “respect” and I’m sorry but Gov.Quinn didn’t show that at all, it’s understandable that you get tired, but hey ask one of your staff members for a cup of coffee the people of illinois just want their stories to be heard so that hopefully what happened to this lady won’t happen again in the future, Mr. Quinn should apologize to that lady for showing no respect for what she was saying. Quinn has to understand that he is a gov. now, not liutenant gov. anymore and WAKE UP!!!! This scares me to think..does he care about illinois?
i’d disagree that he is falling asleep. Each time he nods his head down he has his pen in hand and is taking notes. He is probably just a weird note taker and has to look really close at the paper to read, some people do that.
Seriously, goper, he falls asleep. And then, when his head starts to drop, it startles him and he wakes back up. It just underscores the point that he is not up to the job.
- Just Observing - Thursday, Nov 19, 09 @ 11:55 am:
I must agree with many of the commmenters — this is a bunch of non-sense. Sure, its not ideal to be caught on camera trying to fight of sleep, but Quinn is human. Putting out these type of videos does more to turn me off of Hynes than it does Quinn. I wish the campaigns (and that goes for both) — would talk about more serious issues.
GOP4ever.. you should watch the video again he’s clearly nodding off several times we all know how it feels to be over tired and nod off like this, but we should hope that our gov. would not do it in this type of setting with this type of important speech… it’s just EMBARASSING!!!
Just Observing… yes Quinn is human, but he is also our Gov. there is no excuse for showing no interest the way he did it. His job is Gov. of illinois he works for the people of illinois and NEEDS TO BE LISTENING TO THE PEOPLE OF ILLINOIS.
Hynes thank you for listening.
I commented earlier (11:38) and I would add that the governor could also help prevent this through his diet. From what I’ve heard about those leaders meetings, he likes the hungry man breakfast — eggs, bacon, toast — the whole nine yards. He should switch to a lighter fare — fruit, yogurt, maybe some granola. Smaller snacks throughout the day rather than big meals.
Sorry for the boring diet post, but I have absolutely been there before. Fighting sleep is tough, and I dont think it would have been acceptable for him to walk outside and get some air as an earlier commenter suggested. He was stuck there, plain and simple.
Maybe he dozed off while wondering why on earth they were discussing access to health care in a forum that presumawbly was supposed to address state issues that governors and wannabee governors could actually affect.
The House just passed a national health bill and the Senate is getting ready to debate its own version, which has many similarities to the House bill. Virtually every observer believes there will be a national health bill next year and that it will address access to health insurance. And even if there is an opt-out public provision, I think we can be very certain Illinois will not opt out.
Perhaps the opportunity to tell her tragic story to the gubernatorial candidates, even the sleepy ones, made this lady feel better, but she was in the wrong forum. And governors should stick to talking about matters than they can do something about.
As a republican I’ve always had less of an issue with people like wellstone (senator from minnesota who’s no longer with us) and quinn who don’t have any pretense than say slick professional politicians like mayor carcetti, dan hynes, blago and others. I think this shows he’s a human being with some awful staff work-he needs a new reggie love. This could be footage though for a really harsh 30 second spot.
Elizabeth Brackett’s reaction is pretty amusing. I wonder what hynes was thinking.
Obama nodded off during a primary debate in 2004. It happens. Of course, in Obama’s case, the campaign went to great lengths to schedule him in such a way that that NEVER happened again. I hope the Quinn team figures this out soon.
- Phineas J. Whoopee - Thursday, Nov 19, 09 @ 12:14 pm:
He was nodding off-so what? He is trying to be Governor and run a campaign. He is over 60 years old and seems pretty vibrant and in good health. At least you can tell when he is sleeping. Hynes, with his catatonic stare looks mummified. What goes around comes around and I can’t wait till Hynes steps on it.
I actually kinda take pity on Quinn here, poor guy, he can likely bet a snippie of knodding off Quinn will make it’s way into a tv ad ‘what why our gov. doing while Illinois awaits a solution to it’s budget crisis’ or something along the lines.
Though it would have appeared slightly out of the norm, I think it may have been better just to quietly stand up, better to stand up and act concerned/paying attention than display yourself fighting it. I could have excused him (somehow) for having to move around, but not snoring.
- Will County Woman - Thursday, Nov 19, 09 @ 12:16 pm:
yes, the video DOES show Quinn nodding off. i understand that people like him and want him to remain governor, but lying about what is clearly visible on the tape does no good for him or his supporters.
the intellectual dishonesty on the quinn side, whether from his supporters or his campaign, seriously NEEDS TO STOP! you people (e.g., anon, niles etc.)really ought to be ashamed of yoursevles.
now, if this were todd stroger (or guv paterson of ny)this would blasted all over the electronic and print media. if stroger did this it would be wrong, just as it is wrong that quinn did it. but, when it comes to quinn once again the double standards abound.
in quinn’s defense, i can imagine that he has been having a lot of sleepless nights as of late. this state faces a mountain of problems, for which there are no answers in sight, and he is desperate to keep the guv’s office—-a little too desperate frankly. campaigning hard the entire and trying to run a seriously troubled state is not a good mix, especially for someone of his age. all the more reason why he should not be running for governor.
the hynes camp or whomever should definitely use this video—it is fair game, appropriate, and it actually happened.
I would ask the Hynes campaign for the full-length video, and put a stopwatch on how long the entire episode actually ran, how long that lady took to tell her story. Compressing the drowsiness examples into a short video makes it out to be more than it is.
Hey, he’s obviously tired… but what I noticed is that Quinn was taking lots of notes, ostensibly to keep track of the fine details of the lady’s interminable story, and maybe notes about what his folks could do about it after the speeches… and what does Hynes do? Yes, he seems frozen at attention, maybe he painted eyes on his eyelids? Seriously, Quinn, is tired but taking notes, Hynes is just passively sitting there, which may show respect, but doesn’t seem itself very engaged. Maybe I’m not giving Hynes enough credit, maybe he has the same eidetic memory as Blago, and doesn’t need to keep notes. I would be interested in seeing the part of the video where the two guys each responded to the lady’s story, once she got done telling it.
I can’t excuse Quinn nodding off, though on the breakneck schedule he keeps, it is understandable, but I think maybe the way Hynes’ people are coloring this is more heavily slanted than people realize.
I think a great response from the Quinn campaign should go something like this: “It’s nice to know that the Comptroller is well rested riding in the backseat while Governor Quinn works hard steering the state down the road to recovery. Because of this we are sure that the people of Illinois will excuse Governor Quinn if he shows signs of burning the midnight oil.”
- Small Town Liberal - Thursday, Nov 19, 09 @ 1:03 pm:
I’ve nodded off during meetings several times as have others I work with. Its not necessarily boredom, there are lots of factors. His blood sugar could have been a little off, didn’t sleep well the night before, etc. He should have definitely asked for some coffee or some caffeinated drink though.
- Will County Woman - Thursday, Nov 19, 09 @ 1:05 pm:
you people dare to whine about the prospect of the hynes camp using this video when the quinn camp put out that gross distortion of the truth spa ad. funny how you people wanting to give quinn the benefit of the doubt or cut him some slack were silent on the grossly misleading spa ad, which still runs by the way despite being widely discredited as misleading by independent parties.
you can be sure that if it had been hynes nodding off the quinn campaign would have cut and run an ad by now.
yeah sure blame the lady for asking a rambling question. yeah sure blame the hynes camp for videotaping an event involving hynes. i’m surprised no one has blamed elizabeth brackett yet for quinn’s nodding off. yeah, blame everybody and everything except quinn. quinn, a man who is only a career politician for 30+ years (almost as long as hynes has been alive)
As one of the 11% unemployed in the state, I was repulsed at McKenna’s recent ad as it is pretty hard to find humor in our current political and economic situation. Along those same lines, I think Hynes is making a big mistake by making an issue with this. Yes, Quinn looks ridiculous but Hynes lowers himself by going there. If there ever was a time when voters are sick of the games and looking for real solutions, it would be now. This type of crap isn’t going to get us out of the mess we are in.
Ouch, big mistake on the campaigns part regarding scheduling. If I was running a campaign and my candidate had a big debate the next day, I’d require a FULL nights rest before, a big hearty breakfast, maybe a little bit of exercise, etc. For him to be so exhausted he’s nodding off in a debate… That’s pretty bad. There’s no way he should be that tired. There needs to be more planning regarding this.
As for the Hynes campaign- You’d have to be a fool to not make at least a youtube video of it. Get a couple laughs, maybe anger a couple people, etc. But I’d be very surprised and disappointed if this showed up in TV ads…
- Will County Woman - Thursday, Nov 19, 09 @ 1:33 pm:
Pretty inane stuff by the Hynes staffers…poltics is full of metings and sometimes folks just close their eyes to rest and come back a little more alert…anyone who has heard Quinns opponent speak knows how tiresome listening can be LOL…
BTW, I’m pretty sure the official coffee holder is no longer employed by the Gov….he/she is surely missed by a Governor that seems to constantly be on the go..
- Pot calling kettle - Thursday, Nov 19, 09 @ 3:09 pm:
Been there. Is there anyone who hasn’t had that experience of fighting the sleep demon when it shows up at an inopportune moment? If you are lucky, you can stand up, walk around, etc. If not, you start sipping water, writing on paper, anything… It has no relation to how interesting the topic is; if your body decides it’s time to sleep… Does someone who dozes off while driving do so because they are bored with the topic?
In the video, the Gov. is clearly doing everything he can, short of standing up, to fight off the sleep. Imagine the Hynes press release if the Gov. would have stood up! Quinn was in a no-win situation.
BTW, Hynes looks like he is sleeping with his eyes open, a useful skill.
- Will County Woman - Thursday, Nov 19, 09 @ 4:13 pm:
“Asleep at the wheel”, seriously, this is what we are talking about? I was at yesterday’s CBHC debate and whether he was or wasn’t nodding off doesn’t concern me much. Quinn and Hynes both became rather animated when answering “how to balance Illinois’ 1.5 billion dollar deficit?” Quinn stated a tax increase from 3 to 4.5% with personal exemptions is needed. Hynes wants to pass new legislation for progressive tax breaks, but as Quinn noted, that would take 3/5ths approval from the house– and that takes time, time that we don’t have. Hynes was the most personable when he talked of his years as a responsible number cruncher, but what he truly sold me on was that he is an ideal comptroller. I wish both Quinn and Hynes would continue to stay in their respective roles and work together– THAT WOULD BE THE BEST THING FOR ILLINOIS.
This just shows that the Guv has been working hard and maybe he needs a couple of days off to get some sleep
- Will County Woman - Thursday, Nov 19, 09 @ 5:00 pm:
no one is forcing quinn to attend fund-raisers and campaign on weekends, or during weekdays. at what point does he just step up and admit that he needs rest and get rest? being governor is a 24/7 job itself.
Would should we give Pat Quinn a break? He wants the job. He knew going in that he would be in for a tough schedule. Such is life as a public servant in such a large state. If he’s not up to the job, or doesn’t have the energy for it, he shouldn’t be running. If he needs more sleep, he should pass on the fundraisers and political events and rest more. I know politics is about campaigning, but Quinn keeps trying to portray himself as the “man of the people” doing “our work,” so maybe he should focus more on doing his job than keeping it.
It seems to me the Governor wouldn’t be so exhausted if he didn’t have to run against a guy whose sole purpose seems to be getting a Republican into the mansion. These nepols can’t help but take the ball and go home if they can’t get their way.
- BehindTheScenes - Thursday, Nov 19, 09 @ 9:50 pm:
Maybe when he Quinn rests up, his staff can quit denying that he and Hynes are going to do any “joint appearances” and agree to a debate downstate - like in Springfield. You know, the State Capitol. Yeah, that Springfield. They don’t seem to have problems getting together in Chicago (Jeez, 2 in one day!) and Rockford, etc. But not downstate.