* Bernie has a great column this week about Bruce Rauner’s refusal to be specific about… well… darned near everything. He goes back to June with an exchange about the power of public employee unions…
“We need to modify their power,” [Rauner] said. When asked how, he said, “I won’t go into it today. We’ve got a detailed plan on it.”
I mentioned that it sounded like legislative approval would be needed.
“We have a plan,” he said. “We’ll talk about that another day.”
* On education…
I asked if he would want vouchers to be usable at religion-based schools.
“We’ll get to that plan later,” he said with a laugh.
* On pensions…
I asked if it would be unconstitutional to make current workers change midstream, given that the Illinois Constitution doesn’t allow “diminished or impaired” pension benefits.
“Absolutely not,” he said, “We’re not taking away anything done historically. … I’ve talked to top lawyers in the state. Very constitutional.”
* Since many months have passed, Bernie went to see if he could get an update…
[Rauner campaign spokesman Mike Schrimpf] this week didn’t provide the name of any of those “top lawyers” or provide clarification on the issues about which I asked.
* Rauner also avoided directly answering many questions in last night’s debate. Coverage roundup…
* Debate video, Part 1
* Debate video, Part 2 [Waiting on valid link]
* Debate video, Part 3
* Debate video, Part 4
* GOP candidate debate takes on feisty tone: From the opening minutes, Sen. Kirk Dillard was particularly aggressive at making personal digs at the other three: Sen. Bill Brady on losing the GOP primary in 2006 and governor’s race in 2010, Treasurer Dan Rutherford on recent allegations of misconduct, and businessman Bruce Rauner for his massive fundraising and television ads that have dominated the airwaves.
* Debates start to heat up: It was Kirk Dillard who punched hardest, saying Rauner’s business associates were crooks. “More business associates from Missouri and Michigan in Federal penitentiaries than we have Governors, and that ought to be a red flag he’s unelectable”.
* GOP candidates for IL governor square off at debate: When asked to comment on Rutherford’s weaknesses as a possible general election candidate, businessman Bruce Rauner would not bite. “I’m not going to answer that question directly,” said Rauner. “I’ve worked very hard in the race not to criticize my Republican opponents.”
* Rivals Rip Rauner in Republican Debate: And Brady also attacked the 6-year-old ad tying Dillard to President Obama. “He’s not a reliable republican,” said Brady.
* Owning assault weapons a right, three GOP candidates say: “We have to be aware that we have major crime problems in Illinois, and we make a mistake when politicians blame gun ownership for our crime problems. There are other issues, it’s not gun ownership,” Rauner said. “Pat Quinn has been a massive failure on crime in Illinois. Crime under Pat Quinn has skyrocketed throughout Illinois — not just Chicago, but in Rockford and many other communities, and we’ve got to take action with restoring our budgets to balance so we properly staff and train our police departments.”
* Rivals rip Rauner in raucous governor debate: Brady said Rauner’s tough talk about using the governor’s executive authority to challenge a Democratic-led General Assembly was “naïve” and threatened gridlock. “He doesn’t know what it’s like to make the legislature work together,” Brady said. “Look at the catastrophe that’s created in Washington, D.C. with Barack Obama dictating by executive order. Mr. Rauner thinks he can do that in Springfield because he doesn’t have the experience.”
* Governor candidates sharpen attacks on eve of early voting: The candidates largely avoided laying out specific plans to address Illinois’ disastrous finances beyond allowing the state’s 2011 tax increase to roll back. Rauner, for example, called for “comprehensive tax reform” and Rutherford said “everything is on the table,” including raising more revenue via taxes.
* GOP candidates talk gay marriage at debate: Republicans running for Illinois governor say they don’t object to gay marriage on a personal level, but they don’t support Illinois’ new same-sex marriage law.