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Quinn and Hynes face off in first debate

Wednesday, Nov 18, 2009

* This interpretation of Gov. Pat Quinn’s comment during a debate with Dan Hynes this morning is a bit of a stretch, but it may come back to haunt Quinn

But it was Quinn’s use of the term “missions accomplished” that was unusual for a Democrat. For years, Democrats nationally used the term to deride former Republican President George W. Bush’s handling of the Iraq War — a reference to the “Mission Accomplished” banner that hung behind a flight-suit wearing Bush as he addressed members of the military from an aircraft carrier.

“You’ve got to have a governor who gets things done. That’s what I’ve done. I took over at the worst time Illinois could ever have in our history, a very dark, dark hour,” Quinn said. “And we’ve, day after day, got missions accomplished whether it’s in ethics or getting things done for ordinary people in the budget or getting jobs.”

Hynes was on the attack this morning at the Union League Club…

“One of the problems with getting something done is you need to have credibility. You can’t be inconsistent. You can’t flip flop. You can’t be changing course every other week,” Hynes said. “When that happens, members of the legislature start charting their own course. We need to have strong leadership and consistency to get things done in Springfield.”

This Gitmo thing is a prime example of Quinn’s serious problems with leadership and governornance. It’s turned into a PR disaster because the governor didn’t bother to lay even a little groundwork. Instead, it’s all blown up in his face. Many have said that Quinn is in over his head, and the prison debacle certainly shows it.


Hynes accused Quinn of relying on the same “gimmicks” that got the state into a financial mess in the first place.

I’ll update this post with more debate stories as they come in.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Ravenswood Right Winger - Wednesday, Nov 18, 09 @ 10:33 am:

    Wow Hynes can have a lot of fun with that comment in television ads…..

  2. - ep - Wednesday, Nov 18, 09 @ 10:33 am:

    I see the ad:
    “budget Crises, Terrorists in Illinois, tax increase on anyone making $14,000 per year. Mission Accomplished.

  3. - WizzardofOzzie - Wednesday, Nov 18, 09 @ 10:39 am:

    Thomson prison is a disaster and blew up in the Governor’s face? Ummmmm, every editorial has been in favor of the plan.

  4. - Small Town Liberal - Wednesday, Nov 18, 09 @ 10:44 am:

    - ..every editorial has been in favor of the plan. -

    Editorials are only a portion of public relations. There has still been plenty of bad press. I’m not against the plan, but Rich is right about Quinn’s handling of the issue.

  5. - Thomas Westgard - Wednesday, Nov 18, 09 @ 10:45 am:

    The reference to Mission Accomplished could be a distraction. On the other hand, Quinn could use it to remind people about the recent failures of the GOP and make Democrats look better by comparison. Hard to know how much of this is intentional.

  6. - The Doc - Wednesday, Nov 18, 09 @ 10:48 am:

    ==getting things done for ordinary people in the budget or getting jobs==

    Eerily reminiscent of Blago, both in its wording and intellectual dishonesty.

  7. - Bill - Wednesday, Nov 18, 09 @ 10:49 am:

    Quinn has bungled everything he has attempted. Mission accomplished? You gotta be kiddin’. His staff should make him stick to the Sunday afternoon press opportunities and funerals and not let him out during the week. Maybe they could plan some sort of trade mission overseas until after the primary. Every time this guy opens his mouth he hurts himself.

  8. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Nov 18, 09 @ 10:55 am:

    I have to disagree on the Thomson thing. I’m not sure Quinn could have laid any groundwork before it came out. I imagine the White House and Durbin were calling the shots.

    That said, Quinn and Hynes are a cage match for the ages. I’ve been out of the loop, did these guys always dislike each other so much?

  9. - ep - Wednesday, Nov 18, 09 @ 11:00 am:

    IT doesn’t matter what politicos think about the jail, all that matters is public opinion — I’m sorry to say it but most people fall for the scary stories of disaster.

  10. - soccermom - Wednesday, Nov 18, 09 @ 11:03 am:

    Gitmo a public relations disaster for Governor Quinn? Rich, you’re all wet.

  11. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Nov 18, 09 @ 11:04 am:

    Quinn’s biggest problem isn’t Hynes - it is the clock. The longer he sits there doing absolutely nothing, the less are the Democrat’s chance of keeping the governor’s office.

    Against Hynes, Quinn just has enough time to beat him to get the nomination. It will be a close shave.

    Quinn needs to disappear for a month to keep himself from making foolish statements, showing up supporting foolish programs, and reminding Democrats what a buffoon he is. He needs to smile, travel extensively, and say vapid things while ignoring the hard questions.

    That should buy him enough time to beat Hynes.

    Then he has to hope for a change in the political climate until the General. A lot can happen in a year. Don’t count Quinn out yet.

    But I’m not voting for him in February. No way.

  12. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Nov 18, 09 @ 11:11 am:

    ===Quinn’s biggest problem isn’t Hynes - it is the clock.===

    I dunno about that.

  13. - Chicago Cynic - Wednesday, Nov 18, 09 @ 11:15 am:

    Quinn’s biggest problem is that he still thinks out loud. It wasn’t a problem when nobody cared what he was saying. Now they care…a lot. It’s a HUGE problem.

  14. - Bill - Wednesday, Nov 18, 09 @ 11:24 am:

    ==Quinn’s biggest problem isn’t Hynes==
    You are right. It is himself.

  15. - Will County Woman - Wednesday, Nov 18, 09 @ 11:27 am:


    I respectfully disagree with you. Quinn and Durbin needed to do groundwork in allying fears. Also Rich pointed out they should have enlisted Manzullo, because Thomson is in his district. Getting Manzullo’s take on things would prepared both on how to counter-attack. Instead their first and only line of defense was jobs. Okay, that’s fine for Thomson, but what about the rest of state? The rest of the state needed to hear not only about jobs, but hear about security too.

    When questions about the proposal arose, Quinn and Durbin became defensive and mayor daleyesque in their response, meaning a little hot ‘n’ bothered by the questions. then they did what mayor daley often does, they started ridiculing serious concerns/questions. Clearly that didn’t bode well for them or anybody. (think: daley and the parking meter debacle)

    I don’t understand how all of these politicians went to law school,and in many cases have practiced law, but then don’t know how to make an effective and well-rounded public policy case/pitch.

    The big blunder here was that Quinn, Durbin et al. did not have a plan. if they had one they would have been able to anticipate and address concerns in their plan. Through the articulation of the plan they would have been able to answer questions/concerns rather than creating questions and concerns.

  16. - Johnnyc - Wednesday, Nov 18, 09 @ 11:38 am:

    I was at the debate and Quinn did much better than Hynes. Quinn may riff a bit but he gets better and better each time I see him. Hynes actually tried to read his closing statement. He is totally and completely unable to connect with people.

    One thing that Quinn brought up repeatedly that struck me is the difference between the two on the pension system. Quinn had called for a two-tiered pension system while Hynes answer on how to fix pensions is that “we need to fully fund them.” Anyone who doesn’t admit that pension reform is absolutely necessary to fix our structural deficit is either lying, or worse doesn’t have an understanding of the budget (kind of a problem for the Comptroller).

    I was torn going in because I like them both, but Quinn locked up my vote after his strong performance.

    It will be on Illinois Channel so all the Cap Fax junkies will be able to watch for themselves.

  17. - Johnnyc - Wednesday, Nov 18, 09 @ 11:41 am:

    WCW, if you think the White House and Durbin hadn’t talked to Manzullo before announcing this, you’re even crazier than I already thought. Jim Sacia, a Republican and former FBI agent, is all for this. It’s just Washington Republicans trying to score points with the Fox News/ Tea Party crazies.

  18. - Ghost - Wednesday, Nov 18, 09 @ 11:43 am:

    oddly not a single person has come forth to discuss or cover the question of why we are selling a goiod prison we own, bought and paid for, but are keeping bad prisons in need of millions and millions in repair.

    Also the idea that the government which will exist forever should sell off assets is backwards. So we wait until we have to construct a pruions under crisis standards paying exhorbitant rates for fast construction… and of course you wat a prison built under pressure.

    This is penny wise pound foolish. Il needs more of its prisions rebuilt/replaced. elling them off unless we get an extreme premium is the kind of short term today only sighted decisions which has put us in such bad economic shape. Lets look past the moment and consider the long term needs of the State and the cost of delaying even further building new prisons to replace our antiques.

  19. - Raymond Moley - Wednesday, Nov 18, 09 @ 11:55 am:

    Ghost has some good points. The state could save $25 to $30 million a year by closing Stateville (but keeping the R&C open). However, without political willpower to execute the plan it’s a mute point.

  20. - Will County Woman - Wednesday, Nov 18, 09 @ 12:08 pm:

    just curious…can Quinn sell off the lottery and McPier to raise revenue?

    @ Johnnyc - Wednesday, Nov 18, 09 @ 11:41 am:
    if you had bothered to read and comprehend what I wrote, you would have seen the “as rich stated yesterday” part of the sentence. go look at yesterday’s blogs. you too soccermom—look at the polling data blog.

    Johnnyc is it possible that the people around quinn are not serving him very well? Does he not speak to members of his administration staff or campaign staff before he speaks to the public? surely among all of those people there was/is someone to step-up and tell him that he was going about the thomson thing the wrong way, right? Or, is that perhaps he doesn’t listen to the people around him?

    While you don’t comment daily, the posts that you have written going back to the early part of this summer indicate that you have been for quinn all along in this race. Is quinn doing as badly in the debates as it seems he is? I have a hard time believing that he is doing better than fair at most. Your suggestion that he’s coming off spectactularly as a master-debater and as a result has “locked up” your vote deserves a *sigh* and OH PLEASE!

    at this point, I don’t know who will win the democratic primary. I think it will just come down to how much attention voters are paying. if quinn wins it means that voters weren’t paying much attention.

  21. - Coach - Wednesday, Nov 18, 09 @ 12:09 pm:


    That’s not true. See today’s DeKalb Daily Chronicle.

  22. - Johnnyc - Wednesday, Nov 18, 09 @ 2:12 pm:

    Also, Durbin and the White House talked Manzullo. Anyone who says otherwise is wrong.

    Your uniformed, silly rants are amusing.

  23. - Will County Woman - Wednesday, Nov 18, 09 @ 2:31 pm:

    “Quinn touted to the audience that there is a “carefully done plan to protect” Illinois residents, afterward the governor conceded he was talking about the plans that existed for Thomson to serve as a maximum-security state prison — not one housing federal terrorism suspects.”—Chicago Tribune

    yeah, didn’t think quinn had a plan. i don’t understand why politicians say things knowing full well that the press will wnat to follow-up with them on it. when the press does and the politician has no answer or has to concede, it just makes the politician look and sound all the most dishonest.

    Quinn is getting into some dangerous territory here. He’s pretty much been given a pass by the media, so far as questioning his credbility. But in recent weeks i’ve noticed that the media are not quite as generous as they once were. they are starting to not believe him. Rich Miller worries about this from a mark kirk perpective, but I think losing the media is a bigger problem for Quinn than Kirk in the long run. Quinn still has a lot of things dangling and increasing media scrutiny could hurt him should he survive the primary. After all there is the 50 percent income tax hike issue still out there and growing suspicion that he just might not push for it after the primary.

    he hasn’t yet signed the reform legislation,right?
    has he given his borrowing plan to hynes yet?
    IDOT reportedly has $200 million leftover from work it is finishing, will quinn be able to use that for MAP?

    (this post wasn’t for you johnnyc, so don’t worry about it)

  24. - Will County Woman - Wednesday, Nov 18, 09 @ 2:48 pm:


    if quinn has accomplished a lot of missions during his short tenure as governor, why does his current campaign ad solely focus on 1.) what he has tried to do/intends to do. and, 2.) his political career before assuming the governor’s office.

    please note that this isn’t a gotcha type post, I am asking since you’re on of his people and are so informed. prior to today the quinn camp has signaled that it intended to run an offense that glosses over the past 10 months. finally, assuming that he wins the primary, what are your thoughts on whether or not Quinn will push for his 50 percent tax increase after feb 2nd?

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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