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Rauner’s press conference adventures continue

Monday, Sep 29, 2014

* From the twitters…

* And that brings us to my weekly syndicated newspaper column

Just a quick note to Bruce Rauner: The next time you try to claim that Gov. Pat Quinn is “personally” under federal investigation (an allegation that, as far as anyone can tell, is not true), it’s probably best not to say it while standing next to a different governor who actually is “personally” under federal investigation.

Rauner held a relatively brief press conference last week to talk about Chicago’s violence problem with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie at his side. Rauner attempted to claim that Quinn was somehow responsible for the murder of a nine year old boy by a convict on probation - even though it appears right now that all state laws and procedures were followed. And not mentioned, of course, is that Newark, NJ has a murder rate almost twice that of Chicago, which sorta undercut Christie’s contention that Gov. Quinn had “failed” to protect Illinois’ public safety.

Rauner was then asked about the growing scandal of an alleged nursing home “bust-out” scheme, which includes the bizarrely sordid story of how the troubled company was sold off to a pathetic old man who thought he was buying computer parts and instead wound up with an empty shell corporation that ended up being responsible for about a billion dollars in wrongful death judgments.

The candidate denied any personal knowledge of the company’s problems (he never seems to know about his companies’ many, many problems), denied “lying” to the Chicago Tribune when he said he had only served on the nursing home company’s board of directors for a year (the Tribune eventually discovered his tenure was four times longer than that) and claimed that Quinn was “trying to create a distraction” by even bringing up the subject. Actually, Quinn running TV ads last week on a different Rauner company in Georgia that was hit with federal Medicaid fraud charges. Perhaps Rauner is confusing his companies. The nursing home story is an issue now because a federal bankruptcy trial, which started last week, is attempting to sort out who is responsible for paying what to the surviving families of dead nursing home residents.

The gubernatorial contender then attempted to turn the tables on Quinn by claiming the governor is personally under federal investigation for that 2010 anti-violence initiative. But Rauner’s campaign has repeatedly pointed to the fact that their candidate was never even deposed in the nursing home bankruptcy proceeding as “proof” that he has no responsibility. Using Rauner’s very own standard, since Quinn’s e-mails haven’t been directly subpoenaed by the feds he can also legitimately claim to be innocent.

And that’s when a reporter pointed out that Gov. Christie (whom Rauner referred to last week as “one of the greatest public servants in America”) is personally under federal investigation for that bridge closing scandal thing. It’s hardly the next Watergate, and appears freakishly overblown to my eyes, but a federal probe is a federal probe, I suppose, so it was a fair point. Rauner refused to respond and Christie gave the reporter the evil eye.

Not all, but most Chicago reporters don’t know much about state governance, and they know even less about state budgeting. So, Rauner has been able to avoid tough questions about things like his “business reforms” that he refuses to detail, or his proposed massive spending hikes coupled with even bigger tax cuts that will produce budget holes in the billions, etc. That’s where his highly polished, tried and true talking points do him the most good - with reporters who don’t understand the details and, for the most part, don’t care anyway.

But that phase of the campaign is now behind us. What’s left is Chicago reporters pushing Rauner to comment on the issues of the day as defined by them. And when he has no poll-tested talking points to rely on, he’s proving to be a sorely inadequate candidate.

Quinn’s campaign often sends out its lt. governor candidate Paul Vallas when it needs an attack dog. Rauner’s running mate Evelyn Sanguinetti, however, is most definitely not capable of handling herself with Chicago’s notoriously aggressive reporters. She’s just not good at it and they’d eat her for lunch. For as lacking as Rauner is, Sanguinetti is just not an option. So the top guy is left to do all the dirty work.


- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Not Rich - Monday, Sep 29, 14 @ 10:56 am:

    I am not sure I have much faith in the “hard hitting” Chicago press guys..they don’t do a good job pinning either candidate down

  2. - Amalia - Monday, Sep 29, 14 @ 10:56 am:

    Rich, your last paragraph is really perceptive!!!!

  3. - Anonymous - Monday, Sep 29, 14 @ 10:59 am:

    They could use Quinnochio to be the attack dog. Better yet how about William Kelly? Na that wouldn’t work either, he has burned all his bridges in the Republican Party.

  4. - Formerly Known As... - Monday, Sep 29, 14 @ 11:00 am:

    Sometimes politicians make a mistake.

    Sometimes they “evolve” on an issue.

    Sometimes they just tell you what you want to hear.

    With both candidates, it can be challenging to determine which of “these” times it is when they speak. But in this case, is the “plan” basically “we will figure it out when we win”? Sheesh.

  5. - walker - Monday, Sep 29, 14 @ 11:01 am:

    So Rauner still doesn’t have a position on what level he’s going to “roll back” taxes from? At this late date?

    How’s he going to ask for his rate increase in January, without at least some public preparation?

  6. - Mighty M. Mouse - Monday, Sep 29, 14 @ 11:02 am:

    If it weren’t for the fact that Christie would like him to fund his presidential campaign, I bet he would refuse to appear on the same stage with Rauner ever again.

  7. - wordslinger - Monday, Sep 29, 14 @ 11:03 am:

    Rauner is sorely lacking in surrogate attack dogs. You want the principle to be above it all, not doing the dirty work.

    He’s been throwing a lot of money around in GOP circles. Anybody want to help their guy out?

  8. - 47th Ward - Monday, Sep 29, 14 @ 11:05 am:

    ===Anybody want to help their guy out?===

    Who’d you have in mind, Kirk Dillard, Bill Brady or Dan Rutherford? Lol.

  9. - Anon - Monday, Sep 29, 14 @ 11:13 am:

    == Rauner says tax should roll back from 5 percent to 3.75 percent as scheduled, then says “possibility” he’d sign bill raising rate above 3.75 ==

    Did I read correctly that Rauner admits he might sign an income tax hike??? Since the rate is scheduled to fall to 3.75% on Jan. 1, raising it above that rate would surely constitute a hike. I’d like to know what Republicans think about that possibility?

  10. - Formerly Known As... - Monday, Sep 29, 14 @ 11:13 am:

    == You want the principle to be above it all, not doing the dirty work. ==


    Use the party chairman. Or Mr. Durkin. Or Mrs. Radogno. Or a successful CEO-buddy from the private sector. Or anyone. Double sheesh.

  11. - Formerly Known As... - Monday, Sep 29, 14 @ 11:20 am:

    == I’d like to know what Republicans think about that possibility? ==

    Probably the same thing they thought when he first said, some time ago, that he did not think the tax rate should be immediately eliminated but instead rolled back over time.

    That is obviously a == tax hike ==. That part is not new information.

  12. - wndycty - Monday, Sep 29, 14 @ 11:20 am:

    The next time Chris Christie stands next to Rauner and heaps praise on him the Chicago/Illinois media may want to ask him about this:

  13. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Monday, Sep 29, 14 @ 11:26 am:

    Did Bruce Rauner just unveil a secret tax hike plan that is completely identical to Pat Quinn’s, AND admit that Quinn was right to raise taxes in 2011?

    Editorial boards should have a joy with that one.

  14. - anon - Monday, Sep 29, 14 @ 11:32 am:

    I agree with posters on this thread. Bruce Rauner just suggested that a tax hike is in order. Time to pull that property tax freeze ad down, as well as the hits on PQ for the last tax increase.

  15. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Sep 29, 14 @ 11:33 am:

    To the Post,

    The moment the candidates got to choose their #2s, instead of thinking ahead, Rauner’s Crew thought about the moment.

    Slip and Sue is a perfect example of not understanding the gift of impact the #2s should be; the attack dog that represents the vigor and education of the other ticket and a rabid defender of the Principle, unmatched in knowledge of the issues and the #1, ready to pounce or defend, without breaking a sweat.

    The manner Rauner “took it” to Career Politicians, and even Union Bosses (IUOE 150 Bruce?) who would want to, “freely” be the defender of all that is Rauner?

    Pat Brady? Ken Griffin? Ron Gidwitz?

    See a pattern here? Money guys.

    Bruce Rauber has little if anything with Conservative GOP operatives, and even less with Rank and File GOP members, including alienating the GOP GA, calling 1/3 of them corrupt, while then funding both Caucuses and the ILGOP, Tom Hagen style.

    Now to Rauner in front of the Press. As far as his political retail politics is stellar, his press acumen is awful. Unless it’s rehearsed, proven to work, seen as hard hitting, or is used as a retort, Rauner has no skills at a podium, answering questions off the cuff, of looking…at ease or normal in the setting. Rauner is stilted, and when frustrated, looks awkwardly uncomfortable to a fault, falling back to talking points, regardless to what is directly asked.

    You can teach these skills, Rauner hasn’t learned any of them.

    Evelyn Sanguinetti fails as a #2 on so many levels, but to keep it to Press for the moment, her lack of just governmental knowledge, married to a lack of understanding Rauner’s policies, Evelyn lowers Rauner every time she tries to defend him.

    Every time.

    Evelyn’s 1st term Councilman background makes her responses comical, since the reality of her being up to running the 5th largest state is comical to begin with. Now, Evelyn is going to tell us she knows Rauner can be effective, giver her own background she is leaning on?

    Not even close.

    We are now 5 weeks out, with Rauner unable to be seen at a podium as skillful or knowledgeable, with no #2 to save the day, no surrogates willing to defend Rauner, leaving Rauner looking frustrated, angry, over-matched, over his head, and completely over done with talking points and rhetoric, that this late in the game, looking like a candidate unprepared for the rigors of leading the 5th largest state in America.

  16. - Redux - Monday, Sep 29, 14 @ 11:35 am:

    ==It’s hardly the next Watergate, and appears freakishly overblown to my eyes, but a federal probe is a federal probe, I suppose, so it was a fair point. ==

    I thought much the same until I experienced O’Hare on Friday. Bridgegate did to east coast motorists - over days!- what the FAA arsonist did to air travelers. “If” it was done for political payback as it seems to at least appear - the firestorm maybe isn’t as overblown as I also originally thought.

  17. - Redux - Monday, Sep 29, 14 @ 11:45 am:

    OW - great analysis. Would you agree with the flip side that Quinn did just the opposite with his pick? Meaning, taking a risk in the immediate (raising the misplaced ire of the teachers’ union) for the benefit of the long term, as you put it:

    == a rabid defender of the Principle, unmatched in knowledge of the issues and the #1, ready to pounce or defend, without breaking a sweat. ==

    I’ve yet to see Vallas mop his brow - and while we don’t know how a Little Ceasar’s pizza joint would do under his supervision, I think the state would do just fine. Better than fine.

  18. - AFSCME Steward - Monday, Sep 29, 14 @ 11:47 am:

    “It’s hardly the next Watergate, and appears freakishly overblown to my eyes, but a federal probe is a federal probe, I suppose, so it was a fair point”

    I don’t think it is overblon at all. I was a Christie supporter until Bridgegate. It really questions his character and judgement.

  19. - Anonymous - Monday, Sep 29, 14 @ 11:50 am:

    Hey Willy how about Sue slips again and can’t continue. Then you can take her place and save the day …
    If not you maybe Dan Proft? Better yet for 500 I am sure William Kelly would get on board…..

  20. - IrishPirate - Monday, Sep 29, 14 @ 11:53 am:

    The Beachwood Reporter had a link to this the other day.

    From Tumblr–which in Rauner’s case might be better called Tumbler–at least regarding his poll numbers.

  21. - Gee - Monday, Sep 29, 14 @ 11:55 am:

    As a Chicago reporter–and no, I’m not identifying myself-I take great exception to your claim that we’re not hammering Rauner on his proposals that don’t add up. We get the same non-answers out of him as the Springfield press. Seems like you’re just sniping at us for the sake of it, Rich. Let’s not carry this silly downstate vs Chicago rivalry over to journalism.

  22. - Try-4-Truth - Monday, Sep 29, 14 @ 12:02 pm:

    How about some examples “Gee”? ‘Cause I gotta tell ya, I’m not seeing it right now.

  23. - Mokenavince - Monday, Sep 29, 14 @ 12:19 pm:

    The election season is way to long.

  24. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Sep 29, 14 @ 12:22 pm:

    - Anonymous -, I think - Norseman - is running a heck of a campaign, I’ll stick with the guy who brought me. You can write me in, two “L”s, one “Y”.

    - Redux -, thanks for your kind words. The contrast if just experience, ability to be able and knowledgeable to run Illinois, understanding the # 2 campaign role, and being wonky enough to be knowledgeable, yet savy enough to make sound bites, Vallas isn’t sweating on Sanguinetti, that us a given you point out well..

  25. - 618662dem - Monday, Sep 29, 14 @ 12:36 pm:

    Rauners problem is he doesn’t have any establishment surrogates. They don’t like him or what he stands for. How many state workers want to bust unions and cut pensions? Very few, that is the number one reason that rauner loses.

  26. - Formerly Known As... - Monday, Sep 29, 14 @ 12:41 pm:

    == I’m not seeing it right now ==

    But we are seeing it from the press outside the Chicago area? Really?

    No one is getting answers from these guys.

  27. - Ginhouse Tommy - Monday, Sep 29, 14 @ 12:45 pm:

    Willy Many good points. Look out Rich. He might be trying to replace you.

  28. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Sep 29, 14 @ 12:58 pm:

    - Ginhouse Tommy -, while very kind…

    On my very best day, perfect in thought and execution, clear in words and metaphor, at that zenith of utter perfection…

    …that wouldn’t even match when Rich has this place closed for the weekend.

    I am just glad I get to hang out here. That is real.

    Much respect.

  29. - Langhorne - Monday, Sep 29, 14 @ 2:21 pm:

    No Rauner patronage, remember, so there is no personal reason for any of them to help him out.

    3/5 vote for immediate effective date on a bill passed this year, so it’s not gonna happen regardless.

    Rauner was in favor of extending the tax, before he was against it, except if it happens later, that might be ok. Are we clear? Or do we need a referendum first?

  30. - Macbeth - Monday, Sep 29, 14 @ 2:44 pm:

    Or do we need a referendum first?

    “Referendums” are the backbone of Illinois.

    “My wife and I” love referendums.

  31. - Just the Way It Is One - Monday, Sep 29, 14 @ 11:25 pm:

    –”He’s proving to be a sorely inadequate candidate.”–

    Well, ya almost hate to have to just directly come out and say it in a somewhat brutally blunt, manner, but, indeed, it’s true…after several months of all of us observing and analyzing Mr. Rauner as closely and fairly as Reason, Common Sense, and Wisdom would dictate, not to mention regularly learning about new (and too often sordid) revelations about his highly questionable–yes, even QUITE shady to say the least–business dealings which led to him making his Billion$, and even personal matters which often leave one in a Quandary about the nature of his judgment and unaBASHedly lavish lifestyle which 99.99% of us really just can’t relate to, well, that singular line quite NICELY just about sums it up at this point…!

    Astutely-written Column…!

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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