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GOP defends Rauner on “employer-provided birth control”

Friday, Oct 31, 2014 - Posted by Rich Miller

* As I told subscribers a few days ago, Personal PAC is running a new TV ad…

The spot begins with television news coverage of the “Hobby Lobby” decision, which allowed most businesses to opt out of providing birth control coverage in their employee health insurance. “Is it right for your boss to decide if your birth control is covered?” the ad continues. “Now you get to decide by voting ‘Yes’ to require Illinois health insurers to cover birth control.”

The ad then moves on to the Republican nominee. “Where does Bruce Rauner stand? He donated millions to right-wing groups and politicians who oppose birth control coverage. Vote ‘Yes’ for birth control coverage and vote ‘No’ on Bruce Rauner.”

* The ad

* Well, the Illinois Republican Party has a new TV ad which calls the Personal PAC spot “Totally false”…

The truth? Bruce Rauner supports employer-provided birth control. Always has.

* Watch

Notice, however, that the ad doesn’t say Rauner supports the actual ballot measure.

Even so, that could make some conservative heads explode.

This is a substantial buy, I’m told.

* Meanwhile, some unknown somebodies have produced a slick new online video attacking Personal PAC’s Terry Cosgrove

* Cosgrove sent me an e-mail yesterday in which he says he isn’t the one endorsing candidates…

The Personal PAC Board of Directors votes on all endorsements (I am not a board member) after agreeing on the attached candidate questionnaire language, reviewing all other pertinent information, bringing all new candidates in for a personal interview, or conducts phone interviews for those living far from Chicago. Usually, upward of 20 board members participate in the candidates interviews and take that responsibility very seriously.

After the board officially votes to endorse candidates and sets priorities based on financial projections, it asks that the staff, of which I am one, to implement our program to get our endorsed candidates elected. We in no way attempt to hide or “distort” our process or intentions. […]

The problem for the right-wing is that there are two kinds of anti-choice candidates: those who want to hide their views from everyone except the right-wing and those who think they are clever enough to get away with it. At least they should be honest about that point.

Candidates are, indeed, warned that a non-response is considered to be 100 percent anti pro-choice. Check out the group’s questionnaire by clicking here. The warning about non-response isn’t in the “fine print,” it’s right at the top. A sample letter is here. And this stuff is sent by registered mail several times.

And the group has also spent a fortune protecting pro-choice Republicans and has often attacked Democrats. It’s not as partisan as the video above makes it appear.

* Despite all this, and despite the fact that Cosgrove raises millions of dollars every cycle and has a pretty strong win-loss record, candidates still evade the questionnaire and then scream when they’re attacked. For instance, from House candidate Leslie Munger…

Bolstered by an infusion of campaign cash with only four days until the November 4th election, State Representative Carol Sente (D-Vernon Hills) has moved her negative attacks into high gear, accusing first-time candidate Leslie Munger (R-Lincolnshire) of allowing sexual assaults on women, not protecting women from rape and incest and saying Munger will “stick it to our families.”

In their endorsement of Leslie Munger, the Chicago Tribune called Sente’s campaign, “one of the most disgusting campaigns in the state.” Sente appears to be living up to her reputation.

In the past two weeks, Rep. Sente has received $173,523 from Mike Madigan and the Illinois Democratic Party and an additional $13,873 from Personal PAC, a Springfield lobbying group headed by Terry Cosgrove. In a two-day period, Personal PAC sent four direct mail pieces and directed robo-calls into the 59th district telling people that Leslie Munger would vote for a law that would hurt women who had been sexually assaulted.

The Democratic Party of Illinois also sent three direct mail pieces on behalf of Sente with pictures of young women with captions including “What if I am raped?” and “Leslie Munger will stick it to our families,” claiming Munger would take away a women’s right to choose “even in the case of rape, incest and when the life or health of the mother is at risk.”

Munger has vehemently denied all of the allegations as intentional and malicious lies intended to smear her integrity, misrepresent her views and distract voters from issues Munger has focused on throughout her campaign.

“I believe in freedom and that it is not the role of government to interfere with a woman’s personal health choice,” Munger stated, “I corrected Rep. Sente when she misstated my views on this topic during our Daily Herald endorsement interview which was videotaped. It’s clear she believes it is ok to misrepresent my view on women’s reproductive rights and perpetuate falsehoods to her constituents.”

Notice how she never describes herself as “pro-choice”? She dances close, but can’t quite commit.


  1. - phocion - Friday, Oct 31, 14 @ 11:59 am:

    ==And the group has also spent a fortune protecting pro-choice Republicans and has often attacked Democrats. It’s not as partisan as the video above makes it appear.==

    Rich, a few recent examples would be helpful.

  2. - Been There - Friday, Oct 31, 14 @ 12:00 pm:

    ===Even so, that could make some conservative heads explode.====
    Time for Local 150 to gin up more support for Grimm

  3. - Soccermom - Friday, Oct 31, 14 @ 12:00 pm:

    I guess the option of “fill out the questionnaire” is not available?

    Unless, of course, you’re a quietly pro-choice Republican who is trying to avoid putting anything on the record to keep from losing conservative support…

    My advice: Say it loud, and say it proud. Because when you try to out-cute Personal Pac, you end up annoying both sides.

  4. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Friday, Oct 31, 14 @ 12:03 pm:

    Rauner is so oblivious on this issue his campaign said it was a non-issue, falsely claiming that Illinois law requires all insurers to cover contraceptives.

    So, no, he hasn’t always supported it.

  5. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Oct 31, 14 @ 12:04 pm:

    The Rauner Cake would prefer Conservatives and Rank and File GOP members to “be quiet and get in line”

    This Ad buy only reminds me of Democrats for Rauner, and the pandering away from the GOP base instead of building off it.

    How will Rauner GOTV off this?


    This Cake, to rise, needs found actual Pluses to win, not trying to try to alienate the GOP base to get more conservative Democrats.

    This type of cross-messaging without actual Pluses, very dangerous.

  6. - Carl Nyberg - Friday, Oct 31, 14 @ 12:05 pm:

    To what extent should candidates be able to dodge answering questions on issues?

    Is there anything that prevents candidates from returning the questionnaire with the answer, “See the issues section of my campaign website” to every question?

    Personal PAC is playing hardball, but something tells me they didn’t get to this point without being jerked-around by candidates and campaigns engaging in their own dissembling.

  7. - Rich Miller - Friday, Oct 31, 14 @ 12:06 pm:

    ===Rich, a few recent examples would be helpful. ===

    Amanda Mancke in the primary immediately springs to mind. Don’t know if they’re backing any GOP candidates this fall, but I also don’t know how many GOP candidates replied to their questionnaire. The new crop of suburban candidates is far more conservative than in past years.

  8. - Reality Check - Friday, Oct 31, 14 @ 12:10 pm:

    Um, the Homer Horizon? Sheesh.

  9. - OneMan - Friday, Oct 31, 14 @ 12:11 pm:

    nice video about Personal PAC.. Someone spent some time and money on that one…

  10. - 47th Ward - Friday, Oct 31, 14 @ 12:13 pm:

    I realize the first casualty of any war is the battle plan. But did Team Rauner really plan to be defending his pro-choice bona fides just days before the election?

    And how does reminding the eight million or so viewers in the Chicago media market that Rauner is a social liberal affect conservative turnout?

    Yes, Rauner needs suburban women to win this thing, but that assumes he holds his base too. I can see how trying to add more pro-choice women to his side ends up losing him an equal amount of social conservative voters.

    But again, is this how they drew it up on the chalk board over the summer? I don’t think so. This is more evidence that something is wrong in Raunerland.

  11. - pseudonymous - Friday, Oct 31, 14 @ 12:13 pm:

    I have really mixed feelings about the Personal PAC strategy. Yes, on an issue like choice there are candidates who try to hide their position, trying to play both sides of the fence.

    On the other hand, there is something particularly dishonest and sleazy about Personal PAC’s habit of basically saying that someone who is opposed only to, say, parental notification is “against all abortions even when the life of the mother is at stake.”

    I think Personal PAC has been doing that for so long, those of us involved in politics have grown immune to it. But it’s a really unfair and deceitful tactic.

    So I have sympathy for the problem Terry Cosgrove faces, but I think his solution is over the top and degrades politics. Perhaps the better solution would be to say failure to return a questionnaire will be considered a negative when deciding where PPAC will make independent expenditures.

    As to Republicans supported by PPAC, how about Tom Cross?

    I don’t think there are any other 100% pro-choice Republicans running (that’s the standard), but in the past the big complaint from Democrats was that PPAC would happily spend a lot more on a pro-choice Republican than on a Democrat, and they even got involved in races where the 100% pro-choice Republican incumbent was running against a 100% pro-choice Democrat who turned in a questionnaire. (Coulson versus Hughes). And to the end they spent a fortune on Rosemary Mulligan.

  12. - Wordslinger - Friday, Oct 31, 14 @ 12:17 pm:

    Trick bag for Rauner. Cant win for losing on fhe issue.

    That’s what happens when you try to be all things to all people.

  13. - OneMan - Friday, Oct 31, 14 @ 12:19 pm:

    But again, is this how they drew it up on the chalk board over the summer?

    No one in November is playing like they drew it up over the summer…

    Birth control isn’t going to send many conservative voters over the edge and he has already lost the pro-life or else voters by now if they were his ‘to lose’ as it were.

  14. - Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner - Friday, Oct 31, 14 @ 12:22 pm:

    @Wordslinger nails it. Rauner will say anything to anyone. He has no core. Now he’s paying the price.

  15. - VM - Friday, Oct 31, 14 @ 12:24 pm:

    But then there is Greg Hinz’s column today:

    “GOP gubernatorial nominee Bruce Rauner frequently has said he “has no social agenda” on hot button issues such as gay marriage and abortion, even emphasizing through his wife, Diana Rauner, that he in fact is pro-choice. But in the final days of his campaign, his money is saying something else.”

  16. - unclesam - Friday, Oct 31, 14 @ 12:24 pm:

    To all GOP candidates and political staff: “It’s the economy, stupid!”

  17. - Soccermom - Friday, Oct 31, 14 @ 12:25 pm:

    The Rauner campaign motto:

    Millions for conflicting, confusing and strategically flawed paid media. Not one penny for a chalkboard…

  18. - Soccermom - Friday, Oct 31, 14 @ 12:28 pm:

    This, at the very same time as this????

  19. - Hacksaw Jim - Friday, Oct 31, 14 @ 12:28 pm:

    Its amazing to me that the life/choice issue continues to play a significant role in elections but it does - and not to the benefit of the Republicans. Our society has progressed so much in terms of women’s rights, reproductive rights in particular, that the Republicans needs to get this albatross off from around their neck once and for all. Are there that many voters out there that would withhold their support for a pro-choice candidate that an election would turn on it?

  20. - Pot calling kettle - Friday, Oct 31, 14 @ 12:29 pm:

    ==they even got involved in races where the 100% pro-choice Republican incumbent was running against a 100% pro-choice Democrat who turned in a questionnaire.==

    This is the deal for incumbents from most advocacy groups, if they vote with the group, the endorsement is guaranteed. If they did not follow that rule, what is the incentive to listen to their pleas?

  21. - Mike Noonan - Friday, Oct 31, 14 @ 12:30 pm:

    Terry Cosgrove is a warrior. One of the fiercest participants in the arena. Personal PAC’s questionnaire and endorsement policies are clear and unwavering. If you are with them they are with you. Period. Forget about party labels. In fact, I know first hand that PP tries to find pro-choice Republicans to support, but those candidates are becoming fewer and fewer. Cross Terry Cosgrove at your own peril.

  22. - Carl Nyberg - Friday, Oct 31, 14 @ 12:31 pm:

    There’s a big difference between

    a. “I support including birth control at my company.”

    b. “I oppose any employer limiting birth control based on the employer’s personal beliefs.”

  23. - Del Clinkton - Friday, Oct 31, 14 @ 12:38 pm:

    There is no such thing as “Pro-Choice” (or “Pro-Life”) for that matter. What Roe V Wade determined was a Constitutional Right to Privacy.

  24. - Not unknown somebodies - Friday, Oct 31, 14 @ 12:50 pm:

    The video directs people to a website that is run by the former spokesperson for Cicero, Dan Proft.

  25. - pseudonymous - Friday, Oct 31, 14 @ 12:51 pm:

    @Pot calling kettle

    == “This is the deal for incumbents from most advocacy groups, if they vote with the group, the endorsement is guaranteed. ” ==

    Right, but the rule and how strictly they follow it proves they are not partisan. This tidbit was provided as evidence that Personal PAC does indeed support and spend money for Republicans, even against Democrats that agree with them.

  26. - Come on man! - Friday, Oct 31, 14 @ 12:54 pm:

    So the slick “Cosgrove Ad” is funded by the illinois Opportunity Project. Dan Proft is one of their “Special Commentators”. So they have a problem with false attacks when it comes to choice issues but the complete malarky they have been spreading about House members voting for or supporting SB16 in targeted suburban districts is fair game. Its tough when Terry is just better at playing the game by using an issue that actually moves numbers.

  27. - haverford - Friday, Oct 31, 14 @ 12:56 pm:

    Team Quinn - go ahead and grab the first 10 seconds of that Rauner ad and play it all over south of I-80. Along with ‘Paid for by the Illinois Republican Party.”

    That’s gotta be worth a few Chad Grimm votes.

  28. - Come on man! - Friday, Oct 31, 14 @ 12:56 pm:

    Also, how much money has Terry spent of people like Rosemary Mulligan and Dee Beuabian?

  29. - my two cents - Friday, Oct 31, 14 @ 12:57 pm:

    I applaud PPAC’s unwavering, uncompromising methods of endorsement. Too often I’ve learned too late that a candidate endorsed by Planned Parenthood or the Brady gun control group (just examples) is approved for having voted once or twice for their agenda. So many votes are procedural and so many bills destined for failure that it’s easy to game the system - poison pills are often injected into bills for the same purpose of obfuscating intent. Cosgrove doesn’t pander and we can trust what he says.

  30. - Anonymous - Friday, Oct 31, 14 @ 1:02 pm:

    Terry & friends helped out Skippy when he was challenged by Kathleen Willis

  31. - Arizona Bob - Friday, Oct 31, 14 @ 1:09 pm:

    Just another reason for socially conservative Republicans (even those still living in Illinois) not to care a whit if Rauner is elected or not.

    He’s a Liberal Democrat on social issues, juiced in on the pinstripe patronage trail for his business success, and he won’t offer a cogent plan for addressing the financial and cultural challenges facing Illinois.

    Why exactly should Republicans bother going to the polls to vote for this guy, let alone work for him and contribute to his campaign?

    We’ve got two wealthy GOP candidates at the top of the ticket (Rauner and Oberweis) who seem to be doing this as an ego stroke instead of a passion for the good of the state/nation. They couldn’t do any worse than Quinn and Durbin, but I just don’t see them making that much of a difference.

    Too bad that Oberweis got bored so quickley being a state senator, a spot that REALLY needs some leadership and has the potential to do some good, and many would give their eye teeth to have a crack at to improve the mess in Springfield.

    I wonder how long the Washington Senate seat would hold his interest were he elected…..

  32. - Carl Nyberg - Friday, Oct 31, 14 @ 1:14 pm:

    I don’t see how Republican candidates have much to complain about.

    Illinois GOP platform:

    A. As the rights and needs of children begin at conception…

    If choose to affiliate with a party that describes “life begins at conception” as “the *first* freedom”, people can reasonably infer you take a hardline against abortion unless you register a difference of opinion.

  33. - Carl Nyberg - Friday, Oct 31, 14 @ 1:18 pm:

    BTW, the website of the Rauner-led Republican Party doesn’t link to the platform.

    Under the tab “learn” [about the GOP], no link to the platform.

  34. - A guy... - Friday, Oct 31, 14 @ 1:22 pm:

    Oddly, the Personal PAC ad may help by offering a shred of information for very passionate pro life people to rationalize voting for Rauner. While not everyone knows Terry Cosgrove, every ardent pro lifer does and he’s Lucifer to them. He’s the one guy who could get that group into Rauner’s column.
    That would be a wonderful irony.

    As for PP’s tactics with their questionnaire. You can certainly report people refused to fill it out and criticize them for that. To go the step further and use their questionnaire that was never filled out, as the source of their ads (as they do) is something someone ought to bring to court. You can’t compel someone to fill it out. If they don’t, you don’t get to “make up” their positions on that basis and “factually” source themselves.

    They play dirty. Crazy thing is, they don’t have to in order to be just as effective. This time, I believe they’re actually hurting many of the candidates their trying to help. Now Carol Sente has developed a reputation of someone somewhere between dirty and filthy. I don’t think that’s a big help.

  35. - Del Clinkton - Friday, Oct 31, 14 @ 1:24 pm:

    “Liberal Democrat”? Whats that?

  36. - Carl Nyberg - Friday, Oct 31, 14 @ 1:36 pm:

    The Illinois Republican Party is free to downgrade abortion as a priority in the party platform.

    But until it does, the onus is on the people who choose to run as Republicans to explain how they differ from their party’s platform.

  37. - VM - Friday, Oct 31, 14 @ 1:58 pm:

    @a guy:

    == “Oddly, the Personal PAC ad may help by offering a shred of information for very passionate pro life people to rationalize voting for Rauner. While not everyone knows Terry Cosgrove, every ardent pro lifer does and he’s Lucifer to them. He’s the one guy who could get that group into Rauner’s column.”

    If the mailer gets in the hands of pro-lifers. Personal PAC’s targeting is better than that.

  38. - Concerned - Friday, Oct 31, 14 @ 2:04 pm:

    –Arizona Bob:

    Your comment made me think that Rauner’s approach towards his base makes Rauner look like he is trying to win the Democratic Primary (to go along with his narrow victory in the Republican Primary).

    For a smart guy, Rauner sure doesn’t seem to understand electoral politics much.

  39. - ajtg - Friday, Oct 31, 14 @ 2:27 pm:

    ” It’s not as partisan as the video above makes it appear.”

    While the video of course skews how Personal PAC evaluates their endorsements, P-PAC clearly is very partisan as shown by how they ask their questions in their questionnaire. They preface each question or group of questions with clearly partisan versions of the issues, many which contain misleading information and misrepresentations. These are clearly the talking points of the far-left of the pro-choice movement. Just because the video skews some element of P-PAC doesn’t mean the organization isn’t partisan.

  40. - A guy... - Friday, Oct 31, 14 @ 2:27 pm:

    == Come on man! - Friday, Oct 31, 14 @ 12:56 pm:

    Also, how much money has Terry spent of people like Rosemary Mulligan and Dee Beuabian?===

    Yeah, man. You got an address on either of them? Can’t find them in the General Assembly handbook.

  41. - Confused - Friday, Oct 31, 14 @ 2:31 pm:

    That response from Cosgrove may be the most disingenuous thing ever written in Illinois politics.

  42. - walker - Friday, Oct 31, 14 @ 3:32 pm:

    Terry can speak for himself, but they will very strongly support pro-choice Republicans if only they will consistently and openly say it. in my experience those are by far their favored candidates.

  43. - Amalia - Friday, Oct 31, 14 @ 4:18 pm:

    the worst thing about the anti terry cosgrove piece? the end. where the male voice tells me that social issues are fake and fiscal issues are real. dear ladeez, your issues are not issues, not love, right wing conservatives who know better because we want not to raise the minimum wage. stuff it!

  44. - Under Further Review - Friday, Oct 31, 14 @ 5:27 pm:

    There is a complete lack of nuance in the questionnaire and in Cosgrove’s message. To be all good with Personal Pac, one need express opposition to legislation and court decisions that have permitted certain constitutional limits upon abortion access.

    Former President Clinton stated that abortion should be safe, legal and rare. He would probably fail to pass the Personal Pac litmus test.

  45. - Carl Nyberg - Friday, Oct 31, 14 @ 6:17 pm:

    Abortion should be protected under Amendment XIII.

    Politicians should find some other issue to fundraise on.

  46. - Under Further Review - Saturday, Nov 1, 14 @ 12:20 am:

    Diane Rauner’s latest email comment on Terry Cosgrove and the tactics of Personal Pac:

    Bruce has been in conversation with Personal PAC for over two years. Theirs was the only questionnaire that he has completed in this race, and the only question he got “wrong” was on parental notification. Bruce supports it– I don’t, but 75-80% of the population does, including a majority of people who consider themselves pro-choice.

    Terry Cosgrove’s decision to attack Bruce is driven by politics, not the issues, and it sickens me because I believe that it is ultimately destructive to our cause. By attacking a pro-choice Republican candidate, he virtually assures we will never see another. Instead of promoting bipartisan support for choice– a great victory!– he has chosen to use innuendo and misinformation to smear Bruce’s views and record. What Terry neglects to mention is that he is a paid appointee of the Quinn administration with a salary and pension.

    If her comments are accurate and this is all about “parental notification” which has passed constitutional muster and which enjoys significant public support, Personal Pac is taking the extremist position.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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