Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » *** UPDATED x1 *** Why did Chris Kennedy run away from reporters yesterday?
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*** UPDATED x1 *** Why did Chris Kennedy run away from reporters yesterday?

Wednesday, Jul 27, 2016

* To refresh your memory, this is what Chris Kennedy did after his speech to the convention delegate breakfast yesterday

Kennedy then walked toward a waiting elevator, but a crush of Chicago reporters followed him in, not satisfied with the nonanswer.

“This is sort of ridiculous, please,” Kennedy pleaded.

“What’s ridiculous is you don’t answer questions,” WFLD-Ch. 32 reporter Mike Flannery shot back. “You’ve run four or five campaigns in the gossip column. Are you running for governor or not?”

“I don’t have to address you. Please leave the elevator and let me go to my meeting. Please do that. Have some decency,” Kennedy responded. “What have you become? Please, please.”

A furious Kennedy then left the elevator and headed to a nearby stairwell. Chicago Sun-Times reporter Lynn Sweet then chased him into the stairwell doorway requesting to take a photograph of the businessman, who obliged with an awkwardly forced smile.

Flannery was right about Kennedy teasing us with selected leaks about possible runs that never materialized. You may not like his aggressiveness (reporting is sometimes like legislating, the sausage-making process ain’t always pretty), but somebody had to ask the guy that question.

Besides, Kennedy asked to speak. And it’s customary to talk to reporters after one of those speeches. If he didn’t know that, well, too bad. He should get better advance people.

* Kennedy talked to Mark Brown later

Kennedy said he thought his message to the delegation spoke for itself and that he refuses to participate in media scrums that are the regular stuff of politics and public office.

“People turn into animals in that environment, and they are asking ridiculous questions, acting like bullies. … It’s a b——- way to conduct each other’s business,” he said.

Kennedy said he would rather do one-on-one interviews with every reporter than one hallway press conference.

“If you don’t like that, I mean, sorry,” he said.

That might be a reason not to run.

Even Speaker Madigan, of all people, speaks to these convention “media scrums.” If Madigan can do it, so can Chris Kennedy. Brown has good advice.

*** UPDATE ***  Flannery’s report on the debacle ends with Flannery saying

You don’t want to talk to the average folks through this TV lens. Apparently, talking to the Mike Madigans of the world is good enough at this point for Chris Kennedy.

Oh, snap.

* Video

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - The Captain - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 9:41 am:

    Bruce Rauner will be a fiercely tough opponent. He’s disciplined, assertive, politically aggressive, insanely well funded and has a talented, experienced campaign team. If you can’t handle the press scrum at the convention breakfast you may as well spend the next two years at the beach.

  2. - Chungas revenge - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 9:43 am:

    It would be nice if our local media were as tenacious when listening to our Governors press conferences.

  3. - Union Man - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 9:46 am:

    Just because someone rings my doorbell, doesn’t mean I have to answer it and just because a reporter wants to talk to a public figure doesn’t mean he must. I’d rather hear more hounding of state reps who suddenly resigned.

  4. - Downstate Dem - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 9:47 am:

    Everyone at yesterday’s breakfast said Chris Kennedy’s speech was very good and effective. His speech and presence at the breakfast speaks for itself. The real issue is the content of his critique of Illinois government under this Governor — and the need for change.

  5. - Cassandra - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 9:47 am:

    As I’ve been saying, he’s a member of the storied Kennedys, who have, collectively been under intense worldwide media scrutiny for nearly 60 years. It’s not surprising that he has his own opinions about the media, and, to be fair, they are well-earned.

    As for running for office-if anybody knows the pros and cons, he does.

  6. - 360 Degree TurnAround - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 9:48 am:

    The convention press conference isn’t even softball, it should be tee ball. Easy. Durbin is a pro, said we are concentrating on this election, then we’ll see. Talk about yourself, Trump, what you like about Illinois etc.

  7. - Saluki - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 9:50 am:

    Sheesh. Does he use a “sippey” cup at dinner? Grow up already Kennedy. This ain’t beanbag.

  8. - Ron Burgundy - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 9:50 am:

    Sounds like he needs to develop a thicker skin if he wants to run for and hold elective office. You can’t run and serve under your rules or nothing. Sorry, doesn’t work that way.

  9. - Downstater - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 9:56 am:

    =You can’t ru and serve under your rules or nothing=

    Why not? The governor’s been trying to do it since he was sworn in.

  10. - Lucky Pierre - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 9:57 am:

    Flannery wanted to ask a few basic questions all politicians should answer. How would you balance the Illinois budget? How high does the income tax need to be? What other taxes need to be raised? What cuts do you propose?How can we grow Illinois economy? What reforms are needed?

    Love to actually read the speech, I am sure these questions were not answered.

  11. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 9:58 am:

    To the Post,

    Yes, Mr. Kennedy, this is the ball game, and it ain’t pretty, especially if the Press feels they aren’t getting answers… they… want.

    Sorry, thems the breaks.

    Mr. Flannery, I do like you, you are probably one of the better in-tuned political reporters when you choose to engage… aggressively.

    One million people, out of 13 million in this state are measurably hurt by Governor Rauner’s decisions. I’ll leave that there.

    Kennedy is also learning you gear up and then roll out. There’s no gearing up, and it was Amateur Hour, not just because of the Kennedy response to Flannery’s tactics, it has a great deal to do with preparing unevenly. Sure, Kennedy is speaking, but what is said almost required follow-ups. Who doesn’t think Kennedy would be questioned? Chris Kennedy? Yikes.

    By not having a Staff or Crew to properly orchestrate and coordinate a “soft rollout”, you can be ambushed like this. It’s not surprising, what is surprising is the blaming of Flannery instead of capitalizing on the media’s want of him, Kennedy.


    I’m not counting on the press right now going after Rauner, as he’s not up for election. That’s all good, I get it. What’s puzzling is the lack of follow ups, even with Madigan when the Speaker goes into the “Extreme” bit.

    For Kennedy’s own sake, here’s some advice…

    Gear up, prepare, orchestrate, and execute.

    If you aren’t willing to do that, but willing to tantalize as you are… expect more of the same, even from Flannery.


  12. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 10:03 am:

    Maybe Flannery can be as aggressive next time he questions the Governor.

  13. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 10:11 am:

    47th, don’t be a victim.

  14. - Formerly Known as Frenchie M - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 10:15 am:

    The issue here isn’t necessarily that Flannery asked Kennedy the questions — and was persistent. That’s fine — and it’s to be expected.

    What’s at issue for me is that no one — Flannery, especially — pursues Rauner like this. The press — and, yeah, Flannery — gives Rauner a pass. Let’s see this kind of dogged persistence with Rauner.

    Let’s see Flannery demand — loudly, persistently — Rauner’s specific numbers for the Turnaround Agenda.

    Let’s see Flannery demand Rauner talk about the “dozens” of companies that are lined up and waiting to move into Illinois once the TA is codified into law.

    Let’s see Flannery *doggedly* pursue Rauner and him to clarify Rauner’s stance on whether he supports — and will continue to support — Trump as the republican nominee for president of the United States.

    Let’s see Flannery get in Rauner’s face and ask tough but honest questions about Rauner’s decimation of social services and higher education over the past 18 months — and what, specifically, Rauner plans to do now that many agencies are going out of business and (some? many?) universities are on the brink of losing accreditation.

    What, the only thing protecting Rauner from this kind of rough-and-tumble elevator journalism is burly security? That’s the excuse?

  15. - Streator Curmudgeon - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 10:16 am:

    “Eww. These…reporter types are such ruffians! Don’t they realize I’m a Kennedy? I might, just might, favor the little people by running for office, as long as nobody dares ask me any questions. Why, the audacity!”

  16. - Formerly Known as Frenchie M - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 10:17 am:

    BTW — I post this as someone who genuinely wants to know the answers to these questions.

    I ain’t a victim — I’m curious. And concerned.

  17. - Linus - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 10:19 am:

    I’m no Mike Flannery fan, and I do believe he (and others) should be questioning Rauner more aggressively.

    However, it’s ridiculous for Kennedy not to have anticipated this kind of typical media scrum. It’s equally ridiculous for him to consider running for office if he can’t take this kind of heat, as unpleasant as it might seem.

  18. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 10:21 am:

    It matters not if a “Kennedy” acted this way yesterday or a “Johnson”, “Jones”, or “Smith” acted this way.

    Don’t get all caught up with “Kennedy”, the name is the distraction.

    Ask, “If anyone acted that way, how would I feel about that person running for Governor?”…


    That’s what’s a play here. And “Chris K” failed handling “the moment”.

  19. - Tom C. - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 10:27 am:

    I recognized a few faces of the people around Kennedy who seemed to be staffing him…they were statehouse lobbyist types — and good ones. Guys I would hire if I wanted to pass a bill. But I would suggest if he’s serious about a run for governor, he should hire an experienced press hand or two.

    And I would recommend that it be a media advisor with the guts to tell him: “yes, these reporters are a real pain in the rear. But if you want to run, you’re gonna have to be willing to feed the media beast — with a smile on your face. If you’re not, don’t bother paying me and don’t bother running.”

  20. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 10:28 am:

    Lol Rich. Flannery embarrassed himself in that video. Maybe he should put his energy to use chasing a story that actually matters. That’s all I’m saying.

    I’m rooting for Durbin to run for Governor anyway, so I’m not sure I can be a victim of an attack on Kennedy, but whatever.

  21. - IRLJ - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 10:28 am:

    Kennedy made lemons from lemonade by being unprepared for the scrum.
    Sure, the talking heads and their heavy equipment have earned public enmity, but their omnipresence is a fact of political life. Smart politicians use the Flannerys to their advantage.
    Saying ‘I don’t have to address you’ is whining.
    Very disappointing.

  22. - Former State Employee - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 10:29 am:

    I hope Dick Durbin runs, but I kind of had some hope that Chris Kennedy might be a potential candidate, but this isn’t a good sign is it. Way too early in the process to fritz out about something this minor.

  23. - A guy - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 10:34 am:

    This made me think of John Kennedy Jr. after being recently married, coming out of his apartment house to meet the press, answer some questions, and then politely, but firmly lay down some ground rules about not being overly aggressive with his new wife. He created an understanding after giving them what they came for.

    He got it. Chris just doesn’t and won’t. He’s a terrific guy who isn’t prepared or suited for this. His reactions were pretty amazing…not in a good way.

  24. - Lucky Pierre - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 10:49 am:

    Flannery should chase a story that actually matters?

    Like asking a prospective democratic candidate for Governor how he would fix Illinois problems?

  25. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 10:50 am:

    Durbin won’t run - all downside when viewed from the golden perch he now sits. Too much hard work He believes in helping the party, but only when it is in tandem with his own wants

  26. - Curious - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 10:53 am:

    It’s awesome that the link posted goes to the ILGOP YouTube page. The fact that they’re shopping this around to reporters shows Rauner has moved past 2016 (his line about giving MJM more power by electing any Dems this cycle gives him cover when they can only pick 1-2 seats in either chamber). Rauner is focused on one thing now: 2018.

  27. - Soccermom - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 10:56 am:

    I don’t think 47th is being a victim. I thought Flannery was being a bit overly aggressive, but Kennedy should know the drill by now. All he had to say was, “I am laser-focused on making sure Hillary Clinton is our next president. The most important question right now is: How are we going to keep Donald Trump out of the White House?

    That said, I do think the Illinois press corps could do a better job of pressing Rauner. But it’s hard to do that with a candidate who has the discipline to say nothing and keep walking.

  28. - A guy - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 11:08 am:

    Flannery acted like he normally acts. So did Lynn Sweet.

  29. - Six Degrees of Separation - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 11:40 am:

    Sometimes when you say “Look! A chipmunk!”, the chipmunk is startled and runs away.

  30. - Keyser Soze - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 11:40 am:

    Not ready for prime time.

  31. - A guy - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 11:59 am:

    ===I don’t think 47th is being a victim.===

    The fake blood and ipod sound effects didn’t give it away? /s lol

  32. - Return to sender - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 1:31 pm:

    I’m surprised no one has mentioned that the videos clearly show Mike Thomson leading Chris Kennedy into the elevator.
    Thomson was the Speaker’s floor leader and managed his political program. He likely wouldn’t be working with Chris without the Speaker’s ok.

    Keeping a bunch of state reps on “the program” is a lot different than running a gubernatorial campaign. You don’t have to worry about reporters ambushing your candidates.

  33. - Rahm's Middle Finger - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 1:33 pm:

    Let’s just keep in mind that the guy was pushed into the back of an elevator and the alarm was going off because so many reporters and cameramen were crammed in there.

    Could he have handled it better? Yes. But give him credit for getting back in touch with reporters the same day.

    From what i heard from electeds there, the speech itself was the best one given.

  34. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 1:36 pm:

    ===He likely wouldn’t be working with Chris without the Speaker’s ok. ===


    Thomson has vacationed with Chris Kennedy for quite a while. They’re friends. If Madigan said “No” that would be the difference. Madigan isn’t gonna say “No” to almost anyone right now, except maybe PQ.

  35. - Union Leader - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 9:34 pm:

    Hound Chris Kennedy about plans to run for Governor, but let Governor Rauner get away with his BS TurnAround agenda and never ask the tough questions or follow-ups. Yep the media really knows how to do their job.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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