* I heard loud laughter in the chamber…
“This isn’t about pointing fingers or assigning blame,” the governor said to some laughter from Democrats during his address in the Illinois House chambers. “We are where we are. It’s not about the past; it’s about how we move forward together.”
Nevertheless, there were some partisan games ahead of the address. Just before the speech, House Republicans urged Madigan to remove four signs that were taped onto podiums on the Democratic side. They read “Rauner budget = fake news” and “Rauner budget = alternative facts.”
“I think they’re within their rights to decide whether they want to put a sign up or anything else,” he said.
The signs were a bit much.
Also, I was astonished at the amount of derisive laughter during the address. He is the governor, after all.
Rauner also renewed his call for legislator term limits. He said term limits “get job creators excited. Passing term limits is one of the most important things we can do to send a positive recruiting message to job creators.” Democrats laughed openly at the statement.
Rauner urged the laughing Democrats to ask “job creators” about the topic and insisted they do support it.
Recalling the length of the stalemate, rife with accusations on both sides, Rauner said: “This isn’t about pointing fingers or assigning blame. ” That prompted a round of laughter from Democrats in the chamber.
* The line right after that also got some laughter…
It’s not going to help us move forward if right after this speech, Democrats run to the media claiming we’ve never proposed a plan to balance the budget.
* But at least they were laughing with him and not at him when his teleprompter broke…
Rauner was talking about the income tax increase contained in the Senate’s “grand bargain” when he suddenly stopped.
“I just lost my word there,” Rauner said, as the device blinked out.
Rauner asked for a paper copy of the speech, but that didn’t prove satisfactory.
“I don’t have my reading glasses for this,” Rauner said. “I’m a little old for this type.”
While waiting for the machine to be reset to the proper part of the speech, Rauner said, “Does anybody have a good story?”
Rauner’s chief political nemesis, Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan, who was standing behind the governor as is custom at the Capitol for such speeches, then offered some words that prompted Rauner to laugh.
“Speaker said, ‘It’s the Russians,’” Rauner told the assembled lawmakers and guests, prompting laughter and applause. It’s a reference to the national political scene and questions about Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and influence with President Donald Trump’s administration.