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Raoul lets his temper show during WVON interview

Tuesday, Sep 19, 2017 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Sen. Kwame Raoul is pretty well known in Springfield for occasionally getting tough on committee hearing witnesses and that trait was on display this morning during an interview on WVON radio with Maze Jackson and Charles Thomas. Click here to watch the video, starting at the 2:49:00 mark, when the interviewers ask Raoul about what he would do as attorney general regarding sanctuary for illegal immigrants

Raoul: It depends on the circumstances.

Maze: Yes, or no?

Raoul: I’m gonna answer the question the way I want to answer the question.

Maze: OK, well, answer. We’re waiting on an answer.

Raoul: If you don’t interrupt me, I’ll answer the question.

Maze: Go ahead, brother. Answer your question.

Raoul: I’m gonna answer the question.

Maze: OK, answer the question, just go ahead.

Raoul: You’re not gonna tell me. Alright. If you interrupt me, I’m gonna check you on it.

Maze: You’ll never check me, brother.

Raoul: I just did.

Maze: You’ve never checked me.

Raoul: I just did.

Maze: Go ahead. [Cross talk]

Raoul: If you want to have that type of conversation, Maze, there’s another place where we can have that type of conversation.

Maze: Are you committing assault as the attorney general? That’s not a good idea.

Charles Thomas: Wait a minute, guys! Hold it! hold it! Respect! Please, please, this is not what we should be about.

And then he eventually answered the question and the interview was wrapped up.

My transcript doesn’t do the exchange justice, so click here.


  1. - John Rawlssss - Tuesday, Sep 19, 17 @ 11:08 am:

    Kwame is spiraling. First sexist comments against Erika Harold, now this.

    Not fit for AG

  2. - phocion - Tuesday, Sep 19, 17 @ 11:10 am:

    Not impressed.

  3. - Hit Em With The Hein - Tuesday, Sep 19, 17 @ 11:11 am:

    Rich, you will probably got Maze more views on his youtube channel today than ever before. I think Kwame will be a great AG and now he has just solidified my vote! Don’t want anyone thinking that our attorney general won’t be afraid to step up! He didn’t threaten assault he said they could talk off the air as it should be. Is it too late for a Mendoza/Kwame governor ticket?!

  4. - checked - Tuesday, Sep 19, 17 @ 11:12 am:

    As much as I dislike Maze, Kwame blew it here. This is really bad and shows he is not ready for prime time.

  5. - Chicago Cynic - Tuesday, Sep 19, 17 @ 11:13 am:

    Not quite as bad as fleeing into an elevator to avoid an obvious question and then bellowing “what have you become”…but really close.

  6. - Grand Avenue - Tuesday, Sep 19, 17 @ 11:15 am:

    How did Maze’s Cookout go over the weekend?

  7. - Macbeth - Tuesday, Sep 19, 17 @ 11:17 am:

    Disappointed in KR.

    This is not how it’s done. If you can’t deal with the heat when it’s given, you’re not ready for prime time.

  8. - Deft Wing - Tuesday, Sep 19, 17 @ 11:17 am:

    A couple of things. Rauol is NOT all that articulate and good off the cuff … he just again demonstrated that. Second, Rauol has a bit of a temper, no biggie really, but that was way unhinged & goofy given it was on live radio. Last, Rauol’s shaky AG rollout shows why he’s where he is: He ain’t ready for prime time.

  9. - Downstate43 - Tuesday, Sep 19, 17 @ 11:21 am:

    This demonstrates a glaring weak spot for someone seeking statewide office - plus, the completely unforced error with the misogynistic comment directed at Ms. Harold. Not hard to figure out how to run against this guy in a primary or a general.

  10. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Sep 19, 17 @ 11:21 am:

    I’m not current with the lingo. What does it mean to “check” someone in this context?

    Like hockey?

  11. - Mazzonne - Tuesday, Sep 19, 17 @ 11:22 am:

    Good for Sen. Raoul. Maze loves to talk smack about pols he disagrees with and Raoul just showed he wasn’t afraid to a) come on his show, and b) push back when he’s being disrespected.

  12. - Thomas Paine - Tuesday, Sep 19, 17 @ 11:24 am:

    Meh. Seemed like a pretty jovial exchange that didn’t end with any hard feelings.

    If that is an example of Kwame’s supposed “temper”, I would say he is a pretty even keel guy.

    I see people get more worked up about Starbucks’ customer service every day.

    He needs a little professional media polish for sure, but I don’t think Maze Jackson honestly thought he was being threatened. I heard Kwame inviting Maze to meet him at a local tavern if he wanted to have a knock-down-drag-out political shouting match. WVON ought to offer a higher level of discourse — Raoul is correct on that point.

  13. - A guy - Tuesday, Sep 19, 17 @ 11:25 am:

    Mazz, you might need to listen to the link and re-evaluate your grade of Kwame on this.

  14. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Sep 19, 17 @ 11:25 am:

    === Seemed like a pretty jovial exchange===

    Don’t be daft.

  15. - Texas Red - Tuesday, Sep 19, 17 @ 11:25 am:

    Raul needlessly escalated a simple radio station interview into a personal confrontation. I doubt that is the type of leadership most folks would want in AG. I think most voters wont be Checking the Raul box.

  16. - PJ - Tuesday, Sep 19, 17 @ 11:28 am:

    Why on earth did he think going on Maze was a good idea in the first place? A lot of legislators straight up refuse to do his show

  17. - Centennial - Tuesday, Sep 19, 17 @ 11:33 am:

    PJ +1

    If you know you have a temper. If you know that the host gets under your skin. Maybe pass on the show?

  18. - BigLou - Tuesday, Sep 19, 17 @ 11:34 am:

    Thomas Paine- Look at the video. Charles Thomas’ body language during the exchange says it all. There was no joviality in that room.

  19. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Sep 19, 17 @ 11:36 am:

    Checked and wrecked

  20. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Sep 19, 17 @ 11:37 am:

    Maze thinks it’s his job to poke the bear - by tone and inflection, to which Raul immediately reacted as he would on the street. It wasn’t the street, it was a radio show that presumably he intended to generate support for his candidacy.
    May have slipped up there.

  21. - Reality Check - Tuesday, Sep 19, 17 @ 11:41 am:

    How far and fast Charles Thomas has fallen, from puffing cigars with Bruce Rauner at the mansion to toadying for Maze Jackson on Facebook in just a few short months.

    Side note, really dumb play by Kwame.

  22. - wndycty - Tuesday, Sep 19, 17 @ 11:47 am:

    Maze was definitely trying to antagonize Kwame. Also, I believe Charles Thomas was getting frustrated with Maze. If Maze doesn’t interrupt Kwame this interview goes off without a hitch. This type of exchange with Maze is not necessarily too out of line on Kwame’s part, especially with the WVON listenership, however the problem is it will go viral and be consumed by audiences who might be bothered by it.

    I thought it was fine but I realize most won’t see it that way.

  23. - Regular democrat - Tuesday, Sep 19, 17 @ 11:50 am:

    First i have not heard the word daft since my grandmother used it many years ago. Second i dont think Raoul is ready for primetime. My original thought was dem party would attempt to clear field as much as possible for him but i have changed my mind. I thought he was more polished

  24. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Sep 19, 17 @ 11:50 am:

    ===Maze was definitely trying to antagonize Kwame===


    That’s what Maze does. Candidates who can’t deal with that should not go on his show.

  25. - Franklin Delano Bluth - Tuesday, Sep 19, 17 @ 11:50 am:

    Why would any politician give Maze the time of day? His only job is to provoke his guests. He does it all of the time. It’s like an obsession of his.

    I respect Raoul for not taking softball interviews only but surely there’s a happy medium that doesn’t involve speaking with the human embodiment of an internet troll.

  26. - orzo - Tuesday, Sep 19, 17 @ 11:58 am:

    Kwame is smart and would probably be an excellent candidate and AG. That said, he is just now introducing himself to a lot of the voters, and this kind of appearance could hurt him, particularly early when images are being formed in voters’ minds. He seems petty and belligerent here.

  27. - Kyle Hillman - Tuesday, Sep 19, 17 @ 12:00 pm:

    I watched the whole thing today, it was clear Maze is holding a grudge and he was intent on maximizing his opportunity. (He referenced a DNAINFO article during the show break as to why… I can’t find it.)

    A show that was billed as an opportunity to hear from a potential AG candidate, quickly changed to - I was wronged, you are here, so let me start something. I mean at one point Maze played an audio clip of a speech Kwame made somewhere about how Maze was taking money from Republican sources. Thomas tried his best, but in the end this wasn’t going to end well.

    I watched and I wasn’t sure if Kwame was threatening or just saying this wasn’t the right venue for personal attacks, either way I don’t think it is a bad thing for an AG to have a backbone, but he needs to handle on air conversations better as he moves forward.

    Not everyone in the media world is going to be professional.

  28. - Responsa - Tuesday, Sep 19, 17 @ 12:23 pm:

    Roll with the punches, Kwame. If you don’t like a question either laugh or make the answer so boring that no one will pay attention. Losing your temper made you a star/victim in a drama almost no one would have heard about otherwise. That was a shockingly bad performance by you.

  29. - TopHatMonocle - Tuesday, Sep 19, 17 @ 12:53 pm:

    It’s easy to blame this on Maze, and that was my first reaction. Then I started the video a minute before the confrontation and re-watched it. Kwame got a pretty softball question, where would you be on DACA as AG. He tried to have it both ways, which is already starting out badly. Before Maze jumped in, Charles Thomas was trying to get a firmer answer and you could already see him getting a bit flustered. It’s on him.

    He needs to sharpen up quickly as this will be a highly competitive race. He’s not an incumbent running unopposed anymore. These little mistakes early might not be a death blow, but he’s not going to scare away potential candidates with showings like this.

  30. - CLJ - Tuesday, Sep 19, 17 @ 12:55 pm:

    Kwame has a bit of stutter when speaking. Some people will take advantage of that to make it appear he is trying to avoid or delay answering a question. Maze did exactly that. Otherwise, I think he handled it quite well. He’ll get better at handling people trying to take advantage of it.

  31. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Sep 19, 17 @ 12:56 pm:

    ===Otherwise, I think he handled it quite well===

    You need to get out of this business. Seriously.

  32. - Thomas Paine - Tuesday, Sep 19, 17 @ 1:00 pm:

    Donald Trump
    Mike Bost
    Ron Sandack
    Bill Black

    Kwame’s interview was not only not in the same ball park as these guys, it wasn’t even the same sport.

    Should a hopeful for statewide office be talking smack with radio hosts? No.

    Does Raoul need to work on his interview skills?


    Did he demonstrate a temperament that makes him unfit for office? Absolutely not.

    The right question, as others point out, is why the heck are you doing on Maze Jackson’s show, Kwame? That is not the first big interview you chose if you are a Democratic candidate trying to introduce yourself to a statewide audience. Maze is in the tank.

  33. - Iggy - Tuesday, Sep 19, 17 @ 1:08 pm:

    Kwame wants this more than anyone and hes just not gonna get it. Looks like its back to banging the gavel in committee

  34. - Anon4 - Tuesday, Sep 19, 17 @ 1:19 pm:

    I’m a big Kwame fan and I’m almost certain I’ll vote for him for AG. But this is a bit of a concern. As Rich alluded to, this is not unfamiliar to anyone who has watch Kwame in committee over the years. Kwame can be argumentative and temperamental, but he’s also quick to burry the hatchet. It’s not uncommon for him to engage in verbal combat with someone in the afternoon and then have a drink and share a laugh with the same person that evening.

    He will have to get this under control on the campaign trail. An exchange like that with a rival, especially a female, could cause a real problem for him.

  35. - Arthur Andersen - Tuesday, Sep 19, 17 @ 1:22 pm:

    Sen. Raoul has a bit more ego and a bit more volatility than I’m comfortable with in a candidate for higher office. Just refer to him as the senator that took Obama’s seat and he goes off.

  36. - Curl of the Burl - Tuesday, Sep 19, 17 @ 1:37 pm:

    I have long thought he has one of the worst tempers I have ever seen in the political business. This just reinforces it.

  37. - Jake From Elwood - Tuesday, Sep 19, 17 @ 1:39 pm:

    Kwame is a prideful man. His pride was wounded and he talked tough. We shall see if this is a one off, or if he continues in this vein before we judge further. Don’t take the bait and get lost in the Maze.

  38. - Dose of Reality - Tuesday, Sep 19, 17 @ 2:17 pm:

    The more troubling thing here that folks might be missing - Kwame didn’t have a clear, solid answer ready for a daily newsbeat issue like immigration enforcement. I actually think his combative approach has served him well at times as a legislator, but he needs to get up to speed on his policy positions ASAP, or things are going to get really difficult when he’s live before a real interviewer.

  39. - HoTep Hank from Downstate - Tuesday, Sep 19, 17 @ 4:21 pm:

    Kwame showed his true color and it is obvious he has a better interest than the interest of the Black People of Illinois. Stick to your day job Kwam and leave the AG post alone.

  40. - CLJ - Tuesday, Sep 19, 17 @ 4:36 pm:

    Sorry Rich I think I’ll stay in the business.

  41. - Colin O'Scopey - Tuesday, Sep 19, 17 @ 5:10 pm:

    Maze’s show is one hot mess. Isn’t he the same Maze who accepted money from Munger’s campaign? Now he’s all about confronting a Democrat on his show?

    Don’t quite the day job, Maze. Wait. What? This is your day job?

  42. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Sep 19, 17 @ 8:13 pm:

    If you let a hustler like Maze get under your skin it might be time to give up on higher office.

  43. - Maze Jackson - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 3:39 am:

    Hey Grand Avenue….pretty well thanks for asking.

  44. - IT guy - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 4:36 pm:

    Kwame should’ve known better than to lower his profile on that garbage show. Who is this radio guy other than a failed public servant and con artist of a consultant? There is a paper trail that backs this up. This also sounds like an assault on Kwame’s character. I got your back Senator. Stay Classy.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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