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Pritzker apology presser roundup

Tuesday, Feb 6, 2018

* Video of today’s JB Pritzker press conference is here. As I told subscribers this morning, this particular response is a big problem for Pritzker…



Uncertainty is a support killer.

Pritzker did say, however, that Blagojevich never asked him to fund a not-for-profit group on Blagojevich’s behalf. Creating that group to pay himself a big salary was one of Rod’s weirder pipe dreams. So, at least that revelation isn’t coming down the pike (as long as he’s telling the truth, of course).

Pritzker also called on the Tribune and the feds to release all recordings related to him right away.

* Sun-Times

With Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White at his side, Democratic governor candidate J.B. Pritzker apologized Tuesday for portions of a newly revealed wiretapped conversation with former Gov. Rod Blagojevich in which he pitched White as the “least offensive” choice to fill then President-elect Barack Obama’s Senate seat.

“I regret some of the things I didn’t say and some of the things that I did,” Pritzker said of the Nov. 14, 2008, phone conversation with Blagojevich in which he described then-Illinois Senate President Emil Jones as too “crass” for the job and joked along with the governor when Blagojevich suggested appointing Obama’s controversial pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, to fill the vacancy. […]

Pritzker didn’t specifically say which parts of the call he regretted but admitted he was “not my best self” on the call and that he should have “pushed back” against some of Blagojevich’s comments. […]

“I know where his heart is,” said White, who described Pritzker as a friend of nearly four decades.

* Pritzker said he thinks now as he did back then that White “would have made a great United State’s Senator.” Pritzker was indeed heard saying on the FBI tape that White was “totally… Senate material.”

But Pritzker also said this to RRB about elevating White

…And it opens up the secretary of state spot, which is the key spot that controls jobs, etc.

Two years earlier, of course, the US Attorney’s office had announced it was taking over a state investigation into “very serious allegations of endemic hiring fraud” by Gov. Blagojevich’s administration.

* Press release…

Ald. Roderick T. Sawyer (6) issued the following statement on Tuesday in response to reports of new recordings of gubernatorial candidate JB Pritzker discussing the U.S. Senate seat left vacant by Barack Obama after his election to the presidency with former Gov. Rod Blagojevich:

“I was disheartened to hear JB Pritzker’s deeply problematic comments. JB is relying heavily on the support of the Black community and elected leaders like myself to carry him to victory in March. It is my hope that he will act to demonstrate, both through words and action, that he does not simply view African Americans as one-dimensional ‘things’ to be manipulated for political expedience. JB–and all white political leaders–must stop looking for ‘safe’ or ‘palatable’ Black figureheads–as he apparently sought to characterize Jesse White to be.

“I continue to believe JB is the best positioned to beat Bruce Rauner in November, and I will maintain my support for his candidacy. But I will also look for clear assurances that his thoughts around matters of race and equity have evolved substantially since those calls were recorded in 2008. And I will continue to speak out and demand dignity and justice in the treatment of our community by all political leaders–Democrat or Republican.”

* More…



Jones is a Chris Kennedy supporter and there was significant push-back against his possible appointment to Obama’s Senate seat, not just from Pritzker. However, this is the definition of “crass”

lacking sensitivity, refinement, or intelligence.

Sen. Jones may be lacking in some “refinement,” particularly to a billionaire, but the man is smart as heck.

* Biss campaign…

Today, at a press conference in Springfield, Daniel Biss and Litesa Wallace delivered the following remarks in response to the Chicago Tribune’s story revealing inappropriate conversations between J.B. Pritzker and former Governor Rod Blagojevich.

“Last night we heard more from the FBI tapes of conversations between JB Pritzker and former Governor Rod Blagojevich,” said Daniel Biss. “This latest conversation represents all that is wrong with our politics: powerful white men, totally unaware of their privilege, horsetrading people of color to gain more power. The conversation, including phrases like “least offensive” or “a little more crass”, personally I found it disgusting.

“It is past time that we lift the veil on the ugly imbalance of power between the wealthy and well-connected, and the people who have for too long been taken advantage of by our broken system. We need to address these systemic inequalities in our politics and in the services we provide as a state. We have inequities in education, in employment and in the criminal justice system. Inequities born out of a system that is rigged to benefit a few at the expense of all the rest of us, and these tapes are another example of it.

“We see this in boardrooms and backroom deals all the time. Where wealthy white men with power that pit black and brown people against each other, using people as pawns in a game for profit or political gain. What we’ve seen in the past is a broken political system, and in order to have a future that is just and fair, we need transformational change. We need a politics built on co-governing that views all people as equals. And we have to acknowledge our privilege and build a government that reflects the people it represents.”

“As a woman of color, a Black woman in particular, a mother and a lawmaker,” said Litesa Wallace. “When I heard the sentiments expressed on those FBI tapes it revealed to me that we’re still not seen as complex, educated, talented human beings. We were simply seen as objects; our racial background are simply used as something that can be a checked off a long list of the least dynamic characteristics for political candidates.

“My role as a legislator and in this campaign is more than just being a face. I’ve been an advocate; I will continue to be an advocate; and I will do what I believe is right. I will continue to work hard on behalf of middle-class and working families like mine. And I am reminded after hearing those tapes as to why Daniel. The first reason why I endorsed him initially is that he is the most qualified person to enter the race. The second reason was because he actually believes in the kind of politics he just described. A type of politics that no longer depends on those backroom deals, one that actually depends upon co-governing, creating a shared democracy amongst others. And making sure that the voices of those that are intentionally silenced are actually amplified. So, I’m here proudly as his running mate and I’m also here to say that it’s time out, and time up, for the type of pandering that we’ve seen in terms of identity politics in the State of Illinois and across our nation.”

* Related…

* Gay rights group backs Pritzker: Giving Pritzker the nod this time is the political action committee of Equality Illinois, the state’s largest and most prominent LGBTQ rights group. “There are few leaders in our state who have served as courageously and consistently for LGBTQ equality over recent decades as J.B. Pritzker,” said PAC Board Chairman John Litchfield in a statement.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

45 Comments
  1. - Todd Stroger For President - Tuesday, Feb 6, 18 @ 2:42 pm:

    Is it just me or Is the Biss press release way too wordy?


  2. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Feb 6, 18 @ 2:43 pm:

    –Pritzker also called on the Tribune and the feds to release all recordings related to him right away.–

    Why wouldn’t you include the Rauner campaign in this request? Make them deny that they have or have ever had any tapes, or a role in their release.

    He’s the guy you’re running against, remember?


  3. - Flapdoodle - Tuesday, Feb 6, 18 @ 2:47 pm:

    You’re absolutely correct, Rich — uncertainty is a support killer.

    At a time Illinois desperately needs trustworthy, competent executive leadership with a coherent plan to stop the bleeding, what are we being offered by either party? Certainly not what’s needed.


  4. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Feb 6, 18 @ 2:49 pm:

    ===Uncertainty is a support killer.===

    Fundamental.

    You MUST know your own Oppo. Brutal.

    This is awful too, it’s an easy “tip in”…

    ===Why wouldn’t you include the Rauner campaign in this request? Make them deny that they have or have ever had any tapes, or a role in their release.===

    They’re running ads off the leaks, call them on it, make them at least talk about if they have them or not.

    Not great work on this… and they still dunno if they are going to face more.


  5. - TaylorvilleTornado - Tuesday, Feb 6, 18 @ 2:49 pm:

    The Biss team’s releases always read like a college student’s screed.


  6. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Feb 6, 18 @ 2:50 pm:

    –Is it just me or Is the Biss press release way too wordy?–

    We’ll never know. Anyone who’s tried to read it passed out from boredom before finishing.

    See Gettsyburg Address. Do you really think you need more words for this?


  7. - West Wing - Tuesday, Feb 6, 18 @ 2:51 pm:

    So glad the elites of the Democratic Party front-loaded their endorsements of Pritzker before knowing all of this (sarcasm)


  8. - Amalia - Tuesday, Feb 6, 18 @ 2:54 pm:

    Biss is dull.


  9. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Feb 6, 18 @ 2:56 pm:

    ===“Last night we heard more from the FBI tapes of conversations between JB Pritzker and former Governor Rod Blagojevich,” said Daniel Biss. “This latest conversation represents all that is wrong with our politics: powerful white men, totally unaware of their privilege, horsetrading people of color to gain more power. The conversation, including phrases like “least offensive” or “a little more crass”, personally I found it disgusting.

    “As a woman of color, a Black woman in particular, a mother and a lawmaker,” said Litesa Wallace (running mate of Daniel Biss). “When I heard the sentiments expressed on those FBI tapes it revealed to me that we’re still not seen as complex, educated, talented human beings. We were simply seen as objects; our racial background are simply used as something that can be a checked off a long list of the least dynamic characteristics for political candidates. … “(I stand with Daniel Biss who will make) sure that the voices of those that are intentionally silenced are actually amplified. So, I’m here proudly as his running mate and I’m also here to say that it’s time out, and time up, for the type of pandering that we’ve seen in terms of identity politics in the State of Illinois and across our nation.”===

    That’s the statement.


  10. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Feb 6, 18 @ 3:03 pm:

    –Uncertainty is a support killer.–

    Unlike most, he doesn’t have to worry about the money drying up.

    Mr. Pritzker, I suggest you attack, with whatever you’ve got. Then get more, and attack some more.

    There is no good reason not to employ your biggest advantage, which is your money.


  11. - DuPage Saint - Tuesday, Feb 6, 18 @ 3:05 pm:

    There are about 300 million people in this country and we ended up with Clinton versus Trump. There are about 12 million people in this state and we end up with some strange people running for Governor. I am beginning to believe Darwin got it backwards these candidates show no sign of progress


  12. - Concerned Dem - Tuesday, Feb 6, 18 @ 3:05 pm:

    Team JB… Simple is always better…

    “I wanted to be involved to try to make a difference and I thought I could do that back then by working with Governor Blagojevich. I was wrong and have learned from that experience how not to conduct myself if I’m elected Governor.”


  13. - CatAttack - Tuesday, Feb 6, 18 @ 3:05 pm:

    Boy…Equality Illinois looks pretty ridiculous today.


  14. - TKMH - Tuesday, Feb 6, 18 @ 3:06 pm:

    ==Team JB… Simple is always better…==

    You’re telling me that “I haven’t been charged with anything” and “I wasn’t my best self” aren’t the most redeeming statements????


  15. - Mouthy - Tuesday, Feb 6, 18 @ 3:10 pm:

    I’ve said this before but Susana A. Mendoza should be, IMO, at the top of the ticket. Instead we have two rich guy running that relate to roughly 49 Illinoisans. Another Trump/Clinton match up by different names. Two lousy candidates. The only guess is if the worst pick will win this time or not…


  16. - Mouthy - Tuesday, Feb 6, 18 @ 3:11 pm:

    Sorry for double post.


  17. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Feb 6, 18 @ 3:12 pm:

    Bruce Rauner gave no quarter to Pat Quinn, even and especially during the Primary, because any attack Rauner faced, that Crew was continually on the offensive against a sitting failed governor…

    Where is that clean, :60 second back porch “blind trust, broken trust” ad?

    Where is it? Where? Why the wait? It’s hot now. You have the cash…

    Mind boggling.


  18. - whetstone - Tuesday, Feb 6, 18 @ 3:13 pm:

    ==There are about 12 million people in this state and we end up with some strange people running for Governor.==

    While not denying that generally, cynical discussions about race, clout, and retail politics among power players are not, I submit, rare among Chicago and Illinois politicians. A lot of that weirdness is inherent in the system.


  19. - Amalia - Tuesday, Feb 6, 18 @ 3:13 pm:

    anyone listening to Af Am Chicago radio stations to see how this is playing?


  20. - Henry Francis - Tuesday, Feb 6, 18 @ 3:15 pm:

    Jesse White: Thank you all for joining us today to show our support of JB. JB has always been a great supporter of our African American community, and will be Ann even better one as governor. To further demonstrate that he truly is one of us, I have just made him a member of the world famous Jesse Tumblers. Let’s bring out the trampoline. JB. how many are you jumping over, 12? 13? Can I get 13 volunteers?

    (That’ll change the conversation)


  21. - Dilemma - Tuesday, Feb 6, 18 @ 3:19 pm:

    Do republicans really want to be making a fuss about FBI tapes in light of what’s happening in DC?


  22. - Anon221 - Tuesday, Feb 6, 18 @ 3:22 pm:

    From Ald. Sawyer’s statement- “But I will also look for clear assurances that his thoughts around matters of race and equity have evolved substantially since those calls were recorded in 2008.”

    JB has apologized on the record. Not spun nor prevaricated. Rauner, on the other hand, enjoys a good lie now and then. And, as to Rauner’s “evolution”, he’s more into personal “creationism” (when 300% is never enough for example). Team Rauner is hiding behind someone’s coat tails on these tapes, while JB just laid down the gauntlet of sunshine.


  23. - A guy - Tuesday, Feb 6, 18 @ 3:23 pm:

    All that money. And you’re still not in charge of your own destiny because you don’t remember what you said to a narcissistic con man.
    Wow.


  24. - Pot calling kettle - Tuesday, Feb 6, 18 @ 3:25 pm:

    ==Mr. Pritzker, I suggest you attack, with whatever you’ve got. Then get more, and attack some more.==

    Base the attack on these ads and tapes. Flip the negative…

    From above: “I wanted to be involved to try to make a difference and I thought I could do that back then by working with Governor Blagojevich. I was wrong and have learned from that experience how not to conduct myself if I’m elected Governor.”

    From a previous thread: “I was trying to direct a very unstable governor to do the right thing and I had to speak in a manner that Rod would respond to even though it made me very uncomfortable to do so. Governor Rauner is a repeat of Rod…(etc).”

    Sheesh…


  25. - Biss - Tuesday, Feb 6, 18 @ 3:29 pm:

    Biss’ statement will be more impactful once its Appendix III, Annex A(2) is fully downloaded. You really need to read the whole thing for it to come together.


  26. - City Zen - Tuesday, Feb 6, 18 @ 3:31 pm:

    Ald Roderick: “I was disheartened to hear JB Pritzker’s deeply problematic comments…”

    Probably not disheartened enough to refund the $5,000 check JB cut him last week.


  27. - Birdseed - Tuesday, Feb 6, 18 @ 3:31 pm:

    Are these apology pressers going to be a weekly event now?


  28. - Bobio - Tuesday, Feb 6, 18 @ 3:32 pm:

    The obvious winner in all of this is the media because JB’s going to have to spend, spend, spend. Is the Trib playing him for this
    very reason?


  29. - jimk849 - Tuesday, Feb 6, 18 @ 3:37 pm:

    Pritzker suffers from “green privilege”


  30. - Bobio - Tuesday, Feb 6, 18 @ 3:41 pm:

    “anyone listening to Af Am Chicago radio stations to see how this is playing?”

    If Maze Jackson’s Facebook post is an indication, his posters are not buying what these guys are selling and there are about 400 comments.


  31. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Feb 6, 18 @ 3:46 pm:

    I’m an independent, but cut through all the clutter of ‘confidential’ (but not really) yakking between 2 people talking politics, and making racial commentary that would have been viewed as ‘progressive’ not all that long ago….in the end, would you want Rauner or Pritzger? Which one? I’d take the
    Prize winning pumpkin over the lying string bean any day of the week.


  32. - Swift - Tuesday, Feb 6, 18 @ 3:53 pm:

    Anything from Stratton yet? Nothing on her Twitter about JB today…

    Who’s going to be the first to ask JB if Stratton was the “least offensive” choice?


  33. - Arsenal - Tuesday, Feb 6, 18 @ 3:58 pm:

    It was an acceptable apology and press conference. Nothing’s changed my vote yet, but I’m not making any predictions.


  34. - Olivia Pope - Tuesday, Feb 6, 18 @ 4:00 pm:

    Some one should be calling on the Feds to investigate the chain of command of the tapes and who had access to the original copies during the trial. As the US prosecutor just sets around on this one, I’m losing more faith in the criminal justice system. Every media outlet should be seeking comment from the Federal Prosecutor and from the FBI.


  35. - Responsa - Tuesday, Feb 6, 18 @ 4:02 pm:

    Practitioners of situational ethics make it hard on everybody. It’s a tough needle for campaigns and voters (such as is being faced in the 2018 IL gubernatorial election) to thread.


  36. - Iggy - Tuesday, Feb 6, 18 @ 4:05 pm:

    Oh all is forgiven JB, we know you didn’t mean it. You are still the chosen one :)

    Maybe you should rack your brain a little more and remember what exactly you and Blago talked about. I’m sure your organizers would like to stay out in front of the next leak.

    Has Juliana said anything yet?


  37. - Bobio - Tuesday, Feb 6, 18 @ 4:10 pm:

    I wonder if JB is on a plane to Colorado right now to see if Blago remembers what they talked about.


  38. - allknowingmasterofracoondom - Tuesday, Feb 6, 18 @ 4:17 pm:

    Equality Illinois endorsed JB? Isn’t that the group Gov and Diana Rauner were just gushing about at an event?


  39. - Ahoy! - Tuesday, Feb 6, 18 @ 4:26 pm:

    He doesn’t need to apologize, he just needs to keep writing the checks, that’s why he’s around.


  40. - JS Mill - Tuesday, Feb 6, 18 @ 4:34 pm:

    Emil Jones displays why there was pushback on his elevation to the Senate. He believes Pritzker owes an entire community an apology because he called him crass? Sorry, it may have been the wrong thing to say but the hyperbole by Jones is too much. I always found him arrogant and self serving when I interacted with him.


  41. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Feb 6, 18 @ 4:41 pm:

    ==Mr. Pritzker, I suggest you attack, with whatever you’ve got. Then get more, and attack some more.==

    Base the attack on these ads and tapes. Flip the negative…–

    For crying out loud, change the subject at least. With all that money, why stand around and be a punching bag? Flood the airwaves.

    If you don’t have plenty of stuff ready to go, that’s a problem of organization.

    And maybe have some of your union friends start sniffing around about organizing at The Trib. The LA Times unionized, and now Ferro is selling.

    Take the fight to them.


  42. - Kj - Tuesday, Feb 6, 18 @ 4:48 pm:

    “Pritzker apology presser” You can be leading in the polls and not be winning. JB may be ahead, but he ain’t winning right now.


  43. - NorthsideNoMore - Tuesday, Feb 6, 18 @ 7:59 pm:

    Give Team Rauner a few days they will have a field day with this. Its the 8th round of 15 and JB is in trouble. If Biss had the bucks he could pound him through the ropes.


  44. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Feb 6, 18 @ 9:20 pm:

    –Give Team Rauner a few days they will have a field day with this.–

    Absolutely, Rauner is now a lock to get the majority of the black vote in the GOP primary.


  45. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Feb 6, 18 @ 9:27 pm:

    I’ll vote for the rich guy that talked politics with the sitting governor over the weasel that tried to screw retirees. Yes, they were state retirees, but he indicated in the debate that he (Biss) was open to taxing ALL retirement income.
    I’ll actually vote for RAUNER that I despise if Biss is the candidate. No third party like I did for Clinton v Trump. Biss is a total snake. You can see it when he sulked in the debate. he even sulks in his own ads! I’d vote for that crazy guy that wants to split Illinois into three states and legalize and tax cocaine over Rauner, but he’s just a nut. I’ll vote for Kennedy if he wins, but never Biss the granny robber.


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