* 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.
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.”
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.”
* 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.