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Rauner expresses support for Erika Harold, but dodges most questions

Monday, Mar 12, 2018

…Adding… If you couldn’t access the video link because you don’t subscriber to (you really should subscribe), then click here for raw audio.

* Gov. Rauner was asked today about the Erika Harold controversy. You’ll recall that three sources told Mary Ann Ahern that Harold said this during a Miss Illinois pageant interview

One of the questions to Harold that year was: If she, like her mother, was responsible to place a child in foster care and had to choose between a.) A loving gay couple or b.) A heterosexual couple who were known child abusers, which would she chose?

All three sources told NBC 5 she chose the child abusers.

* Rauner today

I’ve known Erika Harold for about five years. I’ve found her to be a person of great talent and integrity and good will. And I can’t comment beyond that.

* The governor, who made it clear that he fully supports gay adoption, was then asked if Harold should drop out of the attorney general’s race

I’ve told you about my view of Erika Harold. I think she’s an outstanding person of great talent and integrity and good will.

* He was also asked if this NBC 5 report disqualifies her..

I think rumor, or political hit jobs or whatever. I don’t know the background of that circumstance. I can’t really comment.

* Meanwhile, from Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago)

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - The Republican from election past - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 10:47 am:

    Well for Harold it’s live by the sword die by the sword - racism is a terrible thing

  2. - pawn - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 10:51 am:

    I agree with Cassidy: tell us how you think about this issue today. It is an important and relevant one.

  3. - wordslinger - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 10:57 am:

    ==I’ve know Erika Harold for about five years. I’ve found her to be a person of great talent and integrity and good will. –

    –I’ve told you about my view of Erika Harold. I think she’s an outstanding person of great talent and integrity and good will.==

    –Raymond Shaw is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I’ve ever known in my life.–

    Just oozes sincerity when you come off like you’re brainwashed with the talking points.

  4. - Oh, please! - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 10:59 am:

    Erika Harold is part of the conservative coalition that believes LGBT people should be second class citizens. In adoption, marriage, etc. She can backpedal now but the record is pretty clear.

    Remember when Rauner said gay marriage was “weird” to tea partiers downstate? Maybe Erika’s views help her in the R primary.

    Part of a throwback worldview many Republicans still embrace.

  5. - Retired Educator - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 11:03 am:

    This could be a hit that really hurts her. Her opponent has got to be giddy right now. He must think it is his birthday, and someone gave him a gift.

  6. - Gooner - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 11:05 am:

    Initially, the view of Harold isn’t necessarily outside of the GOP’s base. However, the GOP base has long had a tough time winning in Illinois.

    This will bite Rauner in November, especially against J.B. Rather than people tossing up their hands and saying “Two rich guys. Who cares?” you have another issue to really get people on the left motivated to show up.

  7. - Real - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 11:09 am:

    Rauner always calls something a political hit piece when it is targeting someone he supports… Yet he supported political hit pieces against Jb by millions of his own money. This is karma for you Rauner and it will hopefully finish you off if those tapes ever surface of Harold making those statements.

  8. - Henry Francis - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 11:09 am:

    The poor guy. I guess when you have spent the last 5 years pretending to be something you ain’t, and hiding much or your true feelings, you just can’t answer any question.

    Answering questions honestly should be the first instinct of a person. The natural response.

    But not for the Guv. He just tries to say something as meaningless and empty as he can.

    Even on softball questions he struggles.

    He can’t even bring himself to support Harold. All he can do is repeat a general talking point that really says nothing.

  9. - jim - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 11:18 am:

    This story reeks of a political hit job dug up by democrats and fed to a TV reporter. what a joke to be discussing whether Harold should drop out on the basis of nameless quotes and zero documentation about something involving her as an extremely young person. Dems must really fear her.

  10. - Old Hard R - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 11:19 am:

    Might help her with the far right in the primary. Then get her out later for the General,that way he isn’t stuck with Grasso who isn’t his choice.

  11. - Blimp - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 11:24 am:

    Erica could and should have extinguished this quickly.

  12. - A guy - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 11:32 am:

    Mary Ann Ahern and her anonymous, on background sources…Hmmm. The pageant people, on the record denying it from 20 years ago. Are all gay parents loving and all non gay parents abusive in the adoption process?

    The question is goofy at it’s premise. If you’ve witnessed what couples, gay or not, have to do to work their way up the list to hopefully be available for an adoption, you would be amazed. The home studies and testing are stringent. While nothing is impossible, a “known” abusive set of parents of any preference would have a very difficult time getting through that process.

    Mary Ann Ahern gets worse by the day. I don’t know why anyone talks to her. I really don’t.

  13. - A Jack - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 11:36 am:

    Rauner really should also answer this question given his atrocious record concerning DCFS. Although his answer may be that he doesn’t care who the child is placed with as long as the DCFS worker meets his/her quota.

  14. - A guy - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 11:37 am:

    Rep. Cassidy, with due respect, can’t you pick up the phone and call her yourself? I absolutely doubt she’d give preference to an abusive couple over your family. Or that this choice would be the only choice available. It isn’t and never was.

  15. - Just Me - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 11:38 am:

    She should either come out and explain how she “really” feels or she should drop out.

  16. - PJ - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 11:39 am:

    ==I absolutely doubt she’d give preference to an abusive couple over your family==

    That’s exactly what she herself evidently stated, but it’s nice of you to offer that unsubstantiated statement on her behalf.

    It’s definitely Rep. Cassidy’s job to call her, and not Harold’s job to proactively clarify her own comments. For sure.

  17. - Gooner - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 11:40 am:

    A Guy,

    Why do you doubt it? Ms. Harold was asked the question and gave the answer. Why do you believe she would give a different answer now?

  18. - TominChicago - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 11:45 am:

    Jim - its kind of like using illegally obtained phone taps from 10 years ago and taking what is said wildly out of context. Whoever did that must really be afraid of his opponent.

  19. - A guy - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 11:46 am:

    Peege and Goon, because no one is actually on the record saying this happened, but official people with the pageant are on the record saying it didn’t.

    ==That’s exactly what she herself evidently stated==

    it’s the evidence from the “evidently” that’s missing. Go find it and come back. The evidence from the officials running the event state otherwise. On the record.

    ==It’s definitely Rep. Cassidy’s job to call her==
    This is pretty important. I would. She’s the one tweeting.

  20. - @misterjayem - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 11:49 am:

    “I’ve found [Erika Harold] to be a person of great talent and integrity and good will.”

    “I think [Erika Harold’s] an outstanding person of great talent and integrity and good will.”

    Think they can they get Angela Lansbury to play her in the movie?

    – MrJM

  21. - Real - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 11:53 am:

    A guy

    Saying you “don’t recall” something happened is the usual political spin uses when someone isn’t telling thetruth. By saying you don’t recall is just to cover yourself if video or tape surfaces.

  22. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 11:54 am:

    ==This story reeks of a hit job dug up by democrats and fed to a TV reporter.==
    No. Harold said it in a room full of people. It was in the book by Kate Shindle called Being Miss America. This book was “fed” to anyone who bought it. The book was published after Harold lost her primary to Rodney Davis and before her current run for Attorney General, so I doubt Shindle was motivated by a “hit job on Harold.

  23. - Moe Berg - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 11:54 am:

    Beyond this particular controversy, being pro-gun, anti-choice, anti-marriage equality, against marijuana legalization and in favor of repealing the Affordable Care Act are not positions that are going to serve Ms. Harold well come the fall.

    Gov. Rauner’s support for her will not serve him well, either. As he said last December: “I am the strongest supporter of candidates for office who are pro-life. Nobody has worked harder to elect pro-life Republicans than I have and I remind everybody of that.

    Trump-Rauner-Harold: amplifying the 2018 Illinois blue wave.

  24. - wordslinger - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 11:56 am:

    –I absolutely doubt she’d give preference to an abusive couple over your family.–

    You “absolutely doubt,” huh? That’s pretty hilarious, in a clearly incoherent way.

    Do Harold a favor, and don’t pretend to speak for her.

    If she wants to continue in this pursuit, she’ll need to speak for herself, anyway.

  25. - Stand Tall - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 11:57 am:

    - Gooner - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 11:40 am:

    Barack Obama was all over the place on gay marriage during the same time frame

  26. - anon - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 11:59 am:

    “That’s exactly what she herself evidently stated”. According to three individuals who won’t identify themselves, except to the extent one evidences a clear bias against Harold (then and now). The suggestion that Harold actively chose an abuser as the home for the child is not even supported in the article (which reads as if Harold rejected the binary choice).

  27. - DarkHorse - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 11:59 am:

    Possibly the worst part about this is Harold seems to be hiding behind Rauner. Is that how she’d be as AG?

  28. - anon (again) - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 12:01 pm:

    Didn’t Harold make a statement that she is supportive of adoption rights of gay couples?

  29. - Annonin' - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 12:03 pm:

    Mr/Ms Stand Tall
    Petty sure this not a referendum on marriage we think it is the choice between abusers and gays and adoption. But blaming Obama is always a safe route for America’s whackjobs

  30. - A guy - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 12:04 pm:

    Eek Sling, you and your incredible wit and sage-ness are late.

    If you have met any couple who have adopted a child, and I believe you must have, you’d understand the idiocy of this entire premise.

    It’s very expensive. It takes a long time. The process is almost always filled with numerous heartbreak for the adoptive parents as arrangements often fall apart. The process is utterly rigorous for parents.

    It’s not even clear that this question was ever even asked of her. She and the pageant people say it was not. This predates Civil unions, let alone gay marriage, so the views of that time have substantially changed since then for everyone.

    For the record, I have no issue whatsoever with any loving couple becoming adoptive parents who can get through that process. In fact, the process itself makes them exceptionally loving. It’s hard. Really hard.

  31. - Gooner - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 12:09 pm:

    Stand Tall,

    First, Barack Obama is not on the ballot.

    Second, he did change his views, which Harold has yet to do (unless she’s made a statement that I missed).

    Third, arguing that placing children in abusive homes rather than gay is far removed from whether gays can marry. They are not the same.

  32. - anon - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 12:18 pm:

    Gooner, where is the support for asserting that Harold ever argued for placing children in abusive homes rather than with a gay couple? Ahern’s article has three people conclude that, but even those three didn’t provide any exact statements to that effect. Instead, the three say Harold opposed adoption by a gay couple. That proposition in the late 1990s would not have been unusual.

  33. - Gooner - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 12:23 pm:

    Anon 12:18,

    You may want to read the article. It states: “All three sources told NBC 5 she chose the child abusers.”

    Yes, choosing abusers would be unusual.

  34. - Sigh - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 12:25 pm:

    I bet she remembers the “terrible royal blue monstrosity” dress from the 1998 Miss Illinois pageant. Also, she competed in the 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2002 Miss Illinois pageants.

  35. - Pot calling kettle - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 12:28 pm:

    Harold could have shut this whole discussion down last week by firmly stating that she was 20 at the time and she has since changed her mind. If she did that, Gov. Rauner would be able to say he does not agree with the 20-year-old Harold and that she has since changed her mind, etc.

    Harold’s refusal to issue a flat statement that she no longer agrees with her 20-year-old self allows this to continue. It’s fair to wonder how she would answer today…

  36. - wordslinger - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 12:36 pm:

    –Gooner, where is the support for asserting that Harold ever argued for placing children in abusive homes rather than with a gay couple?–

    Published and broadcast reports.

    What is she, a child? She’s running for Illinois AG. It’s a rough business. She has to speak up and stand up for herself.

  37. - Gooner - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 12:43 pm:

    Following up on Wordslinger’s comment –

    The Harold campaign did not ignore the issue. At times, campaigns will simply refuse to acknowledge particularly outrageous comments for fear of giving the issues credibility.

    Here, the campaign did comment. However, it did not deny that she held the views at the time. It was a form of responding without denying.

    It was not a challenging question. If most people were asked if they preferred abusive parents to gay parents, the answer (both currently and historically) would be easy.

    Harold’s campaign, in contrast, refused to address the issue.

    That certainly leads to the conclusion that she held those views.

  38. - Olivia Pope - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 1:35 pm:

    Obviously she remembers parts of that interview. After that interview (2000) she took a break and came back in 2002. Since she is running for public office, she should make a statement herself.

    “If she had won the Miss America title at 19 when she first entered a Miss Illinois pageant, she says her shaky faith would not have enabled her to survive the rigors of public scrutiny. Because of perseverance and endurance through difficult circumstances, Erika is no longer easily rattled.”

    “As she competed in the Miss Illinois contest for the second time, at the end of her sophomore year in college, the interview portion turned into a debate on abstinence. Erika didn’t even finish in the top 10.”

    “Dejected, Erika didn’t see a point in trying again and she skipped the state competition the next year. But with aspirations of attending law school, Erika figured snagging scholarships that go with the title would be her best opportunity to further her education.”

    After becoming a lawyer Erika hopes to seek elected office. “The Miss America title is a wonderful training ground for political life in many respects,” Erika says, noting the daily interaction with media and being subjected to public scrutiny.

  39. - A guy - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 1:41 pm:

    ==It was not a challenging question.===

    It’s a hypothetical idiotic question that assumes from it’s premise that no other possible choice was available. And aside from this cadre who won’t reveal themselves, there’s no evidence that the question was even asked. There are people who do reveal themselves that say it was not. Pageants are now and have been pretty tightly scripted. Having a question like that would be hard to imagine to get through.

  40. - VanillaMan - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 2:03 pm:

    It’s always good to elect folks who correctly answered hypothetical questions decade before they ever run for public office.

    Start earlier.
    Ask fifth graders, “should space aliens be permitted to adopt humans, or should zombies?”

  41. - DarkHorse - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 2:24 pm:

    Why doesn’t she say: “Just like the Governor, I support same sex adoption. If someone thinks I said something different 18 years ago, how about if they just step forward publicly and say so.”

  42. - LoyalVirus - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 2:40 pm:

    Some of you seem to be missing the point that MOST reasonable people are making- regardless of how she answered that question two decades ago, where does she stand NOW on that issue. It is a valid question to ask of someone who is running to essentially be the lawyer for the state & may make decisions on issues affecting LGBTQ adults and children.
    It’s almost as if the folks who are focusing on the “it was twenty years ago, so what” are doing so purposefully to let her off the hook about answering the question as an AG candidate.
    Also, if anything, Ms Harold should pick up the phone and call Rep Cassidy, not the other way around.

  43. - Gooner - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 2:48 pm:

    A Guy,

    The fact that you still seem to find the question challenging says a lot about your own views.

    Gay or abusive? Which should get custody? It is simple question. One choice is correct. The other is not. The fact that you still find it challenging is unfortunate. Most of us do not not.

    And no evidence that it was asked? You mean, other than all the people who told the reporter about the question, her response, and their own reaction to it? You mean besides all that stuff?

    Vanilla, courts have been faced with similar questions for years — are gay people unfit to be parents?

    This is not an usual issue. It has been a major topic of discussion for a long time.

  44. - A guy - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 3:12 pm:

    Gooner, it still seems to escape you that in 2003 (or thereabout) Gay couples had no standing with civil unions, let alone gay marriage to even present as a “loving parental unit”. It’s likely that one of the persons in the relationship naturally bore a child and the other of the same gender was seeking to be the adoptive parent. OR, in the case of men, a successful surrogacy took place that involved one or both members of the couple seeking adoptive parent status.

    The question also assumes that the only heterosexual adoptive parents available in the adoption were abusive. Odd question to a 19 year old in a pageant. And according to the unnamed people, this particular contestant was the only one of the contestants asked this particular question??

    At that juncture in time, the question would pose the quandary of who couldn’t legally adopt vs. who shouldn’t even be considered for the adoption.

    Who deserves to be in the NCAA Final Four; the Minnesota Vikings or the New York Islanders? What would your 19 year old self answer?

    Society has sorted this out over the past 15 years. Loving couples of either preference will be considered based on their ability to parent, very carefully screened to ensure the best interests of the child who is in higher demand than ever in these times we live in. It means every child brought to term would have a wonderful opportunity at a wonderful life.

  45. - @misterjayem - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 3:12 pm:

    “Gay or abusive? Which should get custody? It is a simple question.”

    It was simple then.

    It remains simple today.

    – MrJM

  46. - wordslinger - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 3:13 pm:

    Guy, apparently you don’t think Harold is “tough, smart and fearless enough” to speak for herself and put this behind her, one way or the other.

    For crying out loud, if she can’t handle this bump in the road, what are the reasonable expectations for her going forward?

  47. - @misterjayem - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 3:27 pm:

    Guy, you’ve twisted yourself into knots asserting that the question was so outlandish and extraordinary that Harold’s answer can’t possibly be relevant.

    By contrast, Harold’s campaign spokesperson says of the question that derailed her Miss Illinois hopes, “She does not recall the specific exchange”.

    You claim that at the time, it was a “hypothetical idiotic question”. She claims that at the time, it wasn’t even a memorable question.

    You weren’t there. She was.

    Of the two of you, I’d suggest that she’s the more credible authority on the nature of the questions asked at the 2000 Miss Illinois pageant.

    – MrJM

  48. - Wensicia - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 4:06 pm:

    Harold on ABC7 News says she doesn’t remember the alleged comments from years ago, though she did not support gay marriage at that time. She says she now supports gay adoption and foster child placement.

  49. - anon - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 4:07 pm:

    Gooner — read the article yourself. As I said, three individuals said Harold chose the abusive couple. However, as I said, the only quote to that effect attributed to Harold was that she could not place a child into a gay couple’s home. The three anonymous sources do not say “And then Harold expressed her preference for the abusive couple” or anything to that effect. Instead, by addressing adoption by a gay couple, the three sources conclude she would accept adoption by abusers.
    Harold’s purported answer is consistent with a position that gay couples should not be permitted to adopt or at least disfavored(a view not uncommon at the time).

  50. - A guy - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 5:30 pm:

    ==Of the two of you, I’d suggest that she’s the more credible authority on the nature of the questions asked at the 2000 Miss Illinois pageant.===

    We are certainly in agreement on this.

  51. - A guy - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 5:34 pm:

    Sling, as others have added here, she has apparently answered this question (again) and is speaking on it. To Channel 7 news. Doubt she’d entertain another question from Ahern. I’m not sure why anyone does. These types of reports are rather frequent from her.

    As for me speaking about it or offering my thoughts on this. I believe this is a blog and is meant to inspire exchanges of thoughts. Is that just for you, and we all listen? Or do we get to add thoughts too. Peace Out.

  52. - Bobby T - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 5:42 pm:

    She seems like … well, a dummy.

    If she can’t answer a question like that at age 20 — why would she be able to answer it correctly now?

    There’s obviously a correct answer — and obviously a wrong answer. That she took the question to be about her entrenched beliefs — or biases — say that, well, she’s a bit dim.

    Brighter now? Maybe — but I’d like to come out and (a) deny it and then (b) answer it correctly. That she’s not says a lot — more, I suspect, than she realizes.

  53. - wordslinger - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 5:48 pm:

    Posted 5:45 p.m. on Channel 7:

    “I don’t remember the specific exchange that was alleged by the anonymous sources,” Harold said in her first TV interview since the controversy broke last week. “What I do remember is that at the time I would not have supported same-sex adoption, but what I want to make very clear is my position today, which is I strongly support same-sex adoption and same-sex foster parenting.”

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