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Raoul: Rauner death penalty AV “stupid,” politically motivated

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

By Hannah Meisel

* As Rich noted this morning in the subscriber-only edition, the Democrats’ response to Gov. Rauner’s proposal for the reinstatement of the death penalty yesterday was fairly quiet. The party’s nominee for Attorney General, Sen. Kwame Raoul, had no reaction for over a day, which seems unusual because Raoul was the Senate sponsor of the 2011 bill that ended up killing the death penalty once and for all.

But speaking with reporters after a related press conference early this afternoon, Raoul was heated in his response…

Full audio is here.

* Raoul and the governor’s office have also worked together on some criminal justice reform issues over the last few years; one of the few bright spots of cooperation between Rauner and the Democrats. Rauner signed an executive order to create a commission on these issues very early in his administration.

I asked Sen. Raoul if the governor’s death penalty proposal poisons the waters or hurts the goodwill built on that issue…

“I do credit the governor for signing an executive order creating that commission. But the fact that he did so does not give him credibility to just destroy conversations around commonsense policy to try to obstruct the gun trafficking that leads to the murders of police officers and common citizens on a week to week basis.”

I also asked about the cost consideration of prisoners on death row, and Raoul pointed out that, yes, it costs more to house death row inmates than other types. That would undermine the cost-saving motivations at play in the cooperation, no?

* Meanwhile, Mayor Emanuel reacted to Rauner’s death penalty proposal today

“Guys, I don’t even know how to respond to this. I’m speechless!”, he said in a classroom, literally, with a stopped clock, “One morning without speaking to anybody after the State of Illinois had a big discussion, led the country to ban the death penalty for a whole host of appropriate reasons, and then say here’s what I want without consulting or working with anybody.”

Translation? Rahm thinks Rauner’s move is pure politics.

- Posted by Hannah Meisel        

  1. - 19th ward guy - Tuesday, May 15, 18 @ 2:08 pm:

    Yes. That makes Rahm look weak

  2. - City Zen - Tuesday, May 15, 18 @ 2:10 pm:

    Kwame is losing his Kool again.

  3. - Ravenswood Right Winger - Tuesday, May 15, 18 @ 2:11 pm:

    Rahm commenting in a classroom with a stopped clock is ironical.

  4. - Anonymous - Tuesday, May 15, 18 @ 2:13 pm:

    Rauner would never play politics!

  5. - A Jack - Tuesday, May 15, 18 @ 2:27 pm:

    One of Rauner’s few accomplishments is justice reform. Rauner’s AV requesting to bring back the death penalty pretty much blows a hole in the only thing Rauner could have run on as an accomplishment.

  6. - Mr. K. - Tuesday, May 15, 18 @ 2:34 pm:

    I get it. So Rauner’s criminal justice commission mission — reducing the prison population by 25% — is all about killing folks?

    Seriously. Raoul is right. This move invalidates much — if not all — of the good work the commission did.

    And Heaton chaired that. Why would Heaton advise to Rauner to disregard the findings of Rauner’s own commission?

    Flat out bizarre.

  7. - Juvenal - Tuesday, May 15, 18 @ 2:43 pm:

    Hannah, if you or Rich noted it elsewhere, I apologize, but I think it is worth noting the response from within the normally friendly confines of the Chicago Tribune editorial pages.

    Today’s editorial from the editorial board calls the governor’s AV a “ploy” in the headline and closes with a call for the governor’s veto to be overridden. In between, there is about 500 words accusing the governor of making a desperate attempt to revive support among conservative he alienated over abortion by embracing a deeply flawed criminal justice practice.

    Perhaps no one over at Best Team in America was aware that the publisher and Editor-in-chief of the Tribune was editorial page editor when they won the Pulitzer for a series of editorials that lead to the end of the eeath penalty in Illinois.

    Or, perhaps they just don’t understand you don’t throw someone’s Pulitzer on the floor and use it to wipe your muddy feet.

    Can’t wait to see the footage of Rauner trying to defend this in the editorial board meeting.

  8. - Mr. K. - Tuesday, May 15, 18 @ 2:48 pm:

    BTW — If Rauner is belatedly rejecting the findings of the cj commission — he should say so. And say so in public.

    I don’t recall ‘reinstating the death penalty’ as a topic of discussion.

  9. - don the legend - Tuesday, May 15, 18 @ 3:01 pm:

    ==and then say here’s what I want without consulting or working with anybody.”==

    Wrong, Governor Junk consulted with a whole bunch of unnamed democrats, several little old ladies who came up to him, and Madigan and Cullerton on election night.

  10. - DarkHorse - Tuesday, May 15, 18 @ 4:22 pm:

    When I see Raoul’s somewhat hotheaded response, I wonder if he’s gonna prove to be mistake prone in the fall campaign.

  11. - Juvenal - Tuesday, May 15, 18 @ 4:53 pm:

    @Dark Horse

    This isn’t about Kwame. Even Charles Thomas and Maze Jackson could not defend this move on WVON this am. Thomas called the death penalty blatantly racist in its application, mentioned he just chatted with Rauner Friday and Bruce never even mentioned it.

    Maze said the best that Rauner can hope for is that black people forget about Rauner’s proposal before Election Day.

    Anyone heard from John Maki or Rev. Hatch yet? How about Cardinal Cupich?

  12. - Real - Tuesday, May 15, 18 @ 4:56 pm:

    Maze said the best that Rauner can hope for is that black people forget about Rauner’s proposal before Election Day.

    I can be sure JB won’t let us forget. I for sure wasn’t voting for Rauner anyway.

  13. - Mama - Tuesday, May 15, 18 @ 6:02 pm:

    What is the ‘race & gender’ of the majority of people on Death Row?

  14. - Arthur Andersen - Tuesday, May 15, 18 @ 7:08 pm:

    Rahm is quite like a stopped clock; correct twice a day.

    On this issue, he’s way more right than Bruce, though.

  15. - Anonymous - Tuesday, May 15, 18 @ 10:20 pm:

    If I’m interviewing people for a job, I’m not hiring the guy that says he’ll have people killed if it gets him the job. This reeks of desperation and a cynicism that goes beyond the pale. In a tenure full of shameful things, this may actually be the topper.

  16. - wordslinger - Tuesday, May 15, 18 @ 11:34 pm:

    –Kwame is losing his Kool again.–

    “Kool,” I dig. That’s Tucker chyron gold.

    But if I’m wrong, perhaps you can point out where Raoul’s comments scare you so much.

    –Raoul: Rauner death penalty AV “stupid,” politically motivated–

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