July 25, 2009 Chicago Tribune
Gov. Pat Quinn and Comptroller Dan Hynes traded the first shots Friday in next year's Democratic primary battle for governor over who's more culpable for the state's financial woes.The governor called Hynes a "no show" on tough budget choices, while Hynes' campaign accused Quinn of keeping quiet while disgraced former Gov. Rod Blagojevich "drove our state into a ditch."The back-and-forth came after the Tribune reported Friday that Hynes, the three-term comptroller, has told top Democrats he will challenge Quinn for the governor nomination. Quinn, who twice campaigned as Blagojevich's running mate, was elevated to the state's top job in January when lawmakers ousted Blagojevich.The exchange represents an unusual early intensity in an evolving 2010 campaign -- a season shortened by a February primary. The rhetoric also provides an indication where each campaign is headed: Quinn is questioning Hynes' leadership from a lower-level statewide office, and Hynes is tying Quinn to the scandal-tainted Blagojevich.
Asked about a Hynes challenge in the governor primary, Quinn accused the comptroller of being among politicians "who just want to sort of drift along and not take tough positions.""When you get in the arena, you've got to make decisions," Quinn said. "You can't stand on the side of the road and not take part in tough battles. You can't be a no show. You can't just show up and say, 'Hey, I want to be elected to something.' I think you have to show you have the courage of your convictions to stand in the arena, take tough positions, do hard things because that's what the public demands."But Hynes campaign spokesman Michael Rendina disputed Quinn's characterization, noting Hynes has proposed $1.2 billion in cuts to the state budget along with $1.8 billion in new money by legalizing more casinos, closing business tax breaks and expanding the sales tax to luxury items. Hynes had been critical of inconsistencies behind Quinn's failed push for an income-tax increase and questioned why the governor hadn't made cuts to try to win public support."Gov. Quinn is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts. After Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn spent six years in silence watching Rod Blagojevich drive our state into a ditch, it is puzzling that he describes a 50 percent income tax increase on Illinois families as leadership," Rendina said.