Illinois Governor debate gets to bottom of it: Quinn says his underwear in Springfield

2 Oct

By Lisa Klein

Gloves came off in Illinois’ first gubernatorial debate in the Union League Club, where candidates Pat Quinn and Bill Brady made sure everyone knew what they thought of each other. The candidates also fielded questions from the audience, more often than not glossed over issues, and, in the end, apparently settled the question of where one of them stores his underwear.

For instance, Quinn, first elected to public office in 1982, accused Brady of being a career politician. “He hasn’t one single accomplishment,” he said of Brady’s 17 years in Springfield. According to Quinn, Brady “would be an economic disaster for the state,” cutting job creation programs, cutting corrections spending and giving tax breaks only to the wealthy.

Brady’s “pie in the sky” promises and “fake budget” would never come to fruition, Quinn added. “He’s at war with the fundamental laws of mathematics. The state needs ”a governor with common sense, not nonsense,” he repeated throughout the debate.

“Our state is struggling with a great deal of difficulty,” Brady said about Illinois’ budget problems. He blamed Quinn for not “living within his means.” He said that Quinn’s wasteful and “secret” spending were digging the state into a bigger hole.

Because of the lack of funds, Brady said, Quinn has released criminals early from prisons and left human services providers with no money. He also said that Quinn going to the Federal government for money was not a solution. “I think we should solve our own problems,” he said.

Brady accused Quinn of not living in the Governor’s mansion in Springfield, saying it was a “slap in the face to the people of Illinois,” to live in Chicago instead.

“I keep my underwear there!” Quinn said of the mansion in response.

Before the debate began, Green Party candidate Rich Whitney and his supporters protested outside of the front door to the Union League Club. Whitney had not been allowed to participate in the debate due to numbers below 10 percent in recent polls, although he received 11 percent in a poll released on August 18.

“Instead of performing a civic duty to voters,” Whitney said of the Union League Club in a press release about the protest, “they are helping Quinn and Brady tilt the playing field even more.”

So what exactly did these candidates use their advantage to say?

Quinn focused on the importance of public schools. “I don’t want to lose a generation of children,” he said. He stressed that school funding should become a priority, and that Illinois should not continue to rely on property taxes to pay for education. “We have to make our schools second to none,” Quinn said. “Jobs follow brainpower.”

Brady plans to make Illinois more business-friendly. “Big government is strangling the private sector,” he said. He wants to change workers compensation, medical malpractice and estate tax laws, as well as set up tax credits, to make the state more inviting for businesses. He also wants to conduct a “business audit” of the state, cutting spending where needed.

Although Brady has been leading by about 10 points in the polls, the most recent have shown Quinn to be closing the gap. A CNN/Time poll released the day of the debate last Wednesday had Brady at 40 percent and Quinn at 38 percent. Independent candidate Scott Cohen had 14 percent and Rich Whitney 4 percent.

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