Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn and state Sen. Bill Brady, R-Bloomington, on Thursday night wrapped up their final televised debate in the contest for Illinois governor. It was light on details, but heavy on guilt-by-association.
Brady called Quinn “Governor Blagojevich’s partner for eight years.” An exasperated Quinn replied “[Blagojevich] didn’t talk to me. He never talked to me. Everybody knows this. As a matter of fact, he announced to the whole world that I was not part of his administration.”
In the heated exchange that followed, Brady brought up Quinn’s praise for Blagojevich in 2006 when the two ran for re-election together.
“You knew he was under investigation at the time, governor,” Brady said.
Quinn tried to justify the 2006 comments by pointing out that Blagojevich is a proven liar, noting the ex-governor’s conviction this summer for making false statements to federal agents. Quinn also sought to tie Brady to a now-imprisoned governor from the Republican Party, George Ryan.
The debate was marked by frequent snippiness between the candidates. Their talking points on various issues were similar to those used in previous debates, though Quinn and Brady seemed more tense and frustrated this time.
When discussing the state’s fiscal situation, Quinn touted a “landmark” budget accountability plan known as “budgeting for results."
Brady jumped in. “Budgeting for results means balancing the budget, a part of the [Illinois] Constitution that you seem to have failed to [follow],” he said.
Quinn quickly criticized Brady for failing to release a detailed budget plan, and said that as governor over the past 20 months, he’d cut the state’s budget. “You haven’t even cut your own pay,” Quinn said.
Before the moderator, Carol Marin, was able to get control of the exchange, Brady got the final word. “Governor, it doesn’t matter how many times you say it, it doesn’t mean it’s true.”
The debate was hosted by the City Club of Chicago and WTTW public television. The Green Party’s Rich Whitney, Libertarian Lex Green and independent Scott Lee Cohen were not invited.