Tuesday, January 26, 2010
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Debate more like brawl between Quinn, Hynes

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[January 26, 2010]  CHICAGO -- Gov. Pat Quinn and his Democratic primary opponent, Dan Hynes, wasted no time attacking each other Monday in their last televised debate, with Hynes saying Quinn was "disoriented" and Quinn calling Hynes "incompetent."

InsuranceTheir meeting at Chicago's WTTW-TV wasn't billed as a traditional debate and it could more accurately be called a brawl. The personal attacks got even more personal, and the two men frequently raised their voices to talk over each other.

Quinn repeatedly invoked Hynes' father, retired Chicago politician Tom Hynes, to criticize his son over a campaign ad and pension reform.

"I think Pat Quinn has become disoriented. He thinks he's running against my father," said Hynes, Illinois' comptroller. "I know you've been in politics for 30 years, but my father retired 15 years ago. Maybe you should too."

Quinn said Hynes, unlike the state's other constitutional officers, had done nothing but work against him as he tried to pull Illinois through its financial crisis.

"I'm very disappointed in the nature of the campaign. I think it's a low-road campaign with a lot of sleazy tactics and I'm very disappointed in Comptroller Hynes. I thought better of him," Quinn said.

The campaign has taken on a nastier tone in the days leading up to the Feb. 2 primary since Hynes aired a campaign ad that featured video of late Chicago Mayor Harold Washington talking about why he removed Quinn as the city's revenue director more than 20 years ago.

Hynes maintains the ad is relevant to Quinn's job performance then and now as governor because the state's problems have gotten worse since Quinn took over last year when Gov. Rod Blagojevich was removed from office.

Quinn has said he resigned from the city post in 1987 because others in the Washington administration had wanted him to take unethical actions.

The governor has repeatedly chastised Hynes for using the video of Washington, because Hynes' father left the Democratic Party in a bid to try to unseat Washington.

"You and your father opposed Harold Washington every step of the way," Quinn said of the younger Hynes, who was a teenager at the time.

Dan Hynes said Quinn's campaign has run negative ads too.

"You just don't see me whining about it," Hynes said.

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One of Quinn's ads hits Hynes for lack of oversight of a historic black cemetery in a Chicago suburb. The cemetery was the site of a grave desecration scandal. Quinn called Hynes "incompetent." Hynes said his office had only a minimal oversight role.

The two also fought over whether the lieutenant governor's office should remain. Quinn, who held the office before replacing Blagojevich, said it should stay. Hynes wants it eliminated.

"It's been around since 1818," Quinn said.

Hynes retorted: "Just because it's been around a long time doesn't mean you keep it."

The debate came the same day Hynes was endorsed by former Illinois Comptroller Dawn Clark Netsch. Quinn said she was never a fan of his anyway.


Despite the verbal sparring that was, at times, exhausting to watch, both candidates said afterward that they felt their final meeting went well.

"I think it's important to have a robust clash of ideas," Quinn said.

[Associated Press; By DEANNA BELLANDI]

Associated Press Writer Karen Hawkins contributed to this report.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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