Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Bill Daley Highlights Pat Quinn's Leadership Problems

Former White House Chief of Staff says he's considering a run for Illinois governor

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To a packed crowd at the City Club of Chicago on Thursday, the former White House Chief of Staff spoke of what he's learned from other leaders, including his father and his brother. Mary Ann Ahern reports.

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Bill Daley thinks Governor Pat Quinn is a nice guy.  

"He's a good, decent, honest man," Daley said Thursday before bluntly adding. "Problem in leadership" 

That appears to be the opening salvo in a Democratic race for the Illinois Governor's mansion in 2014: Pat Quinn's a nice guy who shouldn't be governor. 

Quinn has said he's running again, but the field of democrats that plan to challenge him is growing by the day. Daley was asked, during a City Club of Chicago luncheon where he was the speaker, if he was in the mix.  

"I'm thinking about seriously," he said. "I'm a ways off." 

But judging by the content of his luncheon address, Daley may be closer than he lets on. 

Daley mused about leadership in myriad ways, from the need for leadership in mental health reform and gun control in the wake of the the Newtown shootings, to the decision making of Barack Obama. 

"I've had the privelege of working with great leaders," Daley said. "I was in the situation room (when Obama made the call to kill Osama Bin Laden."

Daley also focused on his father, Richard M. Daley's, leadership, saying that the decision to raze Little Italy to make way for the University of Illinois Chicago campus took real guts. 

"8,000 residents had to move and 600 businesses had to relocate or shutdown," he said. "Here's what I've learned:leadership takes vision."

Quinn, he suggested, does not possess those qualities -- and failed to lead on pension reform.

"Gov Quinn's proposals had promise but have been ignored. Divisiveness keeps winning out. ...it's not right to blame the workers. If Illinois is to solve the pension crisis political leaders need to put themselves at risk." 

But it's not just pensions, Daley said. It's education, energy and more. 

"The list goes on and on of needs," he said. "We've been forced to look inward at problems that should have been fixed long ago.It's no wonder people of Illinois hunger for leadership." 

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