Bill Daley on Tuesday followed the pattern of nearly every other big-time politician who's ever run for higher office. He refused to say he's running for office.
"I'm not going to comment on that," the former White House chief of staff said of his rumored run for Illinois governor in 2014.
Why not? Daley's response was pretty extensive.
"Because we're here to talk about education," he told reporters after an unrelated event. "We just finished an election. I know a lot of people like to just jump from one election to another, but I think you've got elected officials who are just getting into Springfield, you've got a governor who's not even halfway through his term. ... At this stage I think it's just sort of chatter. It's not good for the system, and I say that with all due respect."
Daley was back in front of reporters after delivering "The State We’re In: 2012," his education advocacy group Advance Illinois' independent report card on Illinois public education.
The results of the report were pretty harrowing. The organization gave early education in the state an incomplete, same as they did in 2010.
"Our kids deserve better because they need to be competitive," Daley said.
Pointing to 4th- and 8th-graders ranked in the bottom half in the country on reading and math and one-third of students missing key milestones in reading and math proficiency, the K-12 level got a C-. The category of postsecondary readiness received a C+.
The case for Illinois school reform is a pretty good topic to tackle as a prospective gubernatorial candidate. But Daley insisted that's not what he's going for.
"There are lots of problems and the more we talk about the next election, and everybody who does something and every action that's taken, everyone then wants to report around what this means about politics," he said.