Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Bruce Rauner Explains Why He Brought Live Chickens to a Press Conference

Meanwhile, a Twitter parody account surfaces to mock the GOP gubernatorial nominee

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If you were wondering why Bruce Rauner brought a bunch of live chickens to Thursday's big "blueprint" announcement, then you would not be alone.

The Illinois gubernatorial nominee, running on the Republican ticket, offers an explanation for his decision to hire three caged prairie chickens as props for a news conference revealing his plan to cut what he called wasteful spending in the Land of Lincoln.

According to Rauner, the birds were meant to add visual oomph to his complaint that Illinois spent $100,000-plus to import prairie chickens via state aircraft as part of a population-growing mission.

"They are clear visualization of the fundamental problem," he argued. "We have out of control spending. We have irresponsible politicians making decisions with taxpayer money on a sloppy, unaccountable basis."

Rauner's 11-page "blueprint" for reforming Illinois government prompted a fiery response from Democrat Gov. Pat Quinn, whose campaign blasted it as "giant prank" and followed up with a point-by-point rebuttal.

On the claim that Quinn flew chickens first-class, Camp Quinn responded: "Um, no he did not. State hunters pay a fee into an endangered species replenishment fund that transported this species. The federal government also supports this program. State taxpayers did not pay a single dime for this endangered species program."

Most amusingly, a Twitter parody account -- dubbed The Rauner Chicken -- has surfaced to mock Rauner's poultry gimmick and all squawking thereof.

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