Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Rauner Once Called Quinn an 'Extraordinary' Leader

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Rauner Once Called Quinn an 'Extraordinary' Leader

Wait, what? Bruce Rauner called Pat Quinn an "extraordinary" leader?

Excuse me, I just spit out my coffee.

At first I thought the Sun-Times' headline was an Onion-style parody. Then I watched the video. The paper unearthed old footage of Rauner singing Democrats' praises during a November 2010 speech on the National Restaurant Association's decision to keep its annual trade show at McCormick Place. At the time, Rauner was founding partner at the private equity firm GTCR and also leader of the Chicago Convention and Tourism Board.

Rauner commended Illinois politicians including former Mayor Richard M. Daley, Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, Senate President John Cullerton and Quinn, his 2014 arch-nemesis.

Taking the stage, Rauner told the crew that "on behalf of the business community I want to say that you have shown extraordinary teamwork, dedication and leadership on behalf of our convention and visitor industry. The reality is, here in Chicago, in Illinois, there is no more important industry for our future economic growth and job creation than our visitor industry. Our leaders recognize that and we in the business community thank them and applaud their hard work and dedication."

Watch Quinn nod his head in agreement while Rauner stresses the importance of Chicago tourism, one of current Mayor Rahm Emanuel's pet platforms. It's surreal.

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