Gov. Pat Quinn is already running for re-election, and he’s chosen Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Peoria, as his opponent.
The two politicians were interviewed together on MSNBC’s Morning Joe Tuesday morning, speaking from the NBC Plaza in Chicago. Schock appeared tan, fit, tailored and eager. Quinn appeared whiter-shade-of-Irish pale, bloated, rumpled, and grumpy. He was either irritated enough to poke Schock in the temple or hungry enough to use him as the filling for a Breakfast Buddy.
Quinn and Schock promoted their respective presidential candidates, with Quinn saying, “the president of the United States saved the auto industry right here in the Midwest. We have three shifts at Ford right now. When I started, we had one shift. Chrysler had 200 in 2009. This summer, they’re going to have 4,500 jobs in our state.”
“I don’t think the executives at Ford would credit President Obama. I don’t think they were bailed out.”
Then Quinn accused Schock’s House Republicans of “obstructing the president.”
“You can’t even pass a transportation bill, which we did in Illinois to people to work building roads, repairing railroads,” he charged.
"We passed a five-year highway bill, the Senate passed a two-year bill, and we’re now working out the differences in a conference committee,” Schock responded. “I think the House passing a five-year highway bill is a step in the right direction.”
But even Schock’s spokesman later admitted he “misspoke” about the highway bill. As Greg Hinz reported in Crain’s Chicago Business:
Speaker John Boehner did propose one, but he never called it for a vote after his caucus became divided over exactly what projects to fund and how to pay for them. Nor would Mr. Boehner call for a vote the two-year bill that passed the Senate with a wide bipartisan majority.
In fact, the only way anything even got to conference is that Mr. Boehner, with Democratic help, passed a 90-day bill that is about to expire. And the latest signs that the conference will be able to get anything past the House don't look good.
Needless to say, Quinn’s staff e-mailed Hinz’s story to everyone.
Schock was elected to Congress when he was 27, and doesn’t seem to want to stop there. When asked about his ambition for higher office, he uses this line: “In politics, you never know who’s going to die, retire, or -- in Illinois -- get indicted.” It’s hard to imagine him leaving Washington, where he’s become one of the most celebrated congressmen, for Springfield, where he won’t be able to maintain his tan or buy designer suits. If he does run for governor, though, he’s already lost his first debate with Quinn.