Chicago's first black mayor, seen repeatedly lambasting Gov. Pat Quinn for poor organization and political grandstanding in a new campaign ad, is "absolutely the Harold Washington I remember," his former press secretary said Thursday.
Alton Miller's comments come just hours after Washington is seen on grainy video from 1987 in a just-launched Dan Hynes campaign ad.
"Pat Quinn is a totally and completely undisciplined individual," says Washington in the video, "who thinks this government is nothing but a large easel on which to do his PR work. He almost created a shambles in that department."
"This is truly what Harold Washington felt. I'm sorry to say," Miller told the Chicago Sun-Times. "It's the mood and the level of disappointment I remember."
During his tenure as mayor, Washington hired Quinn to be the city revenue director, but fired him eight months later.
"He was there like a bull in a closet," Washington said. "He wouldn't do what he was told, he was supposed to put the systems in place that I had discussed earlier with him. No, he thought that office was a PR plantation and he didn't do his work."
Quinn denies Washington fired him.
"That didn't happen -- I resigned. I supported Harold Washington in every election. He told me, 'Sometime Quinn, someday we'll have a drink together,'" Quinn recalled.
That's a bit of a change from the Quinn from 23 years ago.
"If for some reason or another, he doesn't like that approach, he has the right to fire that person," Quinn is seen saying in a 1987 TV interview.
The incumbent's campaign seemed to immediately go into damage control and issued a lengthy, late-day statement.
"The late, great Mayor Harold Washington is spinning in his grave today," wrote Quinn spokeswoman Elizabeth Austin.
The statement continued:
"It is outrageous that Dan Hynes is now invoking the name of Mayor Harold Washington in a blatant maneuver to mislead voters. That Dan Hynes would use a 24 year-old news clip of a beloved figure to attack Governor Quinn shows there is no limit to his negative campaigning. There also is no limit to his hypocrisy."
Austin said the comptroller's father, Tom Hynes, left the Democratic party in 1987 to run against Washington and is now using that former opponent to win the current election.
And the campaign said it believes Washington, if he were alive today, would support Quinn in his re-election campaign.
During the primary campaign, Hynes has repeatedly criticized Quinn for mismanagement of state finances and the prison early release program.
Quinn has fired back that Hynes' campaign employs felons, and that Hynes' office was responsible for the Burr Oak crisis.
The two most recently squared off in a gubernatorial debate that featured much invective and name-calling, and little argument over substance.
Both candidates have been criticized for mistating the truth.