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Our View: Quinn’s tone rings hollow at convention

Published: Friday, Sept. 7, 2012 5:30 a.m. CDT

Over the past two weeks, Americans have been treated to a lot of political rhetoric as both the Republican and Democratic parties held their national conventions.

President Barack Obama closed the Democratic convention Thursday night with a rousing speech accepting his party’s nomination to run for re-election.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney closed the Republican convention last week when he opened up a little bit and talked more personally about himself when he accepted the GOP nomination.

Before both parties’ standard-bearers took the stage, we were treated to some moments that were inspiring, others that were not, and still others that were, well, awkward.

Two of the most inspiring speeches came from the candidates’ wives.

Michelle Obama and Ann Romney, in many respects, stole the show on the days they took to the microphone. We congratulate them for their positive messages.

Among the awkward moments, well ... years from now, Clint Eastwood’s conversation with an empty chair still will be talked about.

Less memorable, but not any less awkward, was the speech given by Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn on the opening night of the Democratic convention.

Quinn spent his time attacking Romney and Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan about their record and rhetoric.

“Mitt Romney promised Massachusetts three things: more jobs, less debt and smaller government,” Quinn said at one point. “... What does Romney promise today? More jobs, less debt and smaller government. But he didn’t do it then, and he won’t do it now.”

Excuse us, Gov. Quinn? Did you forget about your – our – state’s billion dollar deficits, staggering public pension debt and oversized state government? Did you forget about Illinois’ more than 7,000 units of local government, more than any other state in the U.S.? Did you forget that Illinois’ credit rating was downgraded last month yet again because we can’t get our finances in order?

We don’t think the governor of one of the most financially troubled states in the nation has much of a case attacking a former governor on his performance. We’re not even sure why Democrats wanted Quinn to address delegates at all given Illinois’ poor performance.

We are sure Quinn would be better served spending his time in Springfield, working with lawmakers on pension reform and balancing the budget.

And making sure that “temporary” income tax increase he pushed through the General Assembly last year remains exactly that, temporary.

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