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Doug Finke

Rating the State of the State: Rauner upbeat; others less so

Political foes not convinced of cooperative efforts ahead

Political foes not convinced of cooperative efforts ahead

By now you know that Gov. Bruce Rauner used his annual State of the State speech to call for bipartisan cooperation toward getting things done this election year.

As you also likely know, a lot of Democrats said they’ll believe Rauner wants bipartisan cooperation when they actually see it from him.

A couple of days after the speech, Rauner was in Decatur at an event and was asked about the speech.

“The feedback that I heard from many Democrats as well as Republicans in the Legislature is that they appreciated my speech and my message very much,” Rauner said. “They thought it was wonderful. As I’ve traveled the state, the feedback has been extraordinary.”

Rauner may not like to mention Donald Trump by name, but sometimes he sure can sound a lot like him.

RAUNER’S DECATUR appearance provided a sort of bookend effect to the week.

On Monday, Rauner appeared with his primary opponent, state Rep. Jeanne Ives of Wheaton, before the Chicago Tribune editorial board. Rauner spent a good part of that session bashing his favorite target, House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago.

On Friday in Decatur, Rauner was asked about his upcoming budget presentation. He said his budget plan will be balanced, and he’ll also outline a way where “we can actually begin to roll back down the income tax hike that Speaker Madigan and his legislators forced through last summer over my veto.”

In between, he called for a renewed spirit of bipartisan cooperation.

INCIDENTALLY, the widespread conclusion of pundits and others to that Tribune appearance is that Ives did way, way better than Rauner.

There won’t be any rematches, though, so Rauner can hope most people will never bother to watch the face-off firsthand.

Ives was among the lawmakers responding to the governor’s speech.

Her campaign office issued a statement under the heading “Ives Responds to Rauner’s Final State of the State.”

Must be feeling confident.

“He probably spent more time talking about all of the accomplishments of other famous Illinois accomplished people like Gwendolyn Brooks and Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan. All of those people actually have accomplishments to talk about. Governor Rauner had to talk about their accomplishments because frankly he has none to boast,” Comptroller Susana Mendoza said in offering her analysis of Rauner’s speech.

RAUNER’S OFFICE likes to send out news releases containing parts of news stories that the administration believes make it look good.

So, the administration put one out last week with segments of news stories about the State of the State speech. The first selection came from The State Journal-Register. It mentioned that Rauner got the loudest applause of the day when he said he would introduce a budget next month that was balanced and also outline a way to cut taxes.

That is accurate. That part did draw the loudest cheer, which wasn’t difficult given that the rest of the speech didn’t get much response. However, the news release left out the next part of the story that explained that a lot of the cheering was a sarcastic response from Democrats who think a balanced budget proposal from Rauner this year will be a first.

It wasn’t that Team Rauner misquoted the story. They were just selective about it.

AT THAT DECATUR appearance, Rauner not only said he’ll introduce a balanced budget this year, but that he’s done it every year since he was elected governor.

That earned a “Pants on Fire!” rating from Politifact, which examines the truth of claims made by politicians. For those unfamiliar with the organization’s ratings system, “Pants on Fire!” is as far from the facts as you can get.

Because Rauner keeps making that same claim year after year, this is the second time Politifact has examined it. Same result both times.

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