SPRINGFIELD-A lineup of possible 2014 GOP gubernatorial wannabes took turns beating up Gov. Pat Quinn Wednesday, saying his State of the State speech amounted to a re-election treatise that showcased why his leadership has left Illinois' checkbook in ruins.
"This governor has succeeded at delivering a lot of rhetoric, but the results have failed. Last year we convinced him we needed to resolve the pension crisis. He's failed to deliver any results," said state Sen. Bill Brady (R-Bloomington), Quinn's 2010 Republican opponent for governor.
"Clearly, it's a campaign speech," Brady told reporters. "He's on the ropes within his own party with Lisa Madigan and Bill Daley nipping at his heels, but I think the people of Illinois are smarter. I'm just not confident that this is any different of a Pat Quinn than what we've seen over the last three or four years."
State Sen. Kirk Dillard (R-Hinsdale), who narrowly lost in the 2010 GOP primary to Brady and is mulling another run for governor next year, said Quinn focused too much on social issues and not enough on the state's financial needs.
"He's been the governor for four years. He has a Legislature controlled by his own political party, and we've done nothing on pension reform. There's no leadership by Pat Quinn of his own political party," Dillard told reporters.
"This state is being pile-driven into the ground by [House Speaker] Mike Madigan and Pat Quinn, and it is now or never. And I wish Pat would have focused more on how he's going to create private-sector jobs like other states have done around us and how he's going to solve the pension crisis because we should be about solving the pension crisis, not worried about social issues and these other things," Dillard said.
State Treasurer Dan Rutherford, a Pontiac Republican who also is eying a 2014 gubernatorial bid, steered clear of the anti-Quinn rhetoric and instead simply urged the governor and lawmakers to make pension reform a "top priority."
"The fact of the matter is that because of its finances, the state of the state is in need of repair. Illinois' credit rating is officially the lowest in the nation. We need strong leadership to get our state back in line," Rutherford said in a prepared statement.
But U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Illinois), who is another Republican considering a run for governor, derided Quinn's speech as a lesson in failed leadership.
"Each State of the State address by Gov. Quinn has become a precursor to Illinois sliding further in the wrong direction," Schock said in a prepared statement.
Quinn "lamented the need for solutions, but lacked the leadership and boldness needed to enact those solutions. Illinois cannot and will not move forward until we first address our state's leadership deficit," Schock said.