The notebook: Random observations from Charlotte

The notebook: Random observations from Charlotte

Posted by Mike Riopell on Wed, 09/05/2012 - 10:57

National UAW President Bob King spoke at the Illinois delegation breakfast this morning - a big get. His opener was probably music to Gov. Pat Quinn's ears.

"What a great friend we have in Pat," King said.

That could bolster Quinn's argument that he doesn't have a problem with union voters - just public employee union voters whose pension benefits he's trying to cut.

The speaking schedules for the Illinois delegation have been layered with union officials. Notably absent: Anyone from AFSCME, the state's biggest employees union and the group that booed Quinn through his speech at the Illinois State Fair.

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Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, who is also heavily involved in talks to cut pensions for teachers and others, sounded like a teacher himself at many of the crowded delegation breakfasts.

"Please suspend the side conversations," Madigan often reminded the crowd.

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The convention is largely about building party unity, a fact on display when Hoffman Estates Democrat Tammy Duckworth's speech to the full gathering of delegates drew a standing ovation.

But a clear reminder that not every Democrat is the same came soon after. Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee was announced as the next speaker as the crowd applauded Duckworth.

A man in front of me sat down quickly, stopped clapping, and leaned to tell someone else: "I don't like Lincoln Chafee."

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