One day after a nasty, gloves-off appearance with his Republican challenger,Gov. Pat QuinnWednesdaycalled himself a “humble man” who has no choice but to fightback against a belligerent opponent.
“I’ve been on the receiving end over the past year of millions ofdollars of attack ads from my opponent,” Quinn said at a news conference downtown, as hepicked up an endorsement from the Associated Firefighters of Illinois.
“I have to defend myself.”
Quinn accused GOP gubernatorial nomineeBruce Raunerof wanting tomake “radical cuts in important things that matter to the people ofIllinois,” including to fire services, education and health care.
“What we saw (Tuesday) in vivid detail is that my opponent doesn’thave a budget that balances,” Quinn said, as he stood surrounded byfirefighters at Engine 42 firehouse at Illinois and Dearborn streets.
RELATED: Quinn, Rauner rip each other in pseudo-debate
Quinn and Rauner had faced offTuesdayin front of the Chicago Tribuneeditorial board in a particularly raucous session in which they raised their voices, talked over each other and traded barbed accusations.
At that meeting, Rauner hadrepeatedly likened Quinn to his imprisoned predecessor, Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
“The only difference between Pat and Rod is the hair,” Rauner said. “Those two are fundamentally the same when it comes to corruption, cronyism and patronage.”
Quinn, meanwhile, hadaccused Rauner of building his wealth off the backs of the poor or disadvantaged and paying off various people to get personal benefits.
Wednesday morning, Quinn was back at it, mockingNew JerseyGov. Chris Christie, who was appearingwithRaunerWednesday in Springfield.
Quinn said he thought Christie would have better things to do with his time.
“Every time he comes here, I get the impression he eats a box of nailsand spends the restof the day spitting them out at me,” Quinn said.
Meanwhile, Rauner was picking up his own stamp of approval from a public safety group. Rauner was endorsed by the Illinois State Police Command Officers Association.
His campaign issued a release saying it is believed to be the first time the group has issued an endorsement in a guberntorial contest.
Contributing: Natasha Korecki