New ads: Rauner ties Quinn to Blago as gov touts Ford expansion

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SPRINGFIELD-Gov. Pat Quinn and GOP rival Bruce Rauner debuted two new commercials Friday in their intensifying battle of the airwaves with the election about six weeks away.

Quinn’s new television ad is decidedly positive, while Rauner’s online-only video strikes a negative tone – proof perhaps that a race Rauner once firmly controlled has now tightened considerably.

Rauner’s ad, titled “Cut from the Same Cloth,” links Quinn to his one-time running mate, imprisoned ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

The new Rauner commercial begins with a Quinn quote from September 2006 in which he praised Blagojevich’s “honesty” and “integrity” and then said the governor does “the right thing all of the time.”

Quinn made that statement when questions surfaced about a $1,500 gift given to Blagojevich’s daughter by the husband of a political supporter whose wife had gotten an Illinois Department of Transportation job under him. During a debate between Rauner and Quinn earlier this month, Rauner botched the timing of the quote, saying it came after Blagojevich’s 2009 indictment.

The new Rauner ad intersperses television news footage of Blagojevich’s arrest with current reports about a patronage hiring scandal at the Illinois Department of Transportation that spanned the administrations of both Chicago Democrats.

“It feels like déjà vu,” the Rauner ad ends, quoting political analyst Paul Lisnek.

By comparison, Quinn’s ad focusing on job growth in Illinois is much more buoyant, with him standing next to a new Ford Explorer by the Ford Motor Co. plant on the South Side where the vehicle was built.

“This Ford Explorer was built at that facility by these folks right here in Illinois,” Quinn said as several plant employees surround him. “Our economic initiative allowed Ford to hire 2,500 more workers, and that supports other Illinois businesses, creating even more jobs.”

The commercial highlights one of the economic bright spots of Quinn’s five-year tenure, when job growth has lagged behind surrounding states. In 2011, Ford announced a $200 million expansion of its production facilitieson the far south side and in Chicago Heights. State tax credits helped induce the company’s investment, which allowed for the addition of a third shift at the Chicago plant.

The new Quinnad ends with him behind the steering wheel and driving away in the Explorer, using his trademark phrase, “Everybody in?”

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