HAMPTON -- There was no hiding the tension between Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and opponent Bill Daley at Monday's annual Rock Island County Democratic Party's Salute to Labor picnic.
On a day Democrats used to talk of unity, Gov. Quinn took to the podium in front of hundreds of party faithful at Illiniwek Forest Preserve to talk of a "battle for the soul of the Democratic Party."
The party heavyweights were the main attraction at the picnic, and Gov. Quinn did not shy away from hitting his opponent's background as a banker with JP Morgan Chase & Co.
"I don't think it's any secret that big bankers who got bailed out ran the American economy and the Illinois economy into the ditch," he said. "We're still recovering, but I think those who were involved in that whole situation where the bankers took advantage of everyday people have a lot of explaining to do."
Mr. Daley worked as head of corporate social responsibility at J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. from 2007 to 2010 and served as the bank's Midwest chairman before he was appointed as White House Chief of Staff in 2011.
He and Gov. Quinn sat beside each other as they were introduced to the audience by Rock Island County Democratic Party Chairman Doug House, who made no secret of where his allegiance lay by wearing a Quinn for Governor T-shirt.
Mr. Daley did not criticize his opponent from the podium, instead delivering a short speech that focused on Labor Day. But talking to reporters later, he shrugged off Gov. Quinn's criticisms and took a few shots of his own.
He described the governor as a "typical politician" who made "snide remarks" to distract the public from his record.
"The fact is that this state has the second highest unemployment in the nation," Mr. Daley said. "Unless the governor and his supporters believe that this is OK, I don't see any game plan to change it."
Mr. Daley said it was hard to differentiate between the results of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich's tenure and Gov. Quinn's administration. He also noted that Gov. Quinn was lieutenant governor under the now imprisoned former Gov. Blagojevich.
Asked if Gov. Quinn's portrayal of him as a wealthy banker raised questions about his suitability as a Democratic candidate, Mr. Daley responded, "That's a hell of a statement about President Obama and Bill Clinton's opinion of me. I don't think they'd pick somebody that didn't represent the Democratic Party's values to be the Chief of Staff and Secretary of Commerce."
Mr. Daley worked as Secretary of Commerce in the Clinton administration in the 1990s.
Four Republicans -- Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford, businessman Bruce Rauner and state Sens. Bill Brady and Kirk Dillard -- are seeking the chance to face the Democratic nominee in the 2014 governor's race.
Several other Democratic officials spoke at the Salute to Labor Picnic, including U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-East Moline, and U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-Mount Vernon, Iowa.
Asked if she would endorse either Gov. Quinn or Mr. Daley, Rep Bustos responded,"I'm not getting in the middle of that one."
Today is Thursday, Dec. 5, the 339th day of 2013. There are 26 days left in the year. 1863 -- 150 years ago: A new passenger car has been placed on the Coal Valley railroad, and R.R. Cable is running the trains at present. 1888 -- 125 years ago: The Rev. G.W. Gue preached a convincing sermon on the need of a new First Methodist Church in Rock Island 1913 -- 100 years ago: Dr. W.S. Marquis preached his farewell sermon at Broadway Presbyterian Church to the combined congregations from First Methodist, First Baptist, United Presbyterian and South Park Presbyterian churches. 1938 -- 75 years ago: Rock Island's mayor is seeking to enforce the rules governing PWA projects in the city which state that local men are to be hired for the work. 1963 -- 50 years ago: The Argus Santa Claus requests that the names of needy Rock Island boys and girls through 12 years of age be registered by parents or guardians from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Dec. 11or Dec. 14. 1988 -- 25 years ago: Alcoa and its employee union have reached tentative agreement on a 43-month labor contract covering about 7,500 workers at six plants, including 1,900 employees at Alcoa's Davenport Works, company and union officials said today.