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, Oct. 2, the 275th day of 2014. There are 90 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: The ladies have adopted the fashion of wearing representations of insects in the flowers on their bonnets. Some look very natural. 1889 -- 125 years ago: T.F. Cary, former Rock Island alderman, has accepted a position as salesman for a Chicago wallpaper house and plans to move to that city. 1914 -- 100 years ago: Work on the new telephone building on 18th Street between 6th and 7th avenues is progressing rapidly. 1939 -- 75 years ago: Rock Island's new theater at 3rd Avenue and 19th Street will have a name significant of its location. The "Rocket" is scheduled to open Thanksgiving Day. 1964 -- 50 years ago: Two of Rock Island's newest water towers were vandalized last night, including the one at 38th Street and 31st Avenue, where police took five Moline boys into custody about 9 p.m.. 1989 -- 25 years ago: Some of us who live in the Quad-Cities take the Mississippi River for granted, or at least we used to. But the river is not taken for granted by our visitors. And most Quad-Citians are realizing the importance of the river to this area as increased emphasis is placed on tourism.