Deleted tweets spark controversy in Illinois gubernatorial race
April 24th, 2014
08:34 PM ET
8 months ago

Deleted tweets spark controversy in Illinois gubernatorial race

(CNN) - Amid backlash for tweeting out an article with inflammatory language, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn's campaign said Thursday it didn't thoroughly read the story before blasting it out to its Twitter followers.

A Twitter account for the Democratic governor's re-election campaign, @QuinnForIL, tweeted out an article last week that compared black voters supporting Quinn's Republican challenger, Bruce Rauner, to Jewish people collaborating with the Nazis during World War II against their own people in hopes of being spared the same fate.

Neil Steinberg wrote the article published by the Chicago Sun Times last Thursday. The Washington Free Beacon was first to report this story.

"Let me be clear: As a general rule, individuals will sell out the interests of their groups in return for personal benefit. It isn’t just a black thing. Jews collaborated with the Nazis during World War II, helping them to round up their own people in the hopes they’d be the last to go," Steinberg wrote.

In the tweets, which were deleted from the account but saved and posted by the website Politwoops, Quinn's re-election campaign quotes a line from the bottom of Steinberg's piece with a link to the article. Politwoops is part of the Sunlight Foundation, a nonprofit that aims for more transparency in government. The Washington Free Beacon was the first to report the story.

“If Rauner is willing to throw his own money away like this, what’s he going to do when he gets his hands on ours?” the tweet read.

In another tweet that has since been deleted, Quinn's campaign account retweets one of Steinberg's tweets promoting his article.

Republicans pounced on the tweets, which Quinn’s re-election team deleted the day after the uproar.

“It’s beyond unbecoming of a Governor to insinuate that any black person who disagrees with him is a race traitor. The only traitor here is Quinn, who, after winning support from black voters in 2010, has failed to create real job opportunities for those who need it most and continues to block children from access to quality schools," Orlando Watson, the communications director for black media for the Republican National Committee, said in a statement Wednesday.

"There’s a reason why black voters in Illinois are dropping Quinn and supporting Rauner: It’s Governor Quinn’s abysmal record in the black community.”

Quinn's campaign responded Thursday, saying it didn’t read the story carefully enough before sending it out.

"We retweeted a local publication's news story on Twitter last week before thoroughly reading it and didn't realize there was an inaccurate and offensive sentence in the story. When it was brought to our attention, we immediately deleted the tweet," Quinn spokeswoman Izabela Miltko said.

Quinn is considered one of the more vulnerable governors up for re-election this year. In seeking his second full term after taking over for former Gov. Rod Blagojevich in 2010, Quinn will faces Rauner, a wealthy businessman who far outspent his primary opponents and continues to spend much of his own money in the general election.

Calls of racism have come from both sides recently in the political world. Democrats and Republicans have expressed outrage over rancher and anti-government activist Cliven Bundy's suggestion that African Americans would be better off as slaves than under the control of an oppressive federal government.

CNN's Dana Davidsen and Ashley Killough contributed to this report.


Filed under: Illinois
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. Smitty

    Yet another jerk (like Pelosi pass it to read itt) who isn't even paying attention to his own business. Yeah, make sure to vote him in.

    April 24, 2014 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  2. JC

    Of course CNN has to take a shot at the end of the article at the right. God forbid they write an article about a liberal politician and it be entirely about what that politician did. They have to throw in something for progressives to say "yeah, that's right! The right are the real boogymen."

    April 24, 2014 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  3. Phil Collins

    How can I as a voter take these people seriously. God help us.....

    April 24, 2014 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  4. Chris-E...al

    My lord this is 2014 this is america say and do what you want dont teach your kids right and wrong do as you please lie all you want steal and take . God rules dont mattter dog eat dog Dont and say you did let god sort em 0ut . Are you looking at me ? puke on you . lmao . Im right and your wrong . Lord help us all Amen . Oh yea what color is are you god ?

    April 24, 2014 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  5. Secession Solution

    Racism wouldn't be a problem if the oppressive Federal government would allow us freedom of association. In other words – segregation.

    April 24, 2014 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  6. Joe Plumber

    In the word of Rick Perry – Oops!

    April 24, 2014 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  7. DC Johnny

    The Democrat Party is the party of tolerance... unless you decide that your individual values and beliefs go better with the opposition's platform. Then they are the party of belittling, arrogance, and race-baiting.

    April 24, 2014 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  8. Surthurfurd

    Most politicians are not racists, they are just plain amoral. Why are they amoral? The public rabidly supports the destruction of any who are moral.

    April 24, 2014 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  9. Government Waste Rules

    TWEETS aggghhhhh no more!! Stop it!!

    April 24, 2014 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  10. destroyerofeconomies

    There are no limits to the hatred liberals have for anyone of any color who have the audacity to question them.

    April 24, 2014 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  11. Blame Me

    Why take responsibility for anything when you have black people to blame for everything that goes wrong in America.

    April 24, 2014 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  12. Donnie the Lion

    As a Democrat, I have to admit, maybe Illinois needs to try some Republican leadership. In general, however, I believe the GOP's outlook is stuck in a time period long gone and never coming back. They need to think about the next 40 years, not the past 40.

    April 24, 2014 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  13. tom l

    No understanding whatsoever of history. This is so indicative of both sides and their efforts to further divide us. It's sickening and at some point maybe both ardent supporters of their side will realize how much they are being played for a fool.

    April 24, 2014 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  14. Name

    Operations American spring may 16 target W.D.C trying to get the president to step down and all the rest of of top to bottom in white house.

    April 25, 2014 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  15. Frank

    Well, this tweet was ill-advised but as an indictment of racism it's pretty thin. But I'm sure conservatives will be all over it like chickens on a Junebug.

    April 25, 2014 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  16. Dr.Cole

    Same ol' Same old. Apparently the libs think that you have to vote for them if you are of dark complexion...and if you don't then you are a traitor. I've heard it before. My kids (all adopted and range from Black to Hispanic) have even heard it. It's terrible that we live in a day and age when people degrade someone for voting their philosophy, when apparently they should be voting "their race".

    April 25, 2014 01:03 am at 1:03 am |
  17. deseon

    so funny to hear the fake outrage from republicans when they know in their heart how true the article lands home.

    April 25, 2014 01:21 am at 1:21 am |
  18. Thomas

    It isn’t just a black thing. Jews collaborated with the Nazis during World War II, helping them to round up their own people in the hopes they’d be the last to go," Steinberg wrote.

    Whats in the water ?

    April 25, 2014 01:23 am at 1:23 am |
  19. Mike Brown

    If they cannot be bothered to actually read the stuff they are tweeting, why would anyone think they are reading the bills that are being signed into law? I personally expect my elected officials to actually read and understand what they are sending out. Anything less is simple gross incompetence.

    April 25, 2014 01:23 am at 1:23 am |
  20. Michael Lee

    i dont see the controversy....most of us Black people actually do see it that way

    republican blacks are sellouts...not because they are republican...but because they are usually inactive in the community, mean spirited towards other black people, judgemental, hypocritical, basically....they act like white republicans lol

    its kinda funny actually haha

    April 25, 2014 02:28 am at 2:28 am |
  21. John

    You don't read it. You have to "tweet" it to find out what's in it.

    April 25, 2014 04:40 am at 4:40 am |
  22. pauleky

    The truth hurts. If middle class and poor folks want to continue to vote against their own interests, they'll continue to vote Republican. If people of color want to perpetuate racism, they'll vote Republican. Facts are facts. Why sugarcoat it?

    April 25, 2014 05:13 am at 5:13 am |
  23. insi10

    So...If I may borrow the logic of these twits who tweet for Quinn: as an old white guy, I would be a traitor to my race if I continue to vote Democratic, as I always have?

    Frankly, I can see lots of good reasons for richer black people to vote Republican. Tax breaks, for one. I don't begrudge them the right to vote their self-interest.

    But the rest of us should make self-interest an important consideration in voting as well. And if most black people think these honking hypocrite Republicans are going to do more for them than a Democrat, then by all means, vote for that one. See what happens when the rich get richer and you get less.

    April 25, 2014 05:30 am at 5:30 am |
  24. brett

    Were throwing you out Quinn right on your keester.

    April 25, 2014 05:45 am at 5:45 am |
  25. Brian

    If feelings and emotions alone can make America great, we would be on top of the world by now; B.O. and his party needs to start dealing with problems and not just focuse on what sounds good and attack anyone who disagrees with typical Democrat approach, name calling, when they can't win with logic.

    April 25, 2014 07:31 am at 7:31 am |