How did Hynes come up with Harold footage?
It’s the campaign commercial that could tip the scales in the Democratic gubernatorial primary — and ultimately determine who the next governor of Illinois will be.
But how did a 23-year-old videotape of former Mayor Harold Washington condemning his fired city revenue director, Pat Quinn, end up in the hands of Dan Hynes’ campaign?
The answer will probably remain somewhat of a mystery. But the commercial’s genesis begins with an eagleeyed Hynes volunteer with a long memory and an underdog campaign willing to run the risk of a backlash.
“If she was tipped off by someone, I wouldn’t know about it. I don’t think she was,” Hynes campaign manager Mike Rendina said, referring to the volunteer who unearthed the long-forgotten Washington tape. “She herself remembered this whole saga. She lived through it.”
Political commentator Joel Weisman’s interview with Washington, in which the mayor ripped Quinn, aired on WGN-TV two weeks before Washington died 1987.
Hynes’ campaign became aware of the interview more than a month ago. The footage is among more than 8,000 broadcasts on the Museum of Broadcast Communications’ Web site archive. Rendina would not say whether that’s where the campaign got the interview.
The tape, in which Washington said he must have been “blind or staggering” to have hired Quinn, took place in the mayor’s City Hall office.
Quinn’s campaign has been reeling since the ad hit the air last week. His campaign said Washington was “spinning in his grave” at the “hypocrisy” of his words being used to bolster the political fortunes of the son of his Watch the ad at suntimes.com /news/elections one-time foe, Thomas Hynes.
The Museum of Broadcast Communications permits Web site users to access but not download its broadcast archives. Copies of footage can be obtained for reuse if permission is granted from the station that originally aired the broadcast. That never happened.
“Nobody ever asked us,” said Greg Caputo, WGN-TV’s news director.
To Weisman, who
still hosts the WTTW-TV program “Chicago Week in Review,” the ad smacked of an “inside job.” It was clear that somebody with inside knowledge tipped the Hynes campaign to the tape, he said.
“Obviously, somebody told them about it,” Weisman said. “It’s certainly not something I would do. It’s utterly unethical. I don’t pimp for anybody. Politicians run their own campaigns. They don’t need me.”
Dan Hynes’ ad uses a 1987 video of Mayor Harold Washington.