Critics: Kennedy more interested in impressing Madigan than pleasing voters
When it comes to public statements, Chris Kennedy appears to be a man of few words, as evidenced by recent attempts to pinpoint his candidacy status amid talk of a possible run for Illinois governor.
Additionally, the Illinois Republican Party has added Chris Kennedy to its increasing list of names on BossMadigan.com, a state GOP site that aims to link Democratic lawmakers and other heavyweights to House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago).
Over the summer, Kennedy earned a glowing endorsement from Madigan after secretly meeting with him, but ran away when pressed by reporters. Madigan recently acknowledged that he and Kennedy had indeed conversed about the possibility.
“He’s spending time moving around the state, contemplating a possible candidacy for governor,” Madigan said, conceding that the two met. “I told him, ‘You’d make a very good candidate for governor.’”
Illinois Republican Party Spokesman Steven Yaffe said this vote of confidence speaks volumes about Kennedy.
“Mike Madigan endorsing a run for governor by Chris Kennedy tells you everything you need to know about Chris Kennedy,” Yaffe said. “Chris Kennedy secretly kissed Mike Madigan's ring months ago because he knows Madigan is the real boss.”
The media has been very attuned to this possible run.
“Chris Kennedy, apparently at this stage, is talking mostly to party chieftains like House Speaker Mike Madigan,” Chicago Fox News 32 reporter Mike Flannery said, after he joined other reporters in close quarters with Kennedy in an office elevator.
“You’ve run four or five campaigns,” Flannery said to Kennedy. “Are you running for governor or not?”
Kennedy became flustered and evasive.
“Please, I don’t need to address you," Kennedy said in response to Flannery’s question, waving people away even as reporters repeatedly asked for a response.
"Please leave the elevator and let me go to my meeting. Please do that. Have some decency. What have you become?”
Afterward, Fox reported that “Kennedy did what he’s been doing for the last half-dozen years, as he’s explored possible campaigns for several different offices in Illinois: he ignored every question put by reporters.”
Flannery relayed to Fox 32 anchorwoman Natalie Bomke -- who visibly shook her head on camera following the station’s recording of the reporter’s rebuffed inquiries -- that the subject was apparently "verboten" in public for Kennedy.
“My questions were really very simple for Mr. Kennedy,” Flannery said, adding that his inquiries were basic queries about balancing the state budget and the possibility of raising taxes. “You don’t want to talk to the average folks through this TV lens. Apparently, talking to the Mike Madigans of the world is good enough at this point for Chris Kennedy.”
Christopher George Kennedy was born on the July 4, 1963, a son of the late U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy. With previous commercial business experience, he currently serves as chairman of the board at Joseph P. Kennedy Enterprises Inc. He also serves on boards at Interface Inc., Knoll Inc. and Northwestern University.