The mayor appeared as scheduled at an event in Englewood to promote urban farming and green jobs. But before he said much of anything about the topic he displayed a photocopy of a morning newspaper article that asked if the powerful Daley was playing favorites in next's years Democratic primary for Illinois governor.
"I did not endorse anyone. 'Daley playing favorites?' What a phony headline. I mean, everybody reads these newspapers, they look at them and they say, 'This is a gig,' " Daley said.
Incumbent Pat Quinn told ABC 7 last March he will run for a full term, while State Comptroller Dan Hynes reportedly is still mulling a run while sitting on a reported $3.5 million campaign war chest.
The controversy over who Daley might back ignited Tuesday when the mayor was asked about the possibility Hynes might challenge Quinn. In answer, the mayor noted that Hynes was not a candidate after he praised the governor.
"He's worked very hard. He came into a very difficult situation in Illinois," the mayor said Tuesday.
Hynes was unavailable for comment.
Meanwhile, on Quinn's political website there is a video ad featuring Daley's comments last week when the governor signed the state's first capital bill in 10 years.
"Now we have the leadership in Springfield with Governor Quinn," Daley says in the ad.
But Daley said kind words seven months before the primary do not add up to an endorsement of anyone. And the mayor said the article caused him to do some political repair work by telephone on Wednesday.
"I know both individuals. One individual is not running. Then of course you have to call the other individual to say 'This is a phony headline.' That's all it is," said Daley.
While the mayor called The Sun-Times headlines misleading, the facts contained in the story appeared to be accurate. This episode is another indication that the campaigns are only few months away and the major players are more sensitive than usual.