Rauner on Kirk's 'bro with no ho,' Hastert

Gov. Bruce Rauner addressed controversies involving prominent Republicans during appearances at two suburban businesses Friday.

Rauner expressed disappointment in remarks by U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk about a colleague being a "bro with no ho." And, he said he didn't know what effect the "tragic situation" of the FBI's case against former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert might have on the GOP in the next election.

He also declined to be specific about such spending issues as the potential closing of youth prisons in St. Charles and Warrenville. He contended he's still trying to work through a difficult budgeting process with Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton, and cited the strained situation with the Democrats.

Rauner addressed Kirk's comments after he spoke about what he calls his turnaround agenda to employees and others at Learning Resources in Vernon Hills. Later in the day, Rauner gave a similar talk at Stern Pinball in Elk Grove Village, which moved from Melrose Park last month after resisting offers from several other states.

While the U.S. Senate was in session Thursday, audio captured Kirk quietly referring to Republican colleague and presidential candidate Lindsey Graham, a lifelong bachelor, as a "bro with no ho." Graham previously joked he could have a "rotating first lady" if he occupies the White House.

"I heard about Senator Kirk's comments," Rauner said. "Inappropriate. And my understanding is he has apologized. That is the right thing to do. And that's all I'm going to say about it."

Rauner has been publicly behind Kirk's bid for re-election in 2016. In March, Rauner and other Republican heavyweights attended a Chicago gathering that Kirk said raised about $200,000 for his campaign.

Hastert pleaded not guilty this week to charges of violating banking laws and lying to federal authorities about $3.5 million they said was paid to buy silence about previous "misconduct." Apart from finding the allegations saddening, Rauner said he had no insight into what effect they may have if the case lingers into the next election cycle.

As for the speech at Learning Resources, Rauner said he's been focused on Lake County since becoming governor and has made several visits there. He said Lake County hasn't been growing like it should because of "bad policies" he didn't specify from Democrats in Springfield.

"The reality is, we've got the best location - in many ways the best location of any county in America - to have a strong economy and compete," Rauner told the Lake County crowd. "We've got access to O'Hare (International) Airport. We've got access to the entire Midwest. Access to the city of Chicago. An incredibly well-trained workforce, well situated with good infrastructure.

"You know what? We should be kicking tails in Lake County. And there should never be a case where Wisconsin is taking our employers. They should be coming from Wisconsin here, not going the other way."

In Elk Grove Village, Rauner called on employees of Stern Pinball to contact their state legislators and ask for their support on key points of his turnaround agenda, including term limits, redistricting reform, freezing property taxes and changing business regulations including reforming workman's compensation laws.

  Gov. Bruce Rauner poses for a photo with engineer Mike Redoble after his speech Friday at Stern Pinball in Elk Grove Village. Joe Lewnard/
  Gov. Bruce Rauner, middle, speaks with Elk Grove Village Mayor Craig Johnson, left, and CEO/founder Gary Stern during a visit Friday to Stern Pinball in Elk Grove Village. Joe Lewnard/
  Kenneth Madejczyk of United Parcel Service tries a pinball machine Friday before listening to Gov. Bruce Rauner at Elk Grove Village's Stern Pinball. Joe Lewnard/
  Gov. Bruce Rauner addressed issues Friday at Stern Pinball in Elk Grove Village. Joe Lewnard/
  Gov. Bruce Rauner took questions from reporters after his appearance Friday at Learning Resources in Vernon Hills. Bob Susnjara/
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