Governor candidate Bill Daley discusses his motivations for running for the seat currently filled by Democrat Pat Quinn.

Democratic candidate for governor Bill Daley excoriated Gov. Pat Quinn for a lack of leadership over the state's pension crisis and criticized potential rival Lisa Madigan for not providing a legal opinion on the constitutionality of possible solutions.

At a downtown news conference, Daley said Quinn's vacillation in backing a variety of remedies is "not the way you lead."

Citing Quinn's failed effort to generate grassroots support for pension changes through an online cartoon character called "Squeezy the Pension Python," Daley said, "I guess he didn't squeeze too many people, much less impress" many people.

Daley's remarks came in advance of a scheduled Wednesday special legislative session in Springfield which is so far expected to accomplish little toward resolving Illinois' worst in the nation unfunded pension liability, nearing $100 billion.

Daley endorsed House Speaker Michael Madigan's pension plan, which radically cuts pension benefits, over Senate President John Cullerton's negotiated plan with public employee unions.

Daley called Madigan's plan the only solution that addresses the state's unfunded pension liability. He said if he was governor, he'd shape the debate and build consensus around Madigan's plan.

Daley said Quinn should long ago have vowed to veto any alternative pension plan that did not achieve the same savings, estimated at $187 billion over the next 30 years.

He cited his experience in the Clinton and Obama White House of knowing how effective a veto threat can be.

Daley also said Lisa Madigan, daughter of the powerful House speaker, should give an opinion on the constitutionality of the House and Senate plans. If need be, Quinn and legislative leaders should ask her.

He said if she feels conflicted offering an opinion on her father's bill, she should let someone else in her attorney general's office do it. "I don't think its a problem," he said.

Daley said to make a vote on the House plan more palatable, lawmakers should dedicate 51 percent of pension savings to education.

But he was not optimistic of movement in the special session, like a similar session last year that failed to broker an agreement.

"Why call a special session if nothing's going to be done?" he asked. "It's Groundhog Day."

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