Some Of Mayor Daley’s Most Colorful Quotes

CHICAGO (CBS) — In his 22 years office, Mayor Richard M. Daley has made his share of colorful, and sometimes eccentric, comments. Here are a few you might remember.

Some Of Mayor Daley’s Memorable Moments

November 1990, after Democrat Neil Hartigan lost to Republican Jim Edgar in the Illinois gubernatorial race.

“I worked for him. I raised money for him. What am I supposed to do, take my pants off?”

August 1991, defending his early plans for a third airport on the city’s Southeast Side near Lake Calumet against detractors who said the airport would destroy wetlands.

“They think there’s wetlands out there. They’re trying to romanticize the wetlands issue. … I guess everything’s a wetland. My backyard could be a wetland. It should be designated. They could designate everything in the country as a wetland. All of DuPage County would be a wetland.” (Source: Illinois Issues)

Aug. 9, 1994, after the city shut down several restaurants for health violations:

“I thought the health of people is very important. If a rat is on your sandwich, you hope to know it before. If a mouse is on your salad, it’s common sense.”

Nov. 21, 2000, emphasizing that the delays at O’Hare International Airport lay outside his control (as quoted by the Chicago Tribune):

“I am not out there talking to the mechanics. I am sorry. I did not talk to the flight attendants. I did not talk to the airline pilots. I didn’t talk to the FAA. I didn’t talk to God about the weather. I’m sorry. I don’t do those things.”

Aug. 28, 2001, responding to a question about whether his family would have been the subject of increased scrutiny if his brother, Bill Daley, had continued his run for governor:

“Scrutiny? What else do you want? Do you want to take my shorts? Give me a break. How much scrutiny do you want to have? Go scrutinize yourself! I get scrutined (sic) every day, don’t worry, from each and every one of you. It doesn’t bother me.”

March 31, 2003, defending the decision to bulldoze Meigs field in the middle of the night and wondering why Disney World had a no-fly zone before downtown Chicago.

“I think just the whole debate about the flight restriction–temporary flight restriction. How difficult that was, how hard it was to get as compared to Mickey and Minnie getting it.”

May 31, 2006, asked by Tribune reporter Matt Walberg – who happens to be bald – about claims during testimony in the trial of former city patronage chief Robert Sorich:

“It’s silly! It’s silly, baldhead! He’s baldheaded – is that silly? No. Come on! It’s the silliest thing I ever heard! Next question!”

Jan. 23, 2009, after the recently arrested and charged Gov. Rod Blagojevich claimed that he Democratic lawmakers were trying to oust him so they could raise taxes.

“I’ve said ‘cuckoo’ once. I’ll say it again. (chirping) Cuckoo!”

May 30, 2010, responding to a question by the Chicago Reader’s Mick Dumke about whether the city’s handgun ban had been effective:

“It’s been very effective. (Holding a rifle): I put this up your butt, you’ll find out how effective it is. Let me put a round up your, you know.”

April 24, 2011, explaining his governing philosophy at his last City Council meeting:

“You have to have passion. You have to have honesty in office. You have to love the people.”

Compiled by Adam Harrington,

  • 10 Memorable Moments Of Mayor Daley’s Reign « CBS Chicago


  • tom Sharp

    You missed the funniest one of all: when he promised “…To faithfully serve the citizens of Chicago…”

  • Bill

    Despite the parking meter mess…..Da Mayor did a fine job! I travel the world and I have to say, Chicago is a class act and a world class city thanks to him. He has served this citizen well and I will miss him and his colorful quotes. Chicago doesnt need a politician, it needs a boss and that is what keeps this city positive and unique.

    • Therese

      I agree with you Bill.

    • matt n.

      “colorful quotes” – come on the guy is an idiot.


    Can you get Richie to make a colorful quote on the law suit the CFD just lost that will now cost the city $30 million? How about a quote regarding his tax payer paid body guards he wants to keep now that he’s out of office. I guess he doesn’t feel safe even with all his anti gun laws. Have him quote on that also.


    Say what you will, but ya’got to admit, Chicago got trees!

  • Pothead

    They forgot ” I didn’t know nuthin about dat ” .

  • Mike

    One more good quote:
    When Bush implemented a ban on flights in the US on 9/11 and 9/12, Daley was asked at a press conference: “Why don’t O’Hare and Midway stay open if they’re not the target of terrorists?”

    Daley’s response: What do you want the planes to do, fly back and forth between Midway and O’Hare?

  • matt n.

    The day this fool leaves will be the best day in the history of the city. I still can not believe that people treat this guy’s stupidity as some enduring trait.

    Besides not being able to put together a correct english sentence, what will his legacy be? Massive debt, one of the worst school systems in the nation, some of the highest taxes anywhere – oh wait I forgot we have trees.

  • John Doh!

    You forgot:

    “Leave the money in the back.”

  • Barbara A.

    What about,

    “You got a pulse? You’re hired!”

    to all of his neighbors, friends, cousins, dog catchers, etc.


    “He didn’t do nuthin’. You got that? NUTHIN” about his nephew.

  • Anu Koduri

    Richard Daley was the finest Mayor I have seen. He loved Chicago . Even his bad english was adorable and on the dot . What good is snow white or an English Prof running the city . You need somebody who can get things done and Daley was certainly that one . I wish him the best and thank him for all that he has done

  • tom Sharp

    Hey Anu: Which “No Bid” contract or “TIFF Grant” did you get?

  • Doug

    Here’s one everybody missed

  • Therese

    Mayor Daley you did a good job running the city and for all those critics who think they can do a better job, put up or shut up. If you think you could do better then go ahead and run for office. Yes Mayor Daley had his faults but so does every policitician who hold office. Who voted them in office, the same people who are criticising them. Go figue!!!!

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