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Illinois Delegates Upbeat About Democratic Convention

The main stage in the Time Warner Cable Arena September 3, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina as preparations for the 2012 Democratic National Convention continue. (Photo credit: STAN HONDA/AFP/GettyImages)

The main stage in the Time Warner Cable Arena September 3, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina as preparations for the 2012 Democratic National Convention continue. (Photo credit: STAN HONDA/AFP/GettyImages)

dellimore250 Craig Dellimore
Craig Dellimore, political editor for WBBM, joined the station in 1983...
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CHARLOTTE (CBS) – On this Labor Day, delegates to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte are preparing for their sessions, which begin tomorrow.

WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports the excitement among Illinois delegates is building.

State Sen. Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago) acknowledged things are different this time around than in 2008, when history was about to be made, and Barack Obama’s campaign was catching fire on college campuses.

But Raoul said the excitement is not high among Republicans either this year.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore Reports

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle considered the challenges President Obama has faced in his first term.

“I think the president has tried – to his credit – to do a number of things, and unfortunately that’s earned him some opposition,” she said. “But I think that he’s going to make the case that the things he’s tried to do have been for the benefit of the American people as a whole, and that will stand him in good stead.”

After a reception for the Illinois delegates Sunday night, Quinn was characteristically upbeat. He also predicted the DNC would provide a stark contrast to the Republican National Convention last week.

“We had a very good night’s gathering here, and it’s just the beginning. I think we’re going to have a very good convention,” Quinn said. “It’s going to be all about the truth. We’re going to have truthslinging. Last week was mudslinging and fiction from a lot of the speakers at the Republican convention, but I think we’ll lay out the facts.”

Among the Illinois delegation, organized labor seems to be of two minds about the governor’s performance.

A huge crowd of union workers booed Quinn at the Illinois State Fair earlier this summer. At the Illinois delegation breakfast in Charlotte, ahead of the DNC, the regional head of the United Auto Workers praised Quinn as a friend of Labor.

Michael Carrington, president of the Illinois AFL-CIO, said rank-and-file state workers are upset about staff reductions, as well as the governor’s push for contract concessions.

“No matter where I go, whether it’s Belleville or Streator, there’s dissatisfaction among labor with how the governor’s approaching some things, but I still say there’s an opportunity,” he said.

Jorge Ramirez, president of the Chicago Federation of Labor, called the relationship between Quinn and organized labor “schizophrenic.”

“I think that’s no different than the entire spectrum that you deal with,” he said. “You know, in labor or any other organization, you have some folks that are having great conversations and interactions with them, and some that are having more complicated and difficult interactions with them. And I think what you’ll see is the entire range, depending on who you talk to.”

Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan said people should remember the economic crisis Quinn inherited, and see how he’s trying to resolve it.

“You all agree with me that he’s been the subject of a lot of undue criticism from a lot of different quarters, just depending upon what axe they want to grind,” Madigan said.

As he introduced Quinn at the delegation breakfast, Madigan said Quinn has had to cut jobs, because of the financial crisis created by his predecessor, imprisoned former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

“He came into office under some very adverse circumstances, he’s been subject to a lot of criticism. I think we ought to just get all the facts on the table; take the criticism, but also explain that tax receipts went down by 25 percent, he came into office under the cloud of a terrible scandal,” Madigan said.

The DNC officially begins on Tuesday.