Mayor swayed by shiny objects, such as badges

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Mayor Richard Daley is an extremely complex man. He's been Mayor Little Big Man, Mayor Fredo, Mayor Idunno, Mayor Details, Mayor Fedheimers and Mayor Queeg.

I'd hoped he was finally through demonstrating how many minds can fit into his skull.

But a fascinating new personality emerged Wednesday during his news conference on federal corruption investigations at City Hall.

Behold. He's now the corruption fighting Mayor Junior G-Man.

"At this time, there's an ongoing investigation, and for me to comment, it would jeopardize the investigation," he said, continuing his administration's theme that he's helping to crack the case.

"It's very hard. I can't be answering all these questions, because much of it, I don't know about it," he said, straight-faced but chattering like some mad magpie. "I don't know any specific knowledge. And that's fair, I mean, you have to be fair to me, and I have to be fair to you. I've answered a lot of your questions. And sometimes I can't answer them. I don't have the facts, and I've said that."

After an opening statement about how he's working with the feds and how much he wants corruption to be rooted out--sounding eerily similar to the pre-indicted former Gov. George Ryan--it was time for questions. (You may read the entire transcript of the Q&A session at

I asked the first question about the Hired Truck scandal, and the administrator of the program, the indicted Angelo Torres, who was first to be blamed when Daley allies wanted to spin the scandal as merely a Latino political problem.

The question was asked about 15 months ago, and it's been asked periodically since then. If he answered it Wednesday, it would put to rest the nagging perception that he's hiding something.

Mayor Daley, who promoted Angelo Torres?

"Well, that question has been asked a number of times. I've looked into it. Uh, ah, a number of names have come up. I'll be very frank, it would be unfair to name several names. At this time the U.S. attorneys [sic] are looking into it. I'll be frank. You know, a lot of people mention four or five or six or seven different names, and no one's claiming it."

Other reporters chimed in.

But don't you know?

"No, I don't."

How could you not?

"I just don't know," he said.

After 15 months?

"I just, I just don't know. I just don't know, John."

Why would it be unfair to name the four or five names (who approved Torres)?

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