I'm used to being underestimated: Rae
[PoliticsWatch Posted 1:50 p.m. April 25, 2006]
|Liberal leadership candidate Bob Rae.
OTTAWA — Liberal
leadership candidate Bob Rae has a message for all those observers
who believe his five year stint as Ontario premier is more than
enough baggage to weigh down his leadership aspirations.
Go ahead and underestimate me.
A day after his official launch of his leadership campaign, Rae came
to Ottawa to meet with Parliamentary Press Gallery reporters.
Rae said Tories that are secretly hoping he wins the leadership race
because of the baggage he gained when he was premier of Ontario
during the recession of the early 1990s can go ahead and root for
"Well have I got a surprise for them, is all I have to
"I'm used to being underestimated. I have no problem being
underestimated. Let's just see what happens," said Rae, who
pulled off a surprise majority win in the 1990 Ontario election.
When Rae pulled off that surprise victory in the 1990s, he was
largely seen as an outsider.
However, Rae is now running as a Liberal and has the backing of some
of the biggest insiders in Ottawa in recent years, including his
brother John Rae of Power Corporation and Eddie Goldenberg, who was
a policy advisor and chief of staff for former prime minister Jean
Senator Mac Harb, a long-time supporter of Chretien, was in
attendance at Rae's press conference at the National Press Theatre.
Rae made it clear that he was back in politics to stay and would
serve in any capacity for any other leader if he does not win the
party's leadership race.
"I'm serious about this commitment. It's a change in my life,
but I'm ready to make it," he said.
Since leaving politics a year after his NDP party was defeated in
1995, Rae has spent some of his time as a lawyer and consultant at
the Toronto firm Goodmans LLP, where he is a partner.
Rae said he will sever much of his business activity, but will
remain a partner at the firm.
"I'm not lobbying," he said. "I'm still a partner at
the Goodman's law firm. I'm still doing some legal work, but I'm not
doing any lobbying."
Rae says he has not lobbied in "for some time." He also
says he has resigned from any public boards that he is on.
He also dismissed some suggestions by reporters that the winner of
the Liberal leadership contest could be leader of the opposition for
at least six years because some believe Prime Minister Stephen
Harper could win a majority government in the next election
Rae noted that when he led the Ontario NDP to victory in the 1990
provincial election the first polls of the campaign had his party at
20 per cent. Five weeks later, the NDP was at 37 per cent and had
won a majority government.
"Moods change very quickly, polls change very quickly. I'm a
little surprised some time that people who are seasoned observers
are giving the game away," he said.
"A lot of things can happen. You can go from hero to zero from
zero to hero in a very short space of time. I've seen it and I've
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