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Gov. Quinn to unveil pre-K program at State of State address: Sneed

Bill Daley February 2011.  |   AP file photo

Bill Daley in February 2011. | AP file photo

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Updated: March 3, 2014 2:59PM

Sneed exclusive . . .

Watch for Gov. Pat Quinn to propose an ambitious early childhood education initiative in his 2014 State of the State address in Springfield on Wednesday.

In the wake of recent pension reform and marriage-equality legislation, Sneed is told Quinn wants to up the ante from proposals for universal access to pre-K education.

“The governor’s initiative will call for a more comprehensive approach starting before birth,” said a source. “It will include increasing access to prenatal care, which is pivotal to ensuring the healthy birth and development of a child.”

◆ Added the source: “You want to reduce crime and create more jobs? You want to drive down the dropout rate? You want to help more people get college degrees? It all starts with early childhood education − birth to five − and the governor believes this must be the critical focus over the next five years.”

Getting the Gate(s) . . .

Former White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley, who has become a CBS News contributor, was spotted chewing harmony and grist with former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates at NoMI Tuesday.

◆ Backshot: Daley drew high praise in “Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War,” written by Gates, whose book leveled a bazooka at Veep Joe Biden and was mildly critical of President Obama.

◆ Backchat: Gates, who was scheduled to keynote a Chicago Council on Global Affairs reception Tuesday night, described Daley in his memoir as “smart, tough-minded, open, honest and funny.”

◆ Backshot: Gates’ memoir recalled a lunch with Daley, who had only been at the White House less than a month when he found himself in the midst of the conflict in Eqypt.

◆ Penned Gates: “Over sandwiches, [Daley] told me that he had been doing a press roundtable and ‘pontificating’ about Egypt when he thought to himself, What the f--- do I know about Egypt?”

◆ Daley told Sneed Tuesday: “I was sort of half-joking while talking to him. I knew what my role was, and the message I was trying to send is that I was not going to dabble in his department. I had only been there a few weeks and have great respect for him. If everyone really read the book, they’d know how much respect Gates has for my former boss.” (Ah, that would be President Obama.)

Wired for sound . . .

President Obama’s press secretary Jay Carney may have tipped the reason for poll jitters at the White House.

◆ Bottoms up: Carney just posted this on Instagram: “The WH Mess makes a mean “Carney Coffee”: 4 shots of espresso (2 regular, 2 decaf).”

A Naval note . . .

President Obama’s rumored selection of 1977 New Trier High School graduate, naval cryptologist Vice Adm. Michael S. Rogers, to head the beleaguered National Security Agency — has a voice heard before.

◆ Translation: Rogers sang in New Trier’s Choir Opera and Boys’ Ensemble Choir, and worked in the school’s Usher Corps.

The song ends . . .

. . . but the melody lingers on: President Obama was spot-on eulogizing legendary folk singer Pete “We Shall Overcome” Seeger, who died Monday, when he described him as “America’s tuning fork.”

Sing things . . .

◆ Z: Hotel heir Matt Pritzker, who, of course, has his own airplane, was spotted with buddy Billy Dec at Jay Z’s concert in Toronto Monday.

◆ Zzzzzzz: When Queen Latifah sings at the Super Bowl in New Jersey Sunday, she’ll be on her home turf; the place where she’s known as Dana Elaine Owens.

Sneedlings . . .

Wednesday’s birthdays: Oprah Winfrey, 60; Tom Selleck, 69, and Greg Louganis, 54.

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