Local journalists miss Paul Vallas. When he was running the Chicago Public Schools and, later, campaigning for governor, he could be counted on for two things reporters love: returning phone calls and talking. A lot.

Vallas is now running the New Orleans schools but was back in town this week—and in top form yesterday, when he stood before reporters and announced his support for Democratic Senate candidate David Hoffman.

Looking trim, tan, and assured, Vallas said lots of great things about Hoffman, calling him “the type of individual we need in elective office,” praising his “great integrity” and “record of accomplishment,” and predicting that he would be “an exceptional United States Senator.”

That was what was scripted. But Vallas was never one for sticking to the script, and after the cameras—and Hoffman—had left, he elaborated for a couple of us who’d stuck around. And elaborated and elaborated and elaborated.