* Lynn Sweet…
President Barack Obama, coming home to Chicago on Thursday to raise money for Senate Democrats, plans a sustained effort to help re-elect Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, White House political director David Simas told me.
“There will be strong support for Gov. Quinn throughout this cycle,” Simas said.
While some Democrats have distanced themselves from Obama, that’s never been the case with Quinn. Quinn told me earlier this year that if other Democrats did not want the president to stump for them, “We’ll be happy to take that time.”
In his home of state Illinois, Obama, in addition to fundraising, has enormous ability to engage, mobilize and turn out base Democratic voters for Quinn, locked in what is shaping up as a close and costly race against Republican Bruce Rauner.
* From the President’s speech at a fundraiser last night…
There are a couple other people I just want to acknowledge real quickly. Obviously, our Governor Pat Quinn is in the house. Please give him a big round of applause. (Applause.) Pat is doing a lot of hard stuff, and he’s doing it the right way. And I’m very appreciative for all the efforts that he’s making down in Springfield.
* Ironically enough, one of the fundraisers Obama attended was hosted by a Bruce Rauner supporter…
Obama’s Thursday visit to Chicago includes a reception at the Gold Coast home of Invenergy LLC CEO Michael Polsky. Campaign records show Polsky gave $5,000 to Citizens for Rauner Inc. in April 2013.
They also show Polsky gave $1,000 to Citizens for Lisa Madigan last year and $2,100 to groups supporting Gov. Pat Quinn in previous election cycles.
“We have support from all corners and all sectors,” Rauner said during a campaign stop in Chinatown. “So I’m not surprised that someone who might be a supporter of the president or other politicians might also support us.”
* From this morning’s pool report at a Chicago restaurant where President Obama breakfasted with Gov. Pat Quinn…
President Obama and Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn arrived at Valois Restaurant for a hearty breakfast. Valois is clearly an Obama mainstay: A glass cabinet was filled with Valois coffee mugs adorned with Obama’s face, and assorted Obama clippings and photos hung on a wall.
A separate menu board featured “President Obama’s favorites,” including “N.Y. steak and eggs;” two eggs with bacon or sausage; two pancakes; steak omelet; Mediterranean omelet; and an “all-vegi” egg white omelet. Obama appeared to stray a bit from his favorites, ordering two eggs over medium with bacon and hash browns.
Obama ordered at the counter of this casual restaurant and greeted the cooks as he waited for his food, which came out on a plastic tray. The dining area was about half full, and everyone appeared appropriately shocked that the president had strolled in for breakfast.
At the counter, Obama plopped down two twenty-dollar bills and said, “I don’t take free food.” The president and the governor set their trays down on an empty table and spent a few minutes chatting with customers. Obama greeted folks with a “how are you doing?” or a “good to see you” and posed for a few pictures. His food remained untouched as he took photos and talked with a few more people, largely out of earshot of the pool.
Finally, Obama joked that the customers were working him too hard and said that he was going to eat his breakfast with Quinn. The pool was ushered out as they sat down to eat.
Obama spent about half an hour at the restaurant, and by the time he departed, an enthusiastic crowd had assembled outside. The motorcade departed Valois at 9:44 a.m.
* And the pool photo…