Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Obama to Chicago Donors: 'I Need a Congress That Works'

The president rails against Republicans and praises embattled Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn

Email
|
Print

    NEWSLETTERS

    Making the rounds at two Chicago fundraisers Thursday, President Barack Obama urged donors to open their wallets and help get out the vote in order to maintain Democrats' control of the Senate.

    "I need a Congress that works. And that means I need a Democratic Senate. And it would be helpful to have a Democratic House," he remarked during a re-election reception for Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin at the Gold Coast mansion of Michael Polsky, CEO of clean-energy company Invenergy LLC.

    "Now, you all know this so I'm preaching to the choir. But here’s the challenge we have: Democrats are not perfect and it turns out one of our great imperfections is we have a congenital tendency not to vote in midterm elections."

    He added: "I don't know what it is. Presidential elections, we're all in. In 2008, you all went crazy; 2012, you still went crazy. High turnout, we're motivated, donors are involved, people are active, folks are knocking on doors, people making phone calls. And then the midterm comes and we fall asleep."

    Without calling out the Tea Party by name, Obama railed against an "Ideologically rigid" faction within the Republican party which has "taken over and cannot get anything done" to pass legislation on reforming immigrant law, raising the minimum wage and curbing the effects of global warming, among other issues.

    As a result, he continued, "We've got to make sure we get our message out. And the only we we do that is if all of you are active and involved in this election. Don't wait until 2016."

    Obama echoed his plea during a dinner at the home of Democratic super-donor Fred Eychaner, where he took a moment to praise Gov. Pat Quinn, who's fighting for his political life in an increasingly brutal campaign against Republican candidate Bruce Rauner, who has slammed Quinn as "fundamentally corrupt."

    (Though Quinn's administration is under federal and state investigation for financial wrongdoing within his troubled anti-violence program, not to mention improper hiring inside the Illinois Department of Transportation, Rauner has plenty of skeletons of his own. See the private equity businessman's messy divorce papers here.)

    "There are a couple other people I just want to acknowledge real quickly.  Obviously, our Governor Pat Quinn is in the house," said Obama, beginning speech No. 2. "Please give him a big round of 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."

    Polsky, the host of the first fundraiser, has contributed to Rauner's campaign. Quinn skipped that party - shock!

    For more on Obama's Chicago speeches, check out the full transcripts here and here.