Barack Obama landed in Chicago last night with much fanfare—anytime the two-term president returns to his adopted city, where he remains extremely popular, a media frenzy is bound to ensue.
On his agenda Thursday: Headlining a fundraiser here for Illinois' Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn, who needs the extra support in his mega-competitive, mega-expensive race against Republican rival Bruce Rauner.
Let's assume Rauner, the wealthy Winnetka investor-turned-GOP candidate, is less than enthused about the hometown-hero-president endorsing the blustery incumbent during a crunchtime push to woo voters to the polls Nov. 4.
Campaigning on a vow to "shake up Springfield" and get the economy back on track, Rauner has dubbed Quinn bad for business. Copy that for Obama.
Capitol Fax blogger Rich Miller reports that Rauner, a former managing partner at the Chicago private equity firm GTRC, did a 2011 interview with Bloomberg wherein he decries what he considered to be Obama's sour attitude toward Wall Street and the broader business community.
"Unfortunately, I think President Obama is one of the most anti-business presidents we’ve had in the last 70 years," says Rauner, in Miller's view making a reference to liberal icon Franklin D. Roosevelt, who led America through the Great Depression and World War II.
Continues Rauner of Obama, "His policies and anti-business rhetoric have created a level of hostility and unpredictability coming out of Washington that’s damaging to our economy."
When asked if the White House was treating business with "outright hostility" or "neglect," Rauner answers: "I would say hostility. You can listen to the rhetoric and then you can look at many examples, and just to quote one: Look at the hostility of the Obama administration's appointments to the (National Labor Relations Board), and they're attacking Boeing over their efforts to build plants, manufacturing plants, in South Carolina."
Rauner's remarks three years ago were not out of step with the financial industry's growing resentment toward Obama, who courted business elites in 2008 and later took positions they felt undermined their interests.
Despite his anti-Obama sentiments, Rauner stated Wednesday that he would personally make a donation to construct the outgoing president's library and museum. The Windy City is widely predicted to win a multi-city bidding war.
Viewed by some political observers as stilted and unknowable—the Mitt Romney of Illinois candidates—Rauner is relaxed and open in his Bloomberg interview, and though he did not declare his candidacy until last year, he certainly seemed to telegraph that he would be running for something.
Take this comment to Bloomberg: "I believe in limited government, low taxes, personal freedom and personal responsibility—founding principles of the nation, what's created the greatest economy in the world. And to the degree we emphasize those principles we will thrive; to the degree we don't, we will not thrive. We will not prosper."
Does that make him a Libertarian?
"I don't know labels that well, but I probably am."