Exiting the Rosemont to cheers, Sarah Palin signed autographs and hopped into her SUV, but ignored reporters' questions.
Introduced to a video with a narrator that said "she's right here in Barack Obama's hometown," Palin stood before an American flag and took on Illinois and its native son.
"This 'hopey-changey' thing isn't what we bargained for," the former Vice-Presidential candidate told the supportive crowd, adding that she was "glad to be here on the president's home turf."
"I almost feel a little bit sorry for the president," she said. "They expected us to welcome the change. Come November we're going to show them just how grateful we are."
She spoke of one of the day's biggest news stories: the cancellation of the Highland Park High School girl's basketball trip to Arizona by a superintendent who felt that state's anti-immigration law was not "aligned with our beliefs and values."
"Them are fighting words," Palin said. "They [the students] deserve to go."
"You know how they treat girls in China?” Palin said. “It makes no sense."
It wasn't all trash talk for Illinois, however. She praised the state for giving the world Ronald Reagan and CNBC's Rick Santelli, who started the Tea Party movement "right here in Chicago," after his February 19, 2009 rant against the Homeowners Affordability and Stability Plan.
Conservative talk radio station 560 WIND hosted the Rosemont event, which was preceded by a fundraiser at the Westin O'Hare.
Tickets for the fundraiser ranged from $25,000 for a place at a private round table, $10,000 for a photo and a seat at a VIP reception and $500 per person or $750 per couple for a spot in the general reception.
Illinois GOP chairman Pat Brady said her fundraiser was her first for any state party in the country.
"We're glad to have her," he said, adding that "every nickle we raise will go to GOP candidates from the top to the bottom of the ticket."
Though, of the top Republican candidates running on Illinois tickets, just one, Bill Brady, agreed to attend. Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mark Kirk, a congressman, said he had to miss the fundraiser because he is in Washington.
But perhaps it was best that Kirk stayed away. While Palin never mentioned his name, two audience members shouted it out when the former Alaskan governor referred to RINOs -- Republicans in Name Only.