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Gov. Pat Quinn's quiet role as an Obama surrogate: GOP rival questions if he's 'the profile the president wants'

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President Obama and Gov. Pat Quinn had less trouble coming together in 2010. Sun-times file photo

Gov. Pat Quinn got a prime speaking role at September's Democratic National Convention, but since then he's been mostly missing in action as a front-and-center surrogate for President Barack Obama.

That may change between now and Tuesday, but the governor has pretty much stayed home as other top Illinois politicians crisscrossed the country to sing Obama's praises - and two states vital to the president's re-election, Iowa and Wisconsin, are neighbors.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel was on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday, talking up Obama, after doing live local television interviews as a surrogate for the president in five battleground states. Emanuel traveled to Florida last month to campaign for Obama.

Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), meanwhile, committed to visits in Colorado and Nevada to boost Obama and other Democrats with Hispanic voters between now and Tuesday.

And Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) stumped in Ohio for Obama last week during a visit aimed at targeting fellow Catholics in that battleground state. It marked Durbin's second campaign visit to Ohio in two weeks.

Quinn spokeswoman Brooke Anderson defended her boss, saying he has done his share to help promote Obama for a second term.

"Over the past two weeks, the governor sent bus loads of Quinn volunteers to Wisconsin. He has also served as an Obama surrogate on national television programs," she said. "As you know, he has contributed the maximum to the president's re-election campaign."

Anderson said Quinn has appeared twice in the past two weeks on CNBC with business anchor Maria Bartiromo and did "many more" programs around the Democratic convention.

"The governor of Illinois balances his state responsibilities with supporting the president's re-election effort as much as possible," she said.

But a potential 2014 GOP gubernatorial rival offered a different take on Quinn's absence from the presidential campaign trail.

"I think a part of it is reflective of the state he's governor of," said state Treasurer Dan Rutherford, chairman of Mitt Romney's Illinois presidential campaign effort.

"When he has the lowest bond rating in the nation, the highest unemployment rates in the nation and [more than an $80 billion] unfunded liability in pensions, I'm not sure that's the profile the president wants to have on the national stage about his home state."

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