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President Obama on Wednesday addressed reporters to lay out his directive that the issue of gun violence take an important place in his administration's action list.

Obama will have Vice President Joe Biden take a lead role in a quick discussion to come up with some legal and societal solutions to curb gun violence.

The president also discussed the state of the fiscal cliff negotiations and expressed frustration with Speaker Boehner and the Republicans for playing politics while a deal could be had.

Washington Bureau Chief Lynn Sweet has a full transcript of the session and reports on the developments on her blog.

(video by Lynn Sweet)

for transcript of Obama press conference on Nov. 14, 2012, click HERE

TEMPLE TERRACE, FL.--President Barack Obama will be the first president to ever vote early in person when he touches down in Chicago Thursday to cast his ballot. Michelle Obama already voted, sending in an absentee ballot to the Chicago Board of Elections. This is all part of an Obama campaign strategy to lock in their vote early.
Early voting starts in battleground Florida on Oct. 276.

From the campaign: " On Wednesday in Davenport, Iowa, President Obama will kick off a two day, around the clock campaign blitz across six battleground states. ....

"After leaving Iowa on Wednesday, October 24, the President will rally voters in Denver, Colorado at the Meadow at City Park, followed by a late night grassroots event in Las Vegas, Nevada. The President will travel overnight to Tampa, Florida for a grassroots rally, and a tarmac event in Richmond, Virginia on Thursday. As the President crisscrosses the nation, he will spend time on Air Force One calling undecided voters, rallying National Team Leaders and volunteers and continuously engaging with Americans across the country about the choice in this election.

"Following the event in Richmond, the President will then travel to Chicago to cast his ballot and make history by being the first sitting President to vote early in person. The President will end his two-day tour with an evening grassroots event in Cleveland, Ohio."

rahm tampa2.jpeg
Obama Temple Terrace, Fl. campaign office. (photo by Lynn Sweet)

Outside political groups are spending millions of dollars for and against President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney or other Democratic or Republican candidates and causes. Here's a listing of major Illinois donors to outside spending groups, according to an analysis by as of Oct. 1. This includes SuperPacs and Independent Expenditure groups.

I included Joe Ricketts because his family owns the Chicago Cubs. The family is divided politically; the senior Ricketts is boosting Romney; his daughter, Laura, is a major Obama backer. Muneer Satter is also the Illinois Finance Director for the Romney campaign and departed from Goldman Sachs earlier this year.

The number is where the individual stands in the OpenSecrets ranking of top mega-donors. The L or C stands for where the donor gives, liberal or conservative groups.

Top Individuals Funding Outside Spending Groups

7 Eychaner, Fred
Chicago, IL Newsweb Corp
$3,250,000 L

21 Griffin, Kenneth C. & Anne Dias
Chicago, IL Citadel Invest Group/Aragon Global Mgt
$2,080,000 C

26 Ricketts, John Joe
Omaha, NE Hugo Enterprises
$1,485,000 C

34 Uihlein, Richard
Lake Forest, IL Uline Inc
$1,185,000 C

36 Hayden, Jerry L. & Marilyn J.
Barrington, IL Retired
$1,035,000 C

77 Satter, Muneer
Winnetka, IL Goldman Sachs
$525,000 C

82 Duchossois, Janet J.
Oak Brook, IL Duchossois Group
$500,000 C

GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan took a break from cramming for his Thursday debate with Vice President Joe Biden to haul $2.5 million from a Sunday fund-raiser at the Hyatt Regency O'Hare in Rosemont.

First, some Mitt Romney/Illinois fund-raising updates -- then I'll give you a fill on how Ryan and Biden are preparing for their showdown.

On the campaign cash front, the checks have been totaled from the fund-raiser Romney headlined last month in Lake Forest, and the take was $4.4 million.

That's the "largest single Republican fund-raiser in Illinois history," State Treasurer and Romney Illinois chairman Dan Rutherford told me Sunday.

Since the primary, Illinois donors have raised, on President Barack Obama's home turf, more than $20 million, Illinois finance co-chair Ty Fahner told me just before the Ryan event started. That's money to the joint Romney/Republican National Committee joint fund-raising drive, SuperPacs not included.

"You know, Illinois has done a lot of good for this country," Ryan said at the Rosemont reception, where tickets ranged from $2,500 to $75,800-per-person.

"Illinois has also sent some other people to serve our country. This isn't a personal thing with President Obama, nothing like that. It's just that his ideas don't work. He came in with all these grand promises, all this hope and this change, and didn't fulfill any of those promises," he said.

Intense debate prep

Ryan made the Illinois stop amid intense practice for the Thursday vice presidential debate -- there will be only one -- at Centre College in Danville, Ky.

After Romney bested Obama at their Denver debate last Wednesday, the Ryan team is braced for Biden "to come after us aggressively," a Romney/Ryan campaign official told me.

Ryan, the House Budget Committee Chairman, faces enormous challenges. A seven-term House member, Ryan has only been on the mega-national stage since Romney tapped him for the ticket Aug. 11.

Biden -- who ran twice for president -- has been in 18 presidential and vice presidential debates over the past two decades. He's been in office for 40 years -- as a senator or vice president.

Ryan has been memorizing statistics, phrases and language he might use -- and watching a slew of Biden debate and speech tapes.

He's been working on debate prep for almost a month, hunkering down the past several weeks, holding three mock debates as of Sunday.

While Romney and Obama were debating last Wednesday, Ryan was watching from his debate training camp at the Wintergreen Resort in battleground Virginia. Later this week, Ryan finishes up at another round of debate prep holed up near Tampa -- in battleground Florida.

Ryan's delivery also has to factor in a generational gap. He has to look the role.

Ryan, a youthful looking 42, will spar with Biden, who turns 70 on Nov. 20. Ryan was 2 years old when Biden was first elected to the Senate. That's a reason Ryan's sparring partner is Ted Olson, 72, a former solicitor general who -- as does Biden -- has a down-to-earth manner.

Ryan's team is lowering expectations.

"A lot of people give Joe Biden grief for some verbal gaffes, but if you go back and look at his debates, he's always been a solid debater," the Romney/Ryan official said.

Ryan also is working on speaking in plain English -- he is prone to using a budgeteer's jargon.

Biden has his own challenges.

"Biden has to kind of clean up the mess from last week, and there is a lot of pressure on him," Illinois Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady told me. If Ryan "just gets up there and holds his own, that would be a victory for him."

Fahner said Biden's "charm and his bombast won't work here . . . he is going to have to answer to this, just like Obama was supposed to but failed to."

Biden's debate partner is Rep. Chris Van Hollen, 53, the ranking Democrat on the Budget Committee -- Ryan's counterpart.

Biden's debate camp is in Wilmington, Del., this week. Biden has had two mock debates with Maryland's Van Hollen -- and is studying tapes of Ryan interviews and speeches.

Ron Gidwitz, a Romney Illinois finance co-chair told me Romney's debate triumph has energized the Romney troops.

Said Gidwitz, "They went from a little bit down in the mouth overnight to excited, energized [and] recommitted."

Audio, video banned

Ryan did not mention Romney's 47 percent video in his remarks at the Rosemont reception, which a pool reporter was allowed to cover. (No pooler was at the brunch for jumbo donors.)

Romney's seemingly disparaging comments about 47 percent of voters was caught at a secretly recorded video at a Romney fund-raiser. Outside the Ryan event was a sign: "No video or audio recordings allowed . . . thank you in advance for your understanding and cooperation."

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CHARLOTTE, N.C.--Mayor Rahm Emanuel, former President Barack Obama's former chief of staff, framed Mitt Romney Sunday as a backward-looking candidate, blistering his acceptance speech as laying "out the policies of Ground Hog Day."

Emanuel discussed the upcoming Democratic National Convention with David Gregory on NBC's "Meet the Press," where he was introduced as an "architect" of Obama's first term policies.

"If people want to know about the first term? Very simple. General Motors is alive and well. And Osama Bin Laden is not. And that's what got done," Emanuel said. "Because the president did deal, and they know in fact what he inherited and what he is trying to fix."

Emanuel flies to Charlotte on Tuesday, delivers a convention speech on the opening night of the three day event--and is tentatively booked to make the rounds in a Wednesday morning show blitz.

"He basically laid out the policies of Ground Hog Day. Which is, we are going to go back to the very things that led to a recession, led to a middle class that for the first time in American history in a decade, actually saw their economic security decline," Emanuel said.

Chicago Sun-Times Bureau Chiefs: Dave McKinney, Springfield and Lynn Sweet, Washington, wrap up the Republican National Convention in Tampa before they move from Florida to Charlotte, N.C. where the Democrats kick-off their first convention session on Tuesday.

(video by Lynn Sweet)

TAMPA--Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) here for the Republican National Convention gives Democratic Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn a failing grade in an interview with Chicago Sun-Times Springfield Bureau Chief Dave McKinney.

CLEARWATER, FL.--The Tuesday Republican National Convention theme is "We Built It," an attack blitz at President Barack Obama's "you didn't build that." The Democratic National Committee is mounting a big push-back today on that theme--where Obama's choice of words created an opening for the Republicans.

The DNC has a variety of push-backs set for Tuesday, a rolling "pre-buttal" to the GOP. The DNC is running a "war room operation in Tampa near the Tampa Bay Times Forum. The Republican National Committee will have a similar set-up in Charlotte, N.C. next week for the Democratic National Convention.

What the DNC is planning for Tuesday:


· Daily Democratic Press Conference with Robert Gibbs, Gov. Martin O'Malley, Democratic Convention Chair and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, CarMax Founder Austin Ligon, Somerville, MA Mayor Joe Curtatone, Former AMPAD Employee and Bain Victim Randy Johnson

· 10 AM, Democratic War Room, 200 North Tampa St., Suite 110

· Press Avail with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa

· 2 PM, Democratic War Room, 200 North Tampa St., Suite 110

· Conference Call with Assistant Democratic Leader James Clyburn (SC-06) and DNC Executive Director Patrick Gaspard to discuss Romney Economics: Wrong for African Americans.

FOR THE RECORD: As you watch proceedings at the Tampa Bay Times Forum today, it may be instructive--as a starting point--no matter your politics--to at least know what Obama said last July 13.

There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me -- because they want to give something back. They know they didn't -- look, if you've been successful, you didn't get there on your own. You didn't get there on your own. I'm always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something -- there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there. (Applause.)

If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you've got a business -- you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn't get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.

The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together. There are some things, just like fighting fires, we don't do on our own. I mean, imagine if everybody had their own fire service. That would be a hard way to organize fighting fires.

So we say to ourselves, ever since the founding of this country, you know what, there are some things we do better together. That's how we funded the GI Bill. That's how we created the middle class. That's how we built the Golden Gate Bridge or the Hoover Dam. That's how we invented the Internet. That's how we sent a man to the moon. We rise or fall together as one nation and as one people, and that's the reason I'm running for President -- because I still believe in that idea. You're not on your own, we're in this together. (Applause.)

So all these issues go back to that first campaign that I talked about, because everything has to do with how do we help middle-class families, working people, strivers, doers -- how do we help them succeed? How do we make sure that their hard work pays off? That's what I've been thinking about the entire time I've been President.


The Sun-Times has five reporters covering the national, state and local stories in Tampa at the Republican National Convention this week.

Each day we'll Storify their tweets, images, video and more as they report the event.

You can follow them individually on Twitter as well: