POOL REPORT FROM DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE FUND-RAISER AT CHICAGO'S CULTURAL CENTER
Chicago Cultural Center--DNC fundraiser. About 500 people attended the low-dollar fundraiser at the Chicago Cultural Center. Tickets for the event started at $250. Blue canisters were used to turn the Grand Army of the Republic hall at the former library into an art deco show of sharp contrast. Unlike the earlier Giannoulias fundraiser, the DNC event had a much more youthful feel.
POTUS took the stage at 5:29 pm and asked who had the "Obama 44" license plate.
"I know if it weren't for you, I might not be standing here tonight as president," he said, citing old friends he spotted in the crowd. He also recited the remarks about Alexi Giannoulias that he made at the earlier Giannoulias fundraiser.
"I need you to fight for him so he can fight for you in Washington," Obama said of Giannoulias. Several of the pols who attended the earlier Giannoulias fundraiser also came to the DNC event, as did 10th District Democratic nominee Dan Seals and veteran state Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie, D-Chicago.
Obama recounted the struggles of getting the economy moving again and criticized Republican economic policy. He talked of the need to rebuild education and promote "made in America."
"The United States of America does not play for second place," POTUS said. Still, he acknowledged that it will take "years to repair the damage caused by this recession."
The president finished his remarks at 5:55 pm.
Gov. Pat Quinn was the first to take the stage at 4:25 p.m. for 10 minutes noting Illinois was "the home of Abraham Lincoln and the home of Barack Obama."
"I gave him cufflinks I bought, State of Illinois cufflinks," Quinn said of the birthday gift he presented Obama with at O'Hare International Airport on Wednesday evening. "I want to make sure anywhere he goes in the world that Illinois is right by him."
But as Quinn giveth, he also taketh away. The governor literally borrowed the central theme and imagery of Obama's standard mid-term campaign stump speech about Republicans driving the car in the ditch an hour before Obama got to tell his version.
Prior to the DNC event, POTUS made a brief statement on the Kagan confirmation at the nearby Renaissance Hotel at Wacker and State, thanking the Senate Judiciary Committee for a "full, fair and timely hearing."
"After 17 hours of testimony during which she answered more than 540 questions, I'd say they got a pretty good look at Elena Kagan," the president said. He cited Kagan's "open-mindedness and even handedness" and said she knows "the law isn't just an abstraction or an intellectual exercise."