Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn is in Washington for the winter meeting of the National Governors Association and Democratic Governors Association sessions. He will be in Washington through Monday for a mix of policy and politics--and three White House visits. Quinn spoke directly with President Barack Obama about the auto industry recovery.
ON FRIDAY: Quinn and other Democratic governors met with Obama at the White House. Quinn talked to Obama about the auto industry, a big topic of discussion before the Tuesday Republican presidential primary in Michigan. In Illinois, the Chrysler plant in Belvidere just expanded and the Ford plant on Chicago's South Side is bustling.
The White House and the Obama re-election campaign have focused a lot of attention on Obama's bailout of the auto industry; on Tuesday--Michigan primary day-- Obama speaks to the United Auto Workers conference in Washington. The GOP presidential candidates oppose Obama's bailout and Democrats have been blasting Mitt Romney for his position that the auto makers should have gone through a structured bankruptcy instead of getting the direct federal assistance.
The debrief from a Quinn spokesman: "Quinn discussed Chrysler and Ford's recent growth in Illinois with the President. Just days before the Michigan primary where the auto industry recovery has been a source of debate for Republicans, the governor thanked President Obama for "saving the auto industry."
"Gov. Quinn told the president he was grateful for what he did to rescue the auto industry, which has resulted in both Chrysler and Ford growing their workforces in Illinois and helping the state's economy.
"Gov. Quinn took the oath of office just eight days after the President in January, 2009. Since then, Chrysler has gone from employing 200 workers at its Belvidere plant to more than 4,200 workers as of this coming summer. Ford had one shift of workers, and is now adding its third shift of workers."
"As for the general election, the Gov said President Obama appears "ready to go" for whoever comes his way. The governor said the president is "very much a competitor."
ON SUNDAY: Quinn with attend the annual White House black-tie dinner for the NGA in the State Dining Room with Obama and First Lady Michelle and Vice President Joe Biden and wife Jill.
ON MONDAY: Quinn is back at the White House, where Obama and Biden will host a meeting an NGA meeting National Governors Association in the State Dining Room.
The First Lady and Dr. Biden will also deliver remarks on their "Joining Forces" program for military families; Quinn has long been involved with veterans and Illinois military. The White House said Mrs. Obama and Mrs. Biden will, "speak to the country's governors and spouses about military spouse employment and what they can do in their own states to improve job portability for military spouses.
QUINN MEETINGS WITH CABINET SECRETARIES: Quinn is also scheduled to meet with Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius; Secretary of Transportation Ray Lahood, Secretary of Commerce John Bryson, and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson.
IN ADDITION: Quinn is doing events with the DGA, where he chairs the labor committee; in the past he has chaired the fund-raising committee.
MAYOR RAHM EMANUEL WAS IN WASHINGTON THIS WEEK: What I reported exclusively on Wednesday: Emanuel had meetings with Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.I was told by City Hall that the May NATO/G-8 meetings in Chicago were on his agenda on this trip."