CHICAGO (WBBM/CBS) — President Obama arrived in Chicago for an overnight stay on Thursday, hoping to translate hometown support into campaign contributions at three evening fund-raising events here.
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It’s the first of two Chicago visits this month for Obama, one day after coupling a call for $4 trillion in long-term deficit reductions with a blistering attack on Republican plans for taxes, Medicare and Medicaid — and pledging that he will not extend George W. Bush-era tax breaks for the richest Americans any further.
“They want to give people like me a $200,000 tax cut by asking 33 seniors each to pay $6,000 more in health costs,” he said. “That’s not right — and it’s not going to happen so long as I’m president.”
But supporters will have to pay handsomely to attend the two more exclusive fund-raisers. At the N9ne Restaurant, admission is $5,000 to $15,000 a plate, while at mk, the restaurant, admission is $35,800. Chef Michael Kornick owns mk, while he is a partner in N9ne.
“We’d love to say we have a friendship but mostly we’re in awe,” he told CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov.
Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s former chief of staff, introduced the president at his first fundraiser of the evening.
Obama noted with nostalgia that people in the room were from all periods of his time in Chicago.
“As I look across the room, it’s a record of my adult life,” he told the crowd of about 100, which included Mayor Richard Daley, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan.
The president talked about repelling GOP budget tactics while tackling the nation’s financial deficits. He also mentioned the unfinished business of stabilizing Afghanistan and creating a national energy policy that makes the U.S. less reliant on oil.
Tickets for the big event at Navy Pier cost $100 and $250. Bulls star Derrick Rose was among the celebrities there.
“It’s good to be back at Navy Pier, and I didn’t have to pay for parking,” Obama quipped before the enthusiastic crowd.
The president, who arrived shortly after 5 p.m. at O’Hare International Airport aboard Air Force One, was scheduled to spend the night at his Kenwood home. He was expected to raise more than $2 million in Chicago.
“The president misses Chicago, and he misses walking around the community and doing the things he would do on a regular basis — seeing his friends,” former Obama White House advisor David Axelrod told reporters. “It’s not just good for campaign purposes, it’s good for morale purposes.”
Obama raised $750 million during his initial run for president. He should raise at least that amount this time around, but it will probably be significantly more, Chicago political consultant Don Rose said.
He returns with First Lady Michelle Obama April 27 to tape the Oprah Winfrey Show, a program that will air May 2.