By John Dodge
CHICAGO (CBS) — After headlining two big ticket fund-raisers on Thursday evening, President Obama got in one more bit of important political imagery, stopping to have breakfast Friday with Gov. Pat Quinn, who is locked in a heated re-election campaign.
The two ate at Valois Restaurant in Hyde Park, which is one of the president’s favorite breakfast spots, dating all the way back to his days as a college professor at the University of Chicago.
Quinn and Obama enjoyed eggs, bacon, hash browns and toast–and, for Quinn especially, plenty of photos sitting with the president.
Quinn has always been happy to get face time with Obama, regardless of where the president stands in the popularity polls. The two have maintained ties while Obama has been in the White House. That is a sharp contrast to when Obama was first running for president: He made it a point to avoid then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
Quinn and Obama spent about 30 minutes inside the restaurant together.
Quinn has his own problems, to be sure. As the governor was having his chat with the president, everything appeared to be imploding down in Springfield as lawmakers were trying to come up with a balanced budget amid lawmaker resistance to make the temporary income tax increase permanent. In the latest move, it appeared legislators were planning on sending the governor a budget that would force Quinn to veto items line-by-line to balance it.
A separate menu board featured “President Obama’s favorites,” including N.Y. steak and eggs; two eggs with bacon or sausage; two pancakes; steak omelet; Mediterranean omelet; and an “all-vegi” egg white omelet.
Obama appeared to stray a bit from his favorites, ordering two eggs over medium with bacon and hash browns.
Obama ordered at the counter and greeted the cooks as he waited for his food, which came out on a plastic tray.
The dining area was about half full, and everyone appeared appropriately shocked that the president had strolled in for breakfast.
At the counter, Obama plopped down two $20 bills and said, “I don’t take free food.”
The president and the governor set their trays down on an empty table and spent a few minutes chatting with customers.
Obama greeted folks with a “how are you doing?” or a “good to see you” and posed for a few pictures.
His food remained untouched as he took photos and talked with a few more people.
Finally, Obama joked that the customers were working him too hard and said that he was going to eat his breakfast with Quinn.
Reporters were then ushered out as they sat down to eat.
On Thursday evening, the first fundraiser required campaign contributions beginning at $1,000 to attend the first reception with the president, $10,000 to have a picture taken with Mr. Obama and $35,000 a couple to be among several dozen having dinner with the president at the second event.
Obama was expected to raise about $1 million for the campaigns of U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, and other Senate Democratic hopefuls.
At the second event, about 100 supporters arrived at the Gold Coat home of Michael Polsky, who ironically, like another Obama supporter, Manny Sanchez, is backing Republican Bruce Rauner for governor.
And while the president was in town, there was the usual grousing about traffic tie ups as he moved around the city.
Earlier in the week, boaters at Montrose Harbor on the north side, where Obama’s helicopter landed, were upset that their parking lot had been closed days in advance.
Of Friday, he left downtown via Marine One from Soldier Field on the way to O’Hare International Airport.