It was the second time in ten weeks the president has campaigned in Chicago for Alexi Giannoulias who is trying to retain for the Democrats the U.S. Senate seat once held by Barack Obama
The president was expected to help raise $750,000 for Alexi Giannoulias and other Democratic candidates. The election is less than a month away and polls show Giannoulias is a in a tight race with Republican nominee Mark Kirk.
After the president embraced his friend and U.S. Senate candidate Alexi Giannoulias, Obama revived a familiar campaign theme. He said that Mark Kirk is not as trustworthy as Democrat Giannoulias.
"You always know where he stands. He's comfortable in his own skin. He doesn't shift with the wind. He doesn't pretend to be something that he's not," said Obama.
Kirk, who apologized last summer for misremembering parts of his military and professional history, says more voters agree with him on government spending and tax issues.
"I'm the candidate that wants to spend less, borrow less and tax less against Alexi Giannoulias who wants to spend more, borrow more and tax more," said Kirk.
Giannoulias and Kirk will share the November 2nd ballot with Libertarian candidate Mike Labno and the Green Party's LeAlan Jones. Neither Labno nor Jones were impressed by the president's visit.
"He doesn't bring the wind of hope that we sent him to Washington with," said Jones.
"People are looking for a return to constitutional principles, smaller government, getting the government out of their way. And that's not what this presidency is pushing, nor the Democratic Party in general," said Labno.
Giannoulias will use at least some of the money raised at the Drake and later at a private fundraiser to continue the television ad battle with Kirk. The Democrat says the Republican has more campaign cash than him only because Kirk accepts money from corporate special interests.
"My opponent is one of the most prolific special interest fundraisers in the history of the United States Congress because he takes their money and votes their way every single time," said Giannoulias.
A Kirk campaign spokeswoman countered by saying Giannoulias does accept special interest money from unions and other groups. Giannoulias says those groups are not-for-profits.
At the Drake, the president joked that he could not find his chief of staff Rahm Emanuel who returned to Chicago this week presumably to run for mayor. The word is Emanuel was told to keep a low profile so as not to upstage the president and Alexi Giannoulias.