President Obama makes flying visit to his Chicago home

President Obama blamed "overly ideological" Republicans for congressional gridlock at a fundraiser for Democratic Senate candidates.
By Frances Burns  |  May 23, 2014 at 2:51 PM
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CHICAGO, May 23 (UPI) -- President Obama made a flying visit to Chicago, raising money for Democratic Senate candidates and spending a single night in his Hyde Park home.

The president had breakfast Friday with Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn at the Valois Cafeteria in the Hyde Park neighborhood before boarding Marine One to begin the trip back to Washington.

"I don't take free food," Obama told restaurant staffers as he paid for his meal.

A small crowd who had gotten word of the visit watched Obama's motorcade leave Valois shortly before 10 a.m.

Donors paid up to $35,000 Thursday night to spend time with the president. Two events raised money for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee headed by Sen. Michael Bennett, D-Colo., and for the re-election campaign of Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., who is seeking a fourth term.

Speaking at one of the events, Obama blamed Republicans for congressional gridlock. He warned voters against "false equivalence."

"The problem is not Dick Durbin. The problem is not Michael Bennet. The problem is not that Democrats are overly ideological," Obama said. "The problem in Congress is very specific. We have a group of folks in the Republican Party, who have taken over, who are so ideologically rigid."

Many of the supporters at the fundraisers knew Obama long before he was president. He joked about the toll the job has taken on him.

"All of you look the same, and I look like Morgan Freeman," he said.

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