Illinois GOP criticizes Obama for birthday fundraiser

August 3, 2011

Susie An and Lauren Chooljian

(AP/Susan Walsh)
President Barack Obama waits in line at the Good Stuff Eatery in Washington, Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2011.

The Republican National Committee is criticizing President Barack Obama for attending a fundraiser in Chicago Wednesday night.

Illinois GOP Chairman Pat Brady says the President should instead focus on job creation.

"They've concentrated so much on fundraising," Brady said. "I don't think they've concentrated so much on issues that are really important and that's the issue of job creation. I think it's been 15 mentions that they were going to pivot and focus on job creation since he took office and we've yet to see that full pivot."

Brady and RNC head Reince Priebus also criticized President Obama for what they call a lack of leadership in handling the nation's debt crisis. But they defended Republicans who are fundraising during the August congressional recess.

Meanwhile, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn is defending the president's visit. The governor told reporters Wednesday that he'd be attending the event to show support for the president.

"President Obama did a heroic job here in keeping our country on the right path," Quinn said.  "He had to deal with a lot of extremists who I think were hell-bent on hurting the American economy, and President Obama stood against them and kept us going in the right direction. So we're gonna wish him a Happy Birthday."

The fundraisers are in celebration of the president's 50th birthday. One event includes a concert at the Aragon Ballroom with Chicago natives Herbie Hancock and Jennifer Hudson, as well as Chicago band OK Go.  President Obama turns 50 tomorrow.

He'll return to the Capitol later tonight.