Tweaking Republicans four days before the Illinois primary, President Barack Obama said Friday that the hopefuls campaigning to take his job would do well to channel the moderation and inclusiveness of the Land of Lincoln.
"I'm thinking maybe some Lincoln will rub off on them while they're here," Obama told a lunchtime fundraiser in Chicago.
Obama also noted the barrage of attack ads the primary season has unleashed and said they're not exactly appealing to — in Lincoln's famous words — "the better angels of our nature."
The nation's first Republican president is an oft-mentioned Obama role model, and he began a day of fundraising in Illinois and Georgia by holding Lincoln up as an example to today's conservative GOP field.
"We've got some guests in Illinois this week," Obama noted at a donor event organized by Democratic lawyers. "Apparently they have not wrapped up on the other side."
Obama said Lincoln understood Americans are one nation, and they rise and fall together. He contrasted that with "on-your-own economics" which he says his GOP foes embrace.
While stumping in the state, Obama said he hopes those foes "take a little time to reflect on this great man."
Recalling Lincoln's devotion to education and public transportation, Obama said, "That vision of Lincoln's — a vision of a big, bold, generous, dynamic, active, inclusive America — that's the vision that has driven this country for more than 200 years."
Seats at the Chicago fundraiser ranged from $2,500 to $10,000. Campaign officials expected about 600 to attend.
In Atlanta, the Obama campaign's African American Leadership Council was holding a gala at film producer Tyler Perry's studio. Singer Cee Lo Green was expected to perform. General admission tickets were $500. VIP tickets ranged from $2,500 to $10,000. A dinner later at Perry's home was expected to raise $35,800 per guest.
The money is split between the campaign and the Democratic National Committee.