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Mitt Romney taunts Obama over Chicago’s woes ahead of visit


Updated: November 2, 2011 6:40PM

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama returns to Chicago today to headline the biggest fund-raising day of his re-election campaign — pegged to his 50th birthday — as GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney taunted him in a video highlighting unemployment in his hometown.

Obama will be in Chicago for only a few hours before returning to the White House this evening. Obama turns 50 on Thursday and I’ve learned that he will celebrate with a party in the White House Rose Garden.

Obama’s fund-raising team is using his birthday to plan events across the nation designed to benefit his 2012 re-election bid — both to organize and to raise cash.

† About 1,500 donors are expected at the Aragon Ballroom in Uptown for a concert with Herbie Hancock, Jennifer Hudson and OK Go. The tab runs from $50 a person to $35,800, which includes a private dinner with Obama.

† There will be 1,167 house parties across the nation today, designed to help build the field operation and Obama will speak to them and take questions from backstage at the Aragon via a Web video conference. .

† A team of surrogates is being deployed to events in seven cities.

The Democratic National Committee on Tuesday was teasing Romney as missing in action after a report that Romney has done only about 24 public events since kicking off his campaign on June 2.

Romney’s team returned fire in video titled “Obama Isn’t Working: Chicago,” which opens with a scene from Grant Park, where Obama celebrated on election night in 2008. “The video highlights President Obama’s failure to improve the economy, even in his hometown of Chicago,” the campaign said.

The spot highlights the sagging housing market in Chicago, layoffs and lingering unemployment.

During a Chicago visit in May for fund-raisers, Romney sent leftover pizza to Obama’s Chicago headquarters in the Prudential Building.

Reaction to the jab came from the DNC.

DNC Press Secretary Melanie Roussell said in a statement, “Sent from somewhere in the ‘Mittness Protection Program,’ Mitt Romney’s video is just more of the same rhetoric aimed at currying favor with the extreme wing of the Republican Party. As Mitt phones in his message, he only continues to promote the failed GOP policies that sent the country to the brink, while President Obama and Democrats turn the page to focus on putting Americans back to work.”

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus and Illinois GOP state party chairman Pat Brady will hold a conference call today to discuss the Obama fund-raiser.

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