06/16/2010 02:41 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Bill Brady: I Could Beat Obama If He Were Running For Illinois Governor Today

It's no secret in Illinois that Democratic Governor Pat Quinn has a bit of a popularity problem. With the budget mess, and his proposal to raise taxes--many people are not too happy. This has been good for Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Brady. Despite being very conservative (especially for Illinois) he has been leading Quinn in virtually every poll taken since the primaries. Perhaps that is why he is confident enough to think he could defeat even President Obama in an election.

In an interview with Politico, Brady, Republican senator, said that the anti-Democrat mood in Illinois is so strong that he could even beat President Obama if he were running in this election.

"I think I could beat the president running for governor in Illinois today," Brady told Politico, pointing to Obama's record on government spending.

Journalist and Capitol Fax blogger Rich Miller called Brady's statement "one of the most delusional campaign statements I've seen so far this season." And the poll numbers seem to back Miller up.

President Obama still has a 56 percent approval rating in Illinois, according to a recent Rasmussen poll. More people in Illinois support the president than elsewhere in the country.

Brady, who used to play poker with Obama when they served in the senate together, has been cocky with Obama in the past as well. He allegedly told the president "You're a socialist with everybody's money but your own" and made a similar quip to Politico.

"I used to say I enjoyed taking his money, but now I think he's taking mine," Brady said.

He also speculated about Obama's infrequent trips to Illinois:

With the high-profile corruption trial of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich unfolding as a backdrop for this year's governor's race, Brady even suggested the president might want to avoid spending too much time in the same state as now-disgraced political operators he was once close to, such as indicted real estate developer and Democratic fundraiser Tony Rezko.

Said Brady: "How close does he want to be to his buddy Tony when he's on the witness stand?"

A Rasmussen poll released last week showed Brady leading Quinn, 47 percent to 36 percent, but a Public Policy Polling report released Tuesday showed the gap narrowing.

The pollster explained:

Quinn's numbers really haven't changed much at all over the course of the three Illinois polls PPP has conducted this year. The chances of his actually convincing Illinois voters they like him by November do not seem very good. But he can make voters in this strongly Democratic state think that Brady is an even worse alternative and there's a lot of room for him to make that argument with most voters not yet having formed an opinion about the GOP nominee.

Whether Quinn can come back and beat Brady is unclear, but maybe he should hold off on running against the president.