03/16/2012 02:38 pm ET Updated Mar 16, 2012

Obama On GOP Candidates In Illinois: 'Maybe Some Lincoln Will Rub Off On Them' (PHOTOS)

CHICAGO -- Four days before the Illinois primary, President Barack Obama says he hopes the moderation of the Land of Lincoln will "rub off" on the Republicans running to take his job.

At a Chicago fundraiser on Friday, Obama said Lincoln understood Americans are one nation, and they rise and fall together. He said conservative GOP hopefuls would do well to follow the example of the first Republican president.

"We've had some guests," Obama said at a Palmer House Hilton fundraiser, according to the Chicago Tribune. "My message to all the candidates is 'welcome to the Land of Lincoln.' Maybe some Lincoln will rub off on them while they're here."

Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times reports that Penny Pritzker, Gov. Pat Quinn, David Axelrod, Bill Daley, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and others planned to attend the Palmer House fundraiser, with tickets for the events ranging from $2,500 to $35,800.

As Obama raised money in Chicago, Mitt Romney was in suburban Rosemont greeting voters Friday morning, before heading to a rally in Puerto Rico. He is expected to return to Illinois over the weekend and for an election night event Tuesday in Wheaton.

“This is an election about the soul of America,” Romney said to supporters Friday, according to the Daily Herald. “Is government going to be dominated by government and by bureaucrats who think they know better than people pursuing their dreams? Or are we going to remain the nation of the free, the brave, the hope of the earth?”

While Illinois is not usually such an important state for GOP candidates -- Obama is expected to easily win his home state -- there are 54 delegates at stake in the state, which Romney and Rick Santorum both hope to snatch up.

Rick Santorum has two suburban Chicago events scheduled for Friday, including one at John Hersey High School in Arlington Heights.

Gay rights advocates are preparing to protest Santorum's second Friday event, a "Rally for Rick" at the Christian Liberty Academy in Arlington Heights.



Obama, Romney in Illinois

Obama, Romney In Illinois