- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 8, 2014

CHICAGO (AP) - Hillary Rodham Clinton lent a hand to Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn’s re-election campaign Wednesday with a fundraiser and a quick, controlled public appearance in a chat over coffee.

The former secretary of state, U.S. senator and first lady headlined a private fundraiser for her fellow Democrat at a downtown Chicago law firm. The two then appeared together briefly at a DePaul University bookstore, where they posed for “selfies” with students, ordered coffee and hot chocolate, and engaged in small talk that included Clinton’s recently born granddaughter.

Clinton, a potential 2016 candidate for president, paid for the drinks.

A Quinn campaign spokeswoman said 120 people attended the fundraiser and that the event raised $500,000. The fundraiser hosted by personal injury law firm Power, Rogers and Smith was closed to the media.

Only a few reporters were allowed inside for the coffee stop, where the two Democrats did not discuss politics or Quinn’s candidacy.

“Be good to your grandparents. That’s my only advice,” Clinton told students.

The event contrasted with a packed rally the day before in which first lady Michelle Obama addressed a crowd of more than 5,000, saying she and the president “have Pat’s back.” President Barack Obama appeared at a rally and fundraiser with Quinn last week.

Quinn, waging a tough re-election battle against Republican businessman Bruce Rauner, is among roughly a dozen governor and senate candidates receiving help from Clinton during the campaign.

Raised in Park Ridge in Chicago’s suburbs, Clinton also appeared with Quinn in May, when she received an Order of Lincoln medallion during a ceremony at the Field Museum. Last September, Clinton quipped that Quinn was the “luckiest politician” after former White House chief of staff Bill Daley dropped a primary challenge against him.

The Clinton visit occurred as a panel of lawmakers convened Wednesday to continue a probe into a troubled anti-violence program overseen by the Quinn administration in the months before the 2010 election. Continuing revelations about problems with the program, after an audit said funds were misused, have dogged Quinn’s campaign.

Elmhurst College political science professor Constance Mixon said the Clinton visit could help Quinn with suburban women and working-class voters who like her.

“Given the tight race, Democrats are circling the wagons around the party nominee,” Mixon said.

While in Chicago, Clinton spoke at AdvaMed 2014, a medical technology conference, where she defended the Affordable Care Act. In the evening, she spoke at the Economic Club of Chicago, in a wide-ranging question and answer session, where she called the Islamic State “much more advanced and far richer than al-Qaida ever was.”

Later in the evening she noted that while she “didn’t think” her husband had changed a diaper of her granddaughter’s yet, her son-in-law had. “We’re making generational progress,” she laughed.

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Follow Kerry Lester on Twitter at https://twitter.com/kerrylester

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