Chili Cheese Dog for Christie, $2.5 Million for Bruce Rauner

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, center, at a  restaurant with Illinois Republican candidate for governor Bruce Rauner, during a campaign stop on July 25, 2014 in Chicago.

Photograph by Stacy Thacker/AP Photo

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, center, at a restaurant with Illinois Republican candidate for governor Bruce Rauner, during a campaign stop on July 25, 2014 in Chicago.

Maybe Chris Christie was just trying to own his own political narrative when he ordered a jumbo chili cheese dog with onions and a large vanilla shake.

There certainly were lower-calorie options on the menu at a Portillo’s in downtown Chicago, where he appeared today with Bruce Rauner, the Republican candidate for governor in Illinois.

The New Jersey governor, who is also chairman of the Republican Governors Association, has talked repeatedly about his personal struggles with trying to keep his weight down.

“I order what I like,” he later told reporters when asked about his meal selection.

Pulling a $20 bill from his pocket, Christie paid the $15.29 tab for himself and Rauner, who ordered a jumbo hot dog “with everything” and a chocolate cake shake. Christie appeared to take his change; tipping isn’t typical at Portillo’s.

In reality, many politicians don’t actually eat what they order in front of the cameras, although Christie did appear to be enjoying his vanilla shake when he stepped up to the cameras.

More than food, money was on the table today for Christie and Rauner, who is trying to defeat Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn in the adopted state of President Barack Obama. Christie headlined a series of fundraisers in Chicago for the RGA, Rauner and Florida Gov. Rick Scott.

“Calling it another down payment for what we’re going to do,” Christie said he was bringing with him $2.5 million for the Rauner campaign and pledged to return repeatedly to the state. That brings the total that the RGA has brought to Rauner to $4 million.

Asked about gun control and homicides in Chicago, Christie quickly turned the question into an attack on Quinn.

“Governor Quinn has had four years to address the issue of crime in Illinois and he’s been AWOL on that issue,” he said.

Christie also criticized Obama’s handling of the wave of unaccompanied and undocumented minors along the U.S. southern border.

“The fact that the federal government is withholding this information from the governors of the states where they’re placing these children is outrageous,” he said. “We don’t need to know the identity of every child, if they have privacy concerns, but we know that they’re moving folks into our state.”

When one woman at the restaurant encouraged Christie to run for president, he had little hesitation in giving an answer. “I’m thinking about it,” he said with a smile.

Last week, Christie spent an entire day in Iowa, the state that will host the first nomination voting in early 2016. He made multiple appearances and raised money for the RGA, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad and others, banking potential favors for the future.

When Christie ran into a group at the restaurant from Queens in New York, he teased his neighbors.

“Don’t wreck the place while you are here,” he told them. “Guys from New York are trouble.”

Christie’s visit to Chicago follows one yesterday by Michelle Obama, who headlined a fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee where she told donors to “write the biggest, fattest check that you can possibly write.”

The first lady also promised to vote for Quinn (she and the president have cast absentee ballots in Illinois since moving to Washington) and urged the audience to “make sure he gets over the finish line.”

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