While in Chicago on Thursday, Hillary Clinton shrugged off Donald Trump’s effort to inject her husband’s sex scandals into their presidential battle.
She was in town for two fundraisers, which yielded $4 million in campaign cash.
Trump is raising former President Clinton’s infidelities and impeachment on the stump. He may take the risk to bring it up when he debates Clinton for the second time on Oct. 9 at Washington University in St. Louis.
Clinton flew to Chicago after campaigning in the battleground state of Iowa, where early voting started on Thursday. While Illinois is not in presidential play, Chicago is an important source of campaign cash for Clinton, who was born in Edgewater Hospital and raised in north suburban Park Ridge.
Clinton came home for two fundraisers — an event with about 650 at the Hyatt Regency Chicago and another with about 30 on the Near North Side.
Clinton spoke for about 45 minutes at the Hyatt, where there was a panel with former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson Jr., a Republican who has endorsed her candidacy, and Austan Goolsbee, a former top economic adviser to President Barack Obama.
Clinton was introduced by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan.
Clinton did not mention Mayor Rahm Emanuel, whose own political woes and unpopularity in Chicago have precluded him from taking an active public role in her campaign. Emanuel is close to Bill Clinton.
Another fundraising event, with 30 donors, was at the Gold Coast home of Rishi Shah, the CEO of ContextMedia, with the tab starting at $50,000-per-plate up to $150,000 to co-host.
The other hosts were Shradha Agarwal, the president of ContextMedia; Glen Tullman the former CEO of Allscripts; and J.B. Pritzker, the managing partner of the Pritzker Group. Pritzker and his wife, M.K., are major “bundlers” for Clinton, using their networks to raise millions of dollars for her presidential bid.
Each event brought in $2 million, making a $4 million total one-day haul for Clinton, a source told the Chicago Sun-Times. The funds from the Shah event will be used for the ground game in battleground states.
Trump hit south suburban Bolingbrook on Wednesday for a fundraiser, taking in $1.5 million, a source told the Chicago Sun-Times.
As Trump and Clinton are looking for the swing state votes of educated suburban women, Trump is focusing more on Bill Clinton’s affairs that led to his impeachment in the House on Dec. 19, 1998, and his acquittal after a Senate trial on Feb. 12, 1999.
The thrice-married Trump has been increasingly more vocal about Bill Clinton’s cheating — stories that played out very publically in the 1990s, culminating with Monica Lewinsky and the second time in U.S. history a president was impeached.
After the first debate Monday night at Hofstra University in New York, Trump said in a Spin Room interview that he was “very happy that I held back on the indiscretions of Bill Clinton” but may not in the next debate.
In New Hampshire on Thursday, Trump told a NECN reporter that the reason he didn’t “go there” at Hofstra was because Chelsea Clinton was in the audience.
Talking to reporters on her campaign plane at Midway Airport before heading downtown, Clinton was asked about Trump making the contest “personal” by bringing up the past.
“He can run his campaign however he chooses. That’s up to him. I’m going to keep talking about the stakes in this election,” she said.
A few minutes later, Clinton was asked if she had “any obligation” to speak out about “a spouse’s indiscretion.”
“No,” she said.
In New Hampshire, Trump talked about the Clintons’ “sordid past” and how his presidency would be a “bright” and “clean” future. Asked if she wanted to reply, she said “No,” with a laugh.
“He can say whatever he wants to say, as we well know,” she said. “We’ve seen it in real time the last many months.”
FOOTNOTE: On Thursday, the Trump campaign threw a spotlight on Chicago business executive Raj Fernando, a mega-donor to the Clinton Foundation and major fundraiser for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
While Clinton was secretary of State, Fernando was appointed to the State Department International Security Advisory Board in 2011, quitting the panel after one meeting when ABC News raised questions about his qualifications.
In June, Trump slammed Clinton for the Fernando appointment, and on Thursday the Trump campaign sent out a memo about Fernando, part of Trump’s new “follow the money” line of attacks against Clinton.