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Rauner embraces Pence, calls him one of the ‘greatest leaders in American history’

ROSEMONT, Ill. — As Vice President Mike Pence appeared at a hotel near O'Hare to talk up President Trump's accomplishments Friday, he was joined by Gov. Bruce Rauner in a rare but strong public embrace of the administration.

"Mike Pence along with President Trump are doing it for every America right. We are transforming the economy," Rauner said.

The Republican governor usually goes out of his way to avoid commenting on President Trump, but with the election only months away, he praised him and his vice president during an introduction Friday.

"One of the greatest public servants in America today, one of the greatest public servants, greatest leaders in American history: Vice President Mike Pence," Rauner said.

Pence returned the admiration, applauding Rauner’s work taking on unions and fighting for tax relief.

"Your governor has been fighting to unshackle job creators and revitalize the economy here in Illinois, and people across the country are taking notice," Pence said.

Not everyone sat and listened, as a handful of protesters interrupted the vice president. Congressman Adam Kinzinger attended Pence’s speech, but Roskam skipped it. Roskam’s office said he needed to stay in Washington for votes. A protester stood up and taunted Roskam for not showing up.

In addition to the scene inside, there were protests outside as local unions and the new executive director of the Illinois Democratic Party, Christian Mitchell, gathered outside the Westin O’Hare. Pence acknowledged the people who interrupted him, saying they had every right to make their voices heard.

Pence, who hails from neighboring Indiana, came to town to give local Republicans a boost. He headlined a fundraiser for Congressman Peter Roskam and others. Roskam also skipped the fundraiser.

The Republican congressman was influential in drafting the tax overhaul measure. His challenger this November for the 6th congressional district is Democrat Sean Casten, who blasted the cost of a ticket to the fundraiser. The highest was reportedly $25,000 per couple. Media were not allowed in.