Amy Chozick of the Wall Street Journal pulled "protective pool" duty in Chicago on Saturday afternoon and evening, picking up on the Obama beat after he flew home to Chicago from Washington, where he appeared before the National Association of Latino Elected Officials. Chozick takes us through Obama's afternoon and evening, and we learn that Obama, a member of the East Bank Club, also has a place to work out closer to home.
The Obamas dined at Spiaggia on North Michigan Avenue and Chozick, with an eye towards fashion, said that Michelle Obama "looks slammin’ in a black cocktail dress with a severe slit down the back. Her hair was up."
For the pool report, click below
The Wall Street Journal.
No news. Lots of sitting around.
The inaugural day of the protective pool continued in Chicago. The pool rode in the motorcade from Midway Airport to Obama’s home and followed him to the gym, back to his house, to dinner with Michelle at an Italian restaurant and back to his house.
Here’s a rundown of the day (note: some of the times are estimates):
3:30pm Obama arrives at his Hyde Park home, a two-story redbrick house on a tree lined street with historic houses. His kids played in the sprinklers in the front yard. The candidate went inside to change clothes to go to the gym. The pool sat across the street and waited on a wall, later discovered to be covered in fire ants. There is a synagogue across the street from his house.
3:50pm Obama leaves his house and heads to the gym. He works out for over an hour at the apartment building of his former bodyman (Mike Signator). It’s a high-rise apartment called Regent Park overlooking the lake. Obama walked into the back of the building wearing black sweat pants, a gray tee-shirt and a black baseball cap.
5:30pm Obama arrives back at his house. The pool goes to Starbucks.
6:30pm Pool returns to the Obama house and waits for him and Michelle to emerge. Plain-clothed secret service agents lingered all around the house very conspicuously pretending to be “regular” people. The outline of a gun in someone’s cargo pants was a giveaway.
7:10pm Barack and Michelle Obama head to a downtown Italian restaurant called Spiaggia. The “Taste of Chicago” festival is going on and traffic is a mess. Entire pool wonders why they chose a chic restaurant in downtown Chicago if they don’t want anyone to see them.
7:48pm They arrive at the restaurant. Obama walks in a few feet ahead of Michelle who looks slammin’ in a black cocktail dress with a severe slit down the back. Her hair was up.
Spiaggia is a high-end Italian restaurant, “Chicago’s only four-star Italian restaurant” according to reviews. Meals start at $50. The restaurant has been nominated by the James Beard foundation for Outstanding Restaurant Awards (which, unbeknownst to your pooler, is apparently a big deal). Here’s a description of the interior from the restaurant website (your pooler was not allowed inside): “exquisite, tiered dining room, rich with soft neutrals and subtly contrasting textures. Towering 40-foot windows overlook the corner of Oak Street and Michigan Avenue.”
For the next almost 2.5 hours the pool lingered in and around the bus parked outside the restaurant.
10:15pm Obama leaves out the back of the restaurant, away from our view. Pool follows him back to his house through traffic and attention on Michigan Avenue. There are fireworks going on over the lake, just coincidentally, as the motorcade passes.
10:35pm: Obama and Michelle arrive back home.
Agent verifies that he is going to bed and will not leave the house again. The pool heads back to the Westin Hotel.