Chicago Sun-Times
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Obama attends daughter Malia's soccer game in Chicago; few notice. Pool report.


Barack Obama returned to Chicago on Friday night, where he worked out and then headed to a soccer game where daughter Malia was playing. Here's the pool report from Geoff Earle of the New York Post:

In what could be counted as a good omen for the Democratic nominee, daughter Malia Obama's red jersey team won their youth soccer game tonight.

Malia's father quietly strode onto the field at 8:15 wearing a dark jacket and blue hat after his workout. None of the other parents or kids seemed to notice him. The game was underway, and Michelle Obama was there.

Obama chatted with another man while watching his daughter's team play against another team wearing yellow jerseys. The field was in the area of the University of Illinois at Chicago campus, which technically connects your pooler to infamous faculty member Bill Ayers.

There was also another team playing on an adjacent field. The games took place under bright floodlights on a chilly night, with the Sears Tower overlooking in the background.

At one point Obama took a break from the game to have a brief footrace with younger daughter Sasha.

The pool couldn't see much of the action from a distance, but after about half an hour the kids in red jerseys all started jumping up and down and cheering. One kid in yellow looked pretty distraught. We don't have an official score, but a player on the red team said it was 1-0.

Motorcade left at 8:45 pm, arriving back at the Obama residence a bit after 9.

We have a lid.


I'm a soccer grandma and I appreciate how much a game can mean. Best of luck to Malia and her team. I'll be rooting for you as well as my granddaughers.

It seems odd, almost surreal, that everyone treated him normally. I'm not sure I could have resisted going up to him and at least shooting the breeze, if not asking questions.

Brandon - Based on the degree of parental involvement that has been reported for Obama, I would guess that the other parents have already seen quite a bit of him over the years, so his being at this event wasn't anything special for them.

Now if he were to show up at my granddaughter's soccer game I'm sure the response would be very different!

I went to the grocery store today, how come that didn't make the Sun Times?

I think that it is awesome that he didn't try to have a camerea momnet at the game. He and Michelle are awesome parents!

For all the talk I've heard of values and family values in American politics...well just look at it right here. And it's not part of a stump speech (I always found that disgusting) it's just real.

Chicago is an exceedingly polite city. We don't stalk; we don't interrupt dinners for autographs; and we understand that a person's time with her/his family is sacred. We just practice common sense, midwestern courtesy.

I want to commend the Obama's for not using their beautiful daughters as political props. As a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, I find it terrible that Palin must parade her children out all the time at rallys. They should be kept as far away from their mother's dirty campaign as possible!

I am glad that the parents keep the focus on the children where it belongs - not Obama. I hope this continues in order for Malia and Sasha to have a normal childhood.

When I read of moments like this or see the interaction between Obama and his family, I have great difficulty figuring how anyone can believe the garbage thrown around that tries to suggest that Obama is some great, dangerous devil. By all accounts, he's sort of a boring Dad and husband who just happens to have an extraordinarily intellectual capacity and a drive to lead our nation in the direction that he says he does. Sure, some great villains have been "good" fathers, but Obama's entire, gentle way of interacting with his family and raising his daughters to read and appreciate the bible just seems hard to reconcile with any screaming diatribes with no backing evidence that he's "un-American". That doesn't fly.

" None of the other parents or kids seemed to notice him." I find it hard to believe his Secret Service detail wasn't noticable. But its nice to see he gets the chance to be a normal dad every once in a while. Enjoy it while you can! I'm so proud that America might elect a black man with a funny name, who has the ideas and charisma to quite literally change global opinion of the USA.

What a contrast to John McCain, whom Cindy has said was most often away..even when she suffered a miscarriage...Obama's committment to his family and family values stand in stark contrast to John McCain and his past behaviors..As someone, grandmother, mother..aunt. I am very interested in family values, and a comparison of the family history of these two the reason I am supporting and voting for Obama!


McCain and the NeoCons = Divisive, hypocritical politics of greed

Deal with it!

I am a soccer grandma and love that the focus for Barack and Michelle Obama is on what their kids are doing and not capitalizing on being a "soccer dad" for the sake of votes. The Obama's are truly the American family who want the best for their children and other children, like my grandson, across the country. They are the family we need in the White House...let's get the vote out everyone!!

Can you believe all that "anti American activity" going on over there at that sporting event, which was actually an underground, subversive socialist gathering to redistribut the wealth, after we find any wealth anywhere in this country....?

I think it would be neat if each of us start signing our names with the middle name "Hussein" until November 5!

TJ Hussein

The irony here is that the true family values shown by this won't be seen by those who most need to see it — because any attempt to show it would destroy it. Whereas Palin trotting her kids out at rallies is both the worst possible and most visible display of family so-called values.

A President or Vice President is still a member of a family. The low key moments in going to his daughter's game and playing with Sasha as well are part of why Senator Obama inspires hope and potential for amazing leadership. Michelle will keep Obama grounded as President. Barack's mother and grandparents grounded him initially and he is still mindful of his Grandmother's admonitions not to get cocky or arrogant.
People don't essentially change their character. The person Senator Obama is, as a leader of our country, is naturally reflected in his personal life, as husband and father as well.
That is true character.

From Kenya, via Kansas to the White House in one generation... now there's an act of God.

Might even be one of those "miracles".

Good luck Obama!

Funny that the Clintons managed to raise a smart, intelligent, beautiful girl without any issues. The Obamas have shown what doting parents they are as well.

And these are the "bad liberals" that the right is constantly warning us about. What is wrong with that pic?

SO glad that the Obamas' daughters are being immersed in "the beautiful game!" Soccer is THE international sport - it unites people all over the world - just as Barack & Michelle Obama work so hard to do every single day. No surprise then that Obama has had a "hat trick" this week: record-crowd of 100,000 in St. Louis MO; General Colin Powell's endorsement; and McCain/Palin bombing out on primetime TV.... Looking toward November 4th: "GOOOOOOOOAAAALLLLLLL!"

Hope he'll have a lot more time to attend his kids games when he loses in 2 weeks :)

Good to see he got to see his kids play...

For those that find it hard to believe there wasn't more interruptions and questions of Obama, the media pool has been covering him at his girls' soccer games for some time. Because he's there on a pretty regular basis. There was a hilarious video from the pool disseminated some months ago (still during the Democratic primaries) of Michelle and Barack in the usual folding cloth soccer chairs, he starts to use his blackberry and Michelle poking him to put it away. Yep, Mom is making it real clear "this is focus on the kids time--I don't care how 'urgent' the heading on that email looks!" Looks like a pretty together family to me. Both from what they display (and also what they don't show--like parading the kids a lot), they seem like a very good set of parents dealing with a tricky situation.

Also, FWIW, there was a nice B&W shot of Obama 6-8 months ago, waiting behind stage to speak in some high school. And as he waits, he's practicing with a soccer. And, speaking as a former coach, using proper technique too I might add!

I'm glad he went relatively unnoticed. That means he pretty much is a regular guy, just like us. McCain would have been there with his blingy wife causing a stir.

I would much rather have a man that can relate to me and my situation running this country, than a guy who is so out of touch that he doesnt' even notice that a recession is going on, much less how to handle it.

When Republican VP Candidate Sarah Palin was asked about economic problems, she said that if she needs to know what's going on she listens to the Soccer Moms at a game. I wondered what happened if the game was called, as on account of rain. Then her mind is a blank? Well--Here is the Democratic Presidential candidate who not only knows what Soccer Moms are thinking, he is right there as a Soccer Dad, and on his own, he knows what is going on in our country as well as in the world. Obama's daughter plays on the same team as my grandson Devonte. My son Larry was there to see the game. He said that Obama was cheering the team like all the other folks. With so few days left until the election, Obama still took the time to spend with his family, and be there to root for his children--that's the kind of person this whole world needs now. Go Obama!

As someone above noted, the paradox is that the very people who would most benefit from this event being publicised cannot see it, for if it were publicised, it would be ruined. Its very private nature is what makes it so special.

I am what conservatives would call an "extreme" liberal, and Senator Obama is far too moderate in his policies to satisfy me... but as a human being and as a candidate and, I hope with all my heart, soon to be as a President, I am completely satisfied that he is and will be exactly what this country and the world needs and craves. He is superbly intelligent, obviously humane and inherently decent and kind, instinctively drawn to other intelligent people with credentials and excellent ideas; this man is our best hope for a better future.

I hope I have enough humility and modesty to admit that for all my ardent liberal, left wing ideals and ideas, I cannot claim sole ownership of "being right." I cede ground this year to the Senator from Illinois and his transformational visions: pray he knows more than I and many, many others, and that we may all see his visions come to pass.


That is what im talking about obama support your girls dont be like bush jr.

why is obamas daughter playing soccer in chicago
should she not be on a team i n washington
and how are they getting back and forth for practice and games
are we paying for that also
should that be considered personal

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on October 18, 2008 12:21 AM.

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