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Michelle Obama on why the Obamas don't make it home: Just tell Chicago, 'nothing personal.' It's kids"

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WASHINGTON--First Lady Michelle Obama does not want Chicago to take it personally that she has only been home once in the last year since her husband was sworn in as president last Jan. 22.

"Just tell Chicago, 'nothing personal.' It's kids," said Mrs. Obama, who turns 46 on Sunday.


The entire Obama family returned to their Kenwood home only once in 2009, on Valentines Day; causing she noted, some disruption. The return of the First Family closed down south Lake Shore Drive for their motorcade and security officials restricted access to the streets surrounding their house. President Obama swung by their home on Greenwood one time when he came to Chicago for a speech.

Mrs. Obama, a native South Sider, made her remarks about not visiting Chicago as much as Obama had anticipated during a wide ranging interview with seven reporters at a round table organized to discuss her first year and her plans for 2010, including taking the lead in an Obama administration drive to combat childhood obesity.

Mrs. Obama commented to the group sitting around a long dining room table in the White House Old Family Dining Room decorated two arrangements of magenta and pink flowers, roses and peonies. She was wearing over the knee brown Jimmy Choo boots and was sporting a shorter hair-do, the evidence of a bit of a haircut. A butler was standing by a table to coffee, cranberry juice and orange juice, with an assortment of cookies, scones, and cakes.

Then President-elect Obama said in December, 2008 that he expected to get back home "as often as possible, My expectation would be that, depending on what my schedule looks like, you know, we're going to try to get back here at least once every six weeks or couple of months."

I asked Mrs. Obama why the trips home never materialized. She said it all had to so with the busy schedules of Malia, 11 and Sasha, 8.


"Kids, because on Saturday there is ballet and Sasha did basketball last fall and there were games on Saturday, and then when basketball season was over, soccer season started for Malia, games were on Saturday, and then birthday parties and sleep overs and people visiting you. So, to find a weekend; 'where, you know, you go to the kids and go, 'you want to go to Chicago,'' she said, just never happened.

"...And before you know it its winter and 'we're not going now," she said. "January's out.."

She explained more about not making it to Chicago. "Its really life and the fact that the kids have built a life here and that's good and right now I want to encourage that life and not keep pulling them out. So its less our schedules than them Who's got kids? They dictate the weekend.'''

She does miss her Chicago life--shopping at the Target and Dominick's along Roosevelt Road.

7 Comments

Shopping at Target and Dominick's? Oh please! She wears Jimmy Choo shoes and boots!

This is what passes for ``though Chicago journalism?'' Your reporter writes like a shoe-shine lady for the Obamas.

Personally, I did not expect the First Family to come back to Chicago. With all of the things going on in the country and world, I would rather President Obama stay in D.C. and problem solve. However, with the unemployment rate so high in his home state of Illinois I thought Illinois would do better. Besides we also have the Senate Majority Whip, Senator Dick Durbin, in our corner. And look what they both brought us, Tomson Prison and the Gitmo Detainees.

We could use more companies with good paying jobs in Illinois. Since that is not happening, I can understand why the First Family doesn't want to come home again.

Riiight! She is wearing Jimmy Choo boots, going to Camp David for weekends when she is not across the ocean somewhere, and she misses her shopping at the Target and Dominicks!!!! How stupid do you guys think we are...........

This article was really a waste of time. The Obama family do not have to justify to anyone why they do not go back to Chicago. He is trying to run a country and she has her life and also the girls and making sure her Mother is doing ok. I can see why Mrs. Obama may miss her less visible life...but that is life which I don't think she can ever reclaim.

Oh My GOODNESS! Lynn, your readers have to be the most hateful people in the world. Now I do not agree wtih everything Pres. Obama has done BUT i can't find fault with his wife. She has been an EXCELLENT first lady.
I mean her girls are SO well behaved! One of the cable news shows did a segment on the children of public fiqueres and Supreme Court Justices had unruly kids, and Senators had obnoxious kids, but the Obama girls were just lovey!
Michelle Obama is such a class act! I love her.

I'm SO relieved, though, that the Obamas could make the time to vacation in Hawaii over Christmas. Nothing beats renting a luxury mansion, plus snagging two others for family and friends, in the dead of winter in a tropical paradise. In the midst of a record-breaking recession. Funded by lowly taxpayers.

Ronald Reagan and Nancy usually stayed at the White House during Christmas holidays to permit the Secret Service and much of the staff to spend time with THEIR families. Class act over the Obamas.

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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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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on January 13, 2010 1:44 PM.

Michelle Obama says State Dinner party crashers are "footnote" to a "phenomenal dinner" was the previous entry in this blog.

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