Barack Obama: November 2008 Archives

President-elect Barack Obama is a foodie; Saturday night he dined, with wife Michelle and pal Marty Nesbitt at the celebrated nouvelle Mexican Frontera Grill (founded by chef Rick Bayless) at 445 N. Clark Street. Obama on Sunday made two trips to Regents Park; he's been working out at the gym there; maybe doing some other meetings at the apartment of one of his other buddies, unless he's now gone to twice-a-day exercise.

WASHINGTON--President-elect Barack Obama unveils his national security team Monday morning at a press conference--his fifth since his election--in Chicago, with the highlight expected to be the appointment of former rival Hillary Rodham Clinton as Secretary of State.

Below is a statement by President-elect Barack Obama

"Michelle and I send our deepest condolences to the loved ones of the American citizens who lost their lives in the outrageous terrorist attacks in Mumbai. Our thoughts and prayers are with them, and with all who have been touched by this terrible tragedy.

"These terrorists who targeted innocent civilians will not defeat India's great democracy, nor shake the will of a global coalition to defeat them. The United States must stand with India and all nations and people who are committed to destroying terrorist networks, and defeating their hate-filled ideology.

"There is one president at a time. I will continue to closely monitor the situation on the ground in Mumbai, and am grateful for the cooperation of the Bush Administration in keeping me and my staff updated. We fully support the Bush Administration's efforts to protect American citizens and assist the government of India during this tragic time," said President-elect Obama.


By Abdon Pallasch
Sun-Times Political Writer

CHICAGO--President-elect Barack Obama and his family spent an hour handing out chickens, potatoes, bread and other Thanksgiving food to poor families on Chicago's South Side Wednesday morning after Obama introduced his latest economic advisors. Then he shook hands with Catholic grade school students ecstatic to see him.

Many of the poor and homeless -- some of whom come for food every Wednesday -- screamed in disbelief as they entered the parking lot of St. Columbanus church at 71st and Calumet Drive and realized the reason they had been wanded by the U.S. Secret Service was because Obama, his wife and daughters, were standing there ready to pass out the food usually handed out by volunteers.

112608obamapress1.JPG (Photos by Jean Lachat/Sun-Times)



Transcript courtesy Federal News Service

President-elect Barack Obama will introduce more of his economic team Wednesday morning at a Chicago press conference, his third in three days. Watch for the appointment of Obama's National Security team--holdover Defense Sec. Robert Gates and Secretary of State-designate Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton--next week, with a press conference likely on Monday.

WASHINGTON--First Lady Laura Bush talks to ABC News Robin Roberts about life in the White House and the briefing she gave to Michelle Obama-- even covering closet space-- and other items about living in the executive mansion. Bush talks about how the Bush family works with the White House chefs to order food for the family and how her adult twins--Jenna and Barbara--did a bit of bed jumping when they gave a tour of the living quarters to Malia and Sasha Obama.

click below for transcripts

WASHINGTON -- President-elect Barack Obama picked prominent Chicagoans -- all prolific fund-raisers -- to co-chair his Presidential Inaugural Committee.

The committee -- nicknamed the PIC -- will limit individual donations to $50,000 and will not -- in contrast to other PICs -- accept money from corporations, political action committees, current federally-registered lobbyists, non-U.S. citizens or registered foreign agents. There are no legal limits to contributions, which in the past have soared to $250,000.

The PIC fund-raising is separate from Obama fund-raising for his presidential transition team, with $5,000 caps.

The PIC co-chairs are Penny Pritzker, chair of Obama's presidential finance committee; John Rogers, the Illinois finance co-chair during the campaign; William Daley, the former commerce secretary; business executive and Republican Patrick Ryan, the Chicago insurance magnate who can tap donors the others can't. Joining them is Julianna Smoot, who was Obama's campaign chief fund-raiser.

On the drawing boards is a massive inauguration event on the National Mall. The PIC launched a campaign-style social networking web site, A person signing up for e-mail alerts on the inauguration is automatically channeled to a page encouraging them to get their friends to also sign up. The separate transition operation is also running a web operation based on the presidential campaign.

WASHINGTON--The Obama inauguration will feature a massive celebration on the National Mall, the newly formed Presidential Inaugural Committee announced on Tuesday.

The committee--nicknamed the PIC--will not accept corporate money and will limit individual donation to $50,000. The PIC co-chairs who will have the major fund-raising responsibilities are Chicagoans: Penny Pritzker, chair of Obama's presidential finance committee; John Rogers, the Illinois finance co-chair; William Daley, the former Commerce Secretary; business executive and Republican Patrick Ryan. Joining them is Julianna Smoot, who was Obama's campaign chief fund-raiser.

The Mall event--designed to provide a low cost, accessible venue for the possibly millions of people who will come here for the Jan. 20 inauguration--will be created along the lines of other mega Obama events at Invesco Field in Denver, Grant Park in Chicago and in Berlin, near the Brandenburg Gate.

Transcript courtesy Federal News Service

WASHINGTON--Chicagoans Penny Pritzker, John Rogers and William Daley will be among the Obama inauguration co-chairs, with the Presidential Inauguration Committee headquarters up and running in southwest Washington. Fund-raising calls have already started for the Jan. 20 event expected to draw millions to the city. I reported last week that Daley would be a co-chair. The official roll out will start on Tuesday.

The PIC staff is settling in offices at 3rd and C Southwest. Campaign director of advance Emmett Beliveau will run the operation; press spokesmen include Josh Earnest and Linda Douglass. Beliveau directed advance during the campaign; Earnest and Douglass were spokesmen.

Transcript courtesy Federal News Service

President-elect Barack Obama took six questions at his press conference in Chicago where he unveiled his economic team:

Obama's six

Associated Press
Wall Street Journal
Washington Post

Dow at 311 at the start of President-elect Barack Obama's press conference in Chicago where he is unveiling his economic team.

An Obama press spokesman said Monday morning that Chicago business executive Desiree Rogers will be named White House social secretary. The Washington Post's Lois Romano has a full story.

1. Present: Allstate Financial in the role of President of Social Networking.

2. In 1997, Rogers joined Peoples and was elected president of the company in 2004. During her tenure, she led the integration of Peoples and North Shore Gas into the $7 billion Integrys Energy Group in 2006.

3. Rogers served as Director of the Illinois Lottery.

4. Business boards: Rogers serves on the Board of Directors of Allstate Life Insurance Company, Equity Residential and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois.

5. Civic boards: Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees for both Lincoln Park Zoo and the Museum of Science and Industry, and is a member of the Commercial Club of Chicago.

Over the past few years, Rogers was named one of the "Top 25 Women to Watch" by Crain's Chicago Business (2007) and one of the "Top 50 Most Powerful African American Business [WOMEN]" (2007), and one of the "Top 75 Most Powerful Blacks in Corporate America" by Black Enterprise. Rogers earned a master of business administration from Harvard University and a bachelor of arts in political science from Wellesley College.

Monday, President-elect Barack Obama unveils his economic team. On Sunday, he played hoops and worked out.


Pool report 1

At 9 am POTUS elect Obama traveled in a black SUV to the gym at Regents Park
condos 5020-5050 S Lake Shore Drive. Potus elect was not visible to pool.
Weather in Chicago this morning is bright, sunny, and cold.

Jim Kimberly
Chicago Tribune

Pool report 2

At 10:20 POTUS-elect Obama left gym and returned home.

Pool report 3

At 2:45 POTUS-elect Obama went to the university of Chicago Lab School to play

The weather in Chicago remains sunny and bright. It is about 41 degrees.

Pool report 4

For the basketball game, which was not vicinle to the pool, POTUS-elect wore
gray sweatpants with a stripe along the leg, white sneakers, a black jacket and
the weather worn Sox hat.

The University of Chicago Lab School is in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood. The
school is a stone building with Gothic architecture. It looks very much like a
cathedral. The grounds are surrounded by wrought iron fencing. A team of what
appeard to be secret service agents entered through a different door.
There was a family (asporard to be grandparents, a mother and at least 1 child)
at the playground equipment when the POTUS-elect arrived.

On the street outside the school, another family (two adult men and an adult
woman) had a flat tire on their Toyota sedan. The family seemed startled when
the presidential caravan rolled up. But it turned out to be to their benefit.
Secret service agents assisted with the tire change.

By 4 PM, the sun had dipped below the horizon. POTUS-elect Obama left the gym at
4:20 and went to a home in 7400 block of Euclid Ave.

Pool report 5

POTUS-elect Obama arrived at 4:30 and entered home at 7436 Euclid Avenue in the
Southshore neighborhood.

Neighbor Rev. Robert Woodridge said the well maintained brick bungalow belongs
to Michelle Obama's aunt.

"This is where she grew up," Woodridge said.

Woodridge did not live here when Michelle Obama lived here, he said.

Pool report 6

POTUS-elect Obama left the home at 5 PM and returned home.

President-elect Barack Obama and wife Michelle partied Saturday night first at the Lincoln Park home of Penny Pritzker and then the motorcade zoomed back to Kenwood for festivities at the home of Marty Nesbitt. Pritzker was Obama's finance chair and Nesbitt was the treasurer of Obama's presidential campaign. Pritzker and Nesbitt are also in business together; Nesbitt is the president and CEO of The Parking Spot and Pritzker is chairman of the board. Here are the pool reports from my Chicago Sun-Times colleague Abdon Pallasch.
--Lynn Sweet

Obama's Saturday, minute by minute

Pool Report 1
Saturday, Nov. 22
No news.
The 6 a.m. call time allowed poolers to glimpse the pre-dawn red sky above Lake Michigan as the press bus rolled down Lake Shore Drive toward President-elect Obama's house in Hyde Park/Kenwod.
At 9:02 a.m., Obama's SUV pulled out of his driveway bound for the Regents Park apartment complex where his friend and periodic campaign employee Mike Signator lives and where Obama worked out at the gym for 78 minutes from 9:07 to 10:25.
The temperature in the WIndy City is a colder-early-than -usual 27 degrees but Obama was presumably only outside long enough to go from door to car (the line of sight to the building's entrance is now blocked for security purposes) and only his White Sox capped head was visible in the SUV.
His SUV pulled back onto his home street by 10:30 and we are holding nearby.

Abdon M. Pallasch
Chicago Sun-Times

Pool Report #2

After more than 7 hours at home, Obama's SUV pulled out at 5:48. He and his wife arrived at his friend and national finance chair Penny Pritzker's home for dinner at 6:26.

There was a slight delay as the motorcade made a wrong turn and stopped at a fire house a few blocks from Pritzker's house to figure the best way to get to the house.

Abdon M. Pallasch
Chicago Sun-Times

Pool #3

Still holding outside the Pritzkers'.

What's the vibe in this neighborhood that has a lot of high-priced homes such as the Pritzker's very large, very modern home with adjacent yard with art structures?

A neighbor across the street yelled at a secret service agent parked in her driveway, "Excuse me! You have to leave our driveway! I have to go to the Opera!"

To clarify the stop at the fire station: The motorcade found itself at the wrong end of Pritzker's one-way street and the driver wanted the least disruptive path to bring the multi-car motorcade around to the Pritzkers' home, an Obama press aide said.

A photographer captured the president-elect smiling broadly as he sat in the SUV in the fire station lot.

Abdon M. Pallasch
Political Reporter
Chicago Sun-Times

Pool #4

The Obamas left the Pritzker home at 8:53 p.m. Michelle Obama proceeded directly to the SUV while the president-elect walked over and shook hands with a dozen mostly teen or younger fans who had gathered outside to cheer him on.

Obama carried a hard-cover book on Abraham Lincoln. Both Obamas wore winter coats.

The Obamas are making their second social call of the night -- at the home of friend Marty Nesbitt.

Final Pool

The Lincoln book was Lincoln: The Biography of a Writer by Fred Kaplan.

The Pritzker home is in the Lincoln Park neighborhood.

The Obamas arrived at the Nesbitt home just blocks from their own at 9:17 and stayed until 11:18.

In the interim, a neighbor asked the press pool bus to pull forward as the bus was blocking the man from pulling his car into his driveway. The neighbor appeared annoyed about having to get out of his car into the 27-degree night air to have to ask the bus to move. The bus driver quickly obliged.

The Obamas' SUV pulled onto their block at 11:20 p.m. and a lid was declared.

Abdon M. Pallasch

Pool Report 1
Abdon Pallasch
Chicago Sun-Times.
Saturday, Nov. 22
No news.
The 6 a.m. call time allowed poolers to glimpse the pre-dawn red sky above Lake Michigan as the press bus rolled down Lake Shore Drive toward President-elect Obama's house in Hyde Park/Kenwood.

At 9:02 a.m., Obama's SUV pulled out of his driveway bound for the Regents Park apartment complex where his friend and periodic campaign employee Mike Signator lives and where Obama worked out at the gym for 78 minutes from 9:07 to 10:25.

The temperature in the WIndy City is a colder-early-than -usual 27 degrees but Obama was presumably only outside long enough to go from door to car (the line of sight to the building's entrance is now blocked for security purposes) and only his White Sox capped head was visible in the SUV.
His SUV pulled back onto his home street by 10:30 and we are holding nearby.

By Abdon Pallasch
Chicago Sun-Times

CHICAGO--President-elect Barack Obama and Valerie Jarrett, a transition co-chair made a surprise visit to Manny's Deli on the near South Side today and delighted a lunchtime crowd of clapping well-wishers.

He got three corned beef sandwiches, three potato pancakes and two slices of cherry pie to go and shook hands with diners -- as he and many other Chicago politicians have over the years.

Asked what he ordered, Obama answered, "We got the corned beef." His order was to go, not eat in. Manny's on Jefferson near Roosevelt is a favorite of Obama strategist David Axelrod and incoming chief of staff Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) and Obama.

Asked about the auto industry, Obama smiled and repeated, "We got the corned beef."

Obama paid $48.34 cash and left.

Obama had left his Hyde Park home in his motorcade around 7:30 a.m. today for his morning workout at Regents Park.

On the way back to the his home, some people waiting at stop lights honked their horns as the motorcade went by.

President-elect recorded a promo for the Chicago 2016 Olympic Committee. The vice chair of the 2016 committee is Valerie Jarrett, incoming White House senior advisor.

WASHINGTON--The Obama team will start announcing details about the Jan. 20 inauguration in the upcoming days. I hear Bill Daley is likely to be one of the Inauguration Committee co-chairs. Daley, the former Commerce Secretary, is also a part of the Obama transition team.

The Obama crew will need to raise millions of dollars to bankroll the festivities. I hear the goal is to strike a balance in the celebration--not over the top opulent because of the horrible economy--but some decent parties to show the world the U.S. is not in a depression. Watch for major Obama presidential campaign bundlers to swing into action to raise inauguration cash.

: Pool report #1 - 11/21/08
President-elect Obama left his Hyde Park home in his motorcade at 7:29am. He arrived at Regents Park apartment building at 7:35am for his morning workout. He left Regents at 8:33 am and arrived back home to change clothes at 8:38 am.

Pool was too far away to see him, and not many people were out on the streets on the way to Regents. A few of theose who were stopped and watched the motorcade go by.
On the way back to the president-elect's home some people waiting at stop lights honked their horns as the motorcade went by.

The president-elect is expected to next head to transition headquarters where he will be for an hour or so before leaving to make a local stop. No details yet about the nature of the stop, but the president-elect is expected to spend 20 minutes to a half hour there.

Carol Lee

WASHINGTON--Penny Pritzker, in the mix to be President-elect Barack Obama's Commerce Secretary, just sent me an e-mail saying she is not a candidate for the post. Pritzker is a member of the Obama transition operation and chaired his finance committee. Money she helped raise from major donors in the first quarter of the campaign was crucial to establishing Obama as a viable presidential candidate.

Pritzker said in her e-mail, "Speculation has grown that I am a candidate for Secretary of Commerce. I am not. I think I can best serve our nation in my current capacity: building businesses, creating jobs and working to strengthen our economy. It has been my great privilege to serve in the Obama campaign. I look forward to helping our new President in every way possible and am excited about the future under his leadership." Penny Pritzker, Chair, TransUnion"

WASHINGTON--For all those asking official inaugural balls have been announced; the Obama team has not made public inauguration plans yet....coming soon..Click here for info on the Illinois State Society Inaugural gala.

WASHINGTON--Chicago business executive Penny Pritzker, the finance chair for President-elect Obama's presidental campaign--who lined up the big donors early on crucial to making his bid viable--is under consideration for Commerce Secretary. Pritzker, a Chicagoan who is a billionaire member of the family that controls Hyatt Hotels and other assets, would have to extricate herself from her business ties in order to join the administration. She is already part of Obama's transition team. The post requires Senate confirmation; Pritzker's Superior Bank collapse could be an issue.

Penny Pritzker working the phone on Election Day at Obama big donor headquarters at the Hyatt on Wacker Drive in Chicago. (photo by Lynn Sweet)

WASHINGTON--Happy Birthday to Vice President-elect Joe Biden, 66 today.

Meeting with President-elect Barack Obama in Chicago yesterday, Obama at lunch "surprised him yesterday with cupcakes" and "led the staff in singing him happy birthday." according to a guidance memo issued by the transition.

Gifts: a Chicago White Sox hat, a Chicago Bears hat and a bucket of Garrett's popcorn. Real Chicagoans know from Garrett's.

Biden spends today in Delaware and has no public
events scheduled. Obama will hold private meetings in Chicago,
no public events are scheduled.

APB: Incoming Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, who has yet to resign his House seat, will meet with House and Senate GOP leaders to give them the message the White House "will be open be open at all times for them."

By Lynn Sweet
Chicago Sun-Times Columnist

WASHINGTON -- First daughters have transitions, too.

Barbara Bush and fraternal twin sister Jenna Bush Hager, both 26, showed off their White House rooms to the Obama girls, Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, on Tuesday as Michelle Obama brought her kids and mom here to check out schools and their living quarters.

The White House visit lasted about an hour, according to Sally McDonough, a spokesman for the first lady.

A week ago Monday, first lady Laura Bush gave Michelle Obama a tour of the private residence -- the top floors of the White House -- and other rooms in the historic mansion as Michelle visited at least two of the city's elite private schools.

Michelle Obama, her daughters and mother, Marion Robinson, have been in Washington since Sunday night in the unannounced visit. They are getting ready in advance of the Jan. 20 inauguration, when the Obamas actually move into the White House. Robinson will also be relocating to Washington.

There is a certain slice of Washington breathlessly waiting for the Obamas to decide on which private school Malia, in fifth grade, and second-grader Sasha will attend, because the daughters' presence will confer social status on everyone associated with the school, even the ones who have a lot of it now.

WASHINGTON--Mike Isikoff of Newsweek is reporting that Eric Holder Jr. will be tapped by President-elect Barack Obama to be Attorney General. In Chicago, folks might remember Holder as the United States Attorney who successfully pursued corruption charges in 1994 against then Rep. Dan Rostenkowski (D-Ill.). Rostenkowski lost a re-election bid and Republican Michael Flanagan snatched the 5th Congressional District seat for a term with the slot returning to Democratic hands with the election of Rod Blagojevich. Blagojevich went on to run for governor and one Rahm Emanuel succeeded him in the House representing the North Side district. Emanuel is giving up the seat, tapped by Obama to be his incoming White House chief of staff and Blagojevich, as governor, is pondering who to pick to replace Obama in the Senate.

Let the circle be unbroken.....

Picture of Eric Holder, Valerie Jarrett on the stump for Obama at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire last January.

WASHINGTON--President-elect Obama is sending some of his economic team up to Capitol Hill; I'm told they were sent to listen only at this point. One important stop: the House Financial Services Committee, chaired by Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.)

WASHINGTON--The Obama girls, their mom and grandmother are checking out their new home on Tuesday afternoon, visiting the White House residence at the invitation of First Lady Laura Bush.

Last week, Michelle Obama and Laura Bush toured the residence and associated living space while President-elect Obama and President Bush met.

Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7 have been in Washington since Sunday night checking out new schools with their mother. Michelle's mom, Marion Robinson, who will move to Washington with the incoming First Family is also with the family.

Obama spokesman Katie McCormick Lelyveld told me, "The First Lady graciously invited Mrs. Obama, her mother and the girls to visit what will be their new home. Of
course, Mrs. Obama greatly appreciated this invitation to provide an opportunity
for the girls to feel at home and be comfortable in this transition process."

WASHINGTON--Michelle Obama and daughters Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7 have been in Washington since Sunday checking out schools.

The Obama women are returning to Chicago on Tuesday night. Michelle Obama was in Washington last week visiting schools and returned to let the girls see their choices "for their new schools, to make sure they find the right fit. That's the priority," Katie McCormick Lelyveld, the spokesman for the incoming First Lady told me Tuesday.

The Obamas "are looking for the right fit for their kids," she said. Last week, Michelle Obama visted two of the most elite private schools in town--Sidwell Friends and Georgetown Day School. The Quaker run Sidwell has a very rich student body, but is big on not making a big deal on wealth. Georgetown Day--the first school to integrate in the city--is known as more progressive; teachers are called by their first names.

A friend of mine whose child attends Georgetown Day School told me her child saw Malia--and a Secret Service detail-- at the school yesterday. The teachers were told to "look normal" and not treat the Obama's any different, that they just wanted to see the school in its normal state.

The Washington Post "Reliable Source" Tuesday column said the Obama daughters and Michelle spent two hours at Georgetown Day and are expected at Sidwell Friends today. Another private school, Maret, may also be in the running.

Joint statement from President-elect Barack Obama and U.S. Senator John McCain:

"At this defining moment in history, we believe that Americans of all parties want and need their leaders to come together and change the bad habits of Washington so that we can solve the common and urgent challenges of our time. It is in this spirit that we had a productive conversation today about the need to launch a new era of reform where we take on government waste and bitter partisanship in Washington in order to restore trust in government, and bring back prosperity and opportunity for every hardworking American family. We hope to work together in the days and months ahead on critical challenges like solving our financial crisis, creating a new energy economy, and protecting our nation's security."


From: Bazinet, Kenneth
Pool Report 3
Nov. 17, 2008

Your pool swept into the conference room in the Presidential Transition Office on the 38th floor of the Kluczynski Federal Building in downtown Chicago at 11:15 a.m. for the top of the pow wow between President-elect Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

Asked about the goal of the meeting, Mr. Obama said, "We're going to have a good conversation about how we can do some work together to fix up the country, and also to offer thanks to Sen. McCain for the outstanding service he's already rendered."

Sen. McCain was asked whether he would help Mr. Obama with his administration, and he responded, "Obviously."

Your pool tried to get the President-elect to answer a question on the auto industry bail out, but was shouted down by the pool sherpas. Mr. Obama finally said with a smile, "You're incorrigible."

My Chicago Sun-Times colleague Abdon Pallasch quotes President-elect Obama saying the Chicago reporters are tougher than the national press, as ABC-channel 7 political reporter Andy Shaw gets a question in the brief photo op.

By Abdon M. Pallasch

Chicago Sun-Times Political Reporter

CHICAGO--Just 13 days after the election and a month after their last face-to-face debate, President-elect Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain sat down to talk Monday at Obama's Transition headquarters in Chicago.

Off to McCain's right was his close ally, Sen. Lindsey Graham R-S.C. Off to Obama's left was his newly announced chief of staff, Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.)

"The national press is tame compared to the local press," Obama leaned over to McCain and quipped as the press filed in for a 90-second photo shoot.


Obama And The Presidency - 18:25

President-elect Barack Obama speaks with Steve Kroft about his thoughts and goals as our nation's next Commander-in-Chief.

The Personal Transition - 14:58

The Obamas will soon be the youngest first family to move into the White House since the Kennedys nearly 50 years ago. Steve Kroft speaks with Barack and Michelle Obama about their personal transition.

A Father's Promise - 3:56

President-elect Barack Obama spoke with Steve Kroft about a special promise he made 2 years ago to his young daughters.

Valerie Jarrett with daughter Laura on election day, Nov. 4, 2008. Photo by Lynn Sweet

By Lynn Sweet
Sun-Times Washington Bureau Chief

WASHINGTON -- Friday night, President-elect Barack Obama and wife Michelle headed toward Chicago's Gold Coast to attend a birthday party for Valerie Jarrett hosted by another pal, Desiree Rogers. Earlier in the day, she got her gift: In Obama's White House, Jarrett will be a senior adviser and assistant to the president for intergovernment relations and public liaison.

Jarrett, who turned 52 Friday, gets a portfolio that will allow her to advise the Obamas while overseeing the administration's relations with other elected officials, traditional interest groups and the "movement" that Obama nurtured during his presidential campaign and wants to keep alive during his tenure.

In tapping Jarrett -- the official announcement came Saturday -- Obama keeps in the West Wing a close personal friend who played a key role in his presidential campaign and his quick political rise from the Illinois Senate to the presidency in just four years. Currently one of three Obama transition co-chairs, Jarrett will join Rep. Rahm Emanuel, Obama's incoming chief of staff, and David Axelrod, Obama's chief strategist expected to become part of the administration, in making 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. a "Chicago White House."

At the Ritz Carlton in Chicago, Barack and Michelle Obama sat for an interview with CBS' "60 Minutes." The interview will air Sunday.

WASHINGTON--Valerie Jarrett will be a senior advisor and assistant to the President for Inter-government relations and Public Liaison in the Obama White House. I reported in the Thursday Chicago Sun-Times that Jarrett, a confidante of President-elect Obama and wife Michelle, was headed towards a senior White House position.

Jarrett, 52 on Friday, a Hyde Park resident, is a veteran of Chicago's City Hall who went on to become the CEO of The Habitat Company, a major Chicago real estate firm as well as serving on a variety of civic and corporate boards.

She is a co-chair of Obama's transition operation and was a top advisor to Obama during the presidential campaign, a trouble shooter without a specific portfolio.

Joining the campaign while still juggling her Habitat duties, Jarrett functioned as a friend--dining with Obama and other pals before a debate--as a top surrogate for the fund-raising drive--and as an advisor, often with Obama on the campaign plane.

from the Nov. 14, 2008 print Sun-Times...


Chicago Sun-Times Staff Reporters
Lynn Sweet, contributing

Tammy Duckworth's star seems to be fading within Gov. Blagojevich's inner circle as the governor mulls over a potential replacement for President-elect Barack Obama, who formally will step down from his U.S. Senate seat Sunday.

Potential Obama successors who appear to be getting the closest scrutiny from the governor's camp include retiring state Senate President Emil Jones, Rep. Luis Gutierrez and state Attorney General Lisa Madigan.

Bill Ayers on ABC's "Good Morning America"

WASHINGTON--The Obama transition office announced Friday that President-elect Obama will now video the weekly radio address and post it on youtube. The claim made by the transition office is this will make the Obama presidency more transparent. No it won't.

It will make it more visual, more accesible, more user friendly, all good things. And since only a few radio stations actually run the darn thing, putting it on video means that tv news may use more of it. But that's marketing. That's not what government transparency is about.

"No President-elect or President has ever turned the radio address into a multi-media opportunity before," said the transition office statement. Yup, that George Washington was so not with it....

"This is just one of many ways that President-elect Obama will communicate directly with the American people and make the White House and the political process more transparent," the statement went on to say.

WASHINGTON---John McCain meets with President-elect Barack Obama in Chicago on Monday at his Loop transition headquarters in a move towards post-election unity.

"It's well known that they share an important belief that Americans want and deserve a more effective and efficient government, and will discuss ways to work together to make that a reality. They will be joined in the meeting by Senator Lindsey Graham and Congressman Rahm Emanuel," a transition spokesman, Stephanie Cutter, said in a statement.

Emanuel is already on the job as Obama's White House Chief of Staff; earlier in the year, representing Obama, he negotiated the debate deal with Graham, McCain's sidekick.


President-elect Obama held a meeting at Johnson Publishing Co., publishers of Ebony magazine, Thursday afternoon. The office had four blow-ups of Ebony covers featuring Barack Obama and/or Michelle Obama on the cover in their front windows.

Johnson Publishing is just a few blocks south of Obama's transition headquarters. He left HQ at 3:30, spend about a half-hour at Johnson, leaving at 4:07. We just returned to HQ. Obama press aide Samantha Tubman said we can expect to be here for about an hour.

Abdon M. Pallasch
Chicago Sun-Times


[WASHINGTON, DC] - U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today issued the following statement after President-elect Barack Obama announced his decision to resign his Senate seat this weekend.

"No Senator in our history has made such an impact on America in so short a time.

It has been an honor to call Barack Obama my Senate colleague and work closely with him for our state and nation.

Though he will no longer be by my side in the Senate, I will be by his side as he leads our nation forward."


updated 3:37 p.m. Chicago time....

WASHINGTON--President-elect Barack Obama will step down from his U.S. senate seat on Sunday, he said in a statement on Thursday. All political eyes in Illinois are on Gov. Rod Blagojevich to see who he will select to replace Obama for the two years remaining in his term. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) has been the most overt in positioning himself, but other frontrunners include Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) and Illinois Veterans Affairs Chief Tammy Duckworth, who Obama appeared with on Veterans Day. Rep. Danny Davis (D-Ill.) is also interested in the seat.

Blagojevich is under no legal deadline to select an Obama replacement. The governor has to weigh a few factors: whether racial politics play a role, because Obama was the only African-American in the Senate and who has a political and fund-raising network that could help should Blagojevich seek a third term.

It's been a long time since an Illinois governor had this juicy a plum to give away: the last Senate vacancy was in 1969 when Ralph Tyler Smith was selected by then Gov. Richard Ogilvie to fill the slot left vacant by the death of Sen. Everett Dirksen.

"It has been one of the highest honors and privileges of my life to have served the people of Illinois in the United States Senate. In a state that represents the crossroads of a nation, I have met so many men and women who've taken different journeys, but hold common hopes for their children's future.

"It is these Illinois families and their stories that will stay with me as I leave the United States Senate and begin the hard task of fulfilling the simple hopes and common dreams of all Americans as our nation's next President,'" Obama said in a statement.

: Pool report #2
Natasha Korecki
Chicago Sun-Times

President-elect Barack Obama's motorcade left the Regents Park complex after his morning workout at 9:30 a.m. The pool could not see him as he entered his SUV. The motorcade arrived at his home minutes later. Obama stayed at his home for nearly two hours, leaving for his transition office downtown at 11:23 a.m. Obama arrived at the Kluczynski Federal Building in dowtown Chicago at 11:43 a.m. There is now a lid until 2:30 p.m.

WASHINGTON--The Obama campaign had a whole division dedicated to turning out the Jewish vote and highlighting Obama's support for Israel and Jewish causes, fighting back at the rumor mill that portrayed Obama as wobbly. A report out Thursday by the National Jewish Democratic Council pegs the Jewish vote for Obama at 78 per cent.

WASHINGTON -- Barack Obama's transition co-chair Valerie Jarrett is headed toward a senior position in the White House, I've learned, rather than a Cabinet post. Meanwhile, Jarrett Wednesday shut down speculation about replacing Obama in the Senate when she said she's not interested in the seat.

Jarrett holds a unique position in that she is a personal friend as well as adviser to the president-elect and wife Michelle.

She's more valuable to Obama in the White House than in his Cabinet.

At the White House, Jarrett is expected to serve in a similar role as in the campaign, as an Obama counselor and confidante.

Jarrett sent out the word that Gov. Blagojevich, who will appoint Obama's replacement, should not put her on his list.

She told PBS anchor Judy Woodruff, "I'm actually not interested in the Senate position. What I've said to President-elect Obama, you know -- as you know, he's a very dear friend. He knows me well. ... I'm happy to serve my country at the pleasure of the president in any way he deems fit."

Lynn Sweet

Pool report from
Natasha Korecki
Chicago Sun-Times

Subject: Pool report #1

President-elect Barack Obama's motorcade left his Kenwood home at 7:51 a.m. and headed directly to drop off his daughters, Sasha and Malia, at their school -- the University of Chicago Lab school. The motorcade arrived at the school at 8 a.m. The girls exited an SUV but their father did not. Sasha wore a colorful green backpack while Malia was dressed in darker clothes. Obama's motorcade then headed to his normal morning workout at the Regents Park apartments, arriving at 8:08 a.m. The pool could only catch a glimpse of Obama from the back as he entered the building. He wore a dark jogging suit and dark baseball cap.

WASHINGTON---One of the organizing keys of the Obama campaign was to get people to buy in to the "movement" through the telling of your own story. A hallmark of each Obama rally was to get some local person on the podium to "testify" to how they came to find Obama.

"The Story" played a role on the Obama campaign website, where people were asked to share their stories. In another sign the Obama White House is going to keep the political "movement" together, the Obama official government web site, is asking folks once again to share "your story" and "hopes" for the Obama White House, calling the project, "An American Moment: Your Story

"Start right now. Tell us your story in your own words about what this campaign and this election mean to you. Share your hopes for an Obama Administration and a government for the people."

Author Cathleen Falsani--"Sin Boldly" is her latest--talked to Barack Obama about his religion in 2004, when she was the religion writer for the Chicago Sun-Times. Read the transcript of her interview here.

WASHINGTON--There's been some buzz over whether Obama transition co-chair Valerie Jarrett wants to replace Barack Obama in the U.S. Senate. A source tells me that Jarrett is "not interested in a U.S. Senate seat."

Jarrett, who holds a unique position in that she is a personal friend as well as advisor to both the president-elect and wife Michelle, is headed towards a senior position in the Obama White House.

She's more valuable to Obama in the White House than in his cabinet--though as a CEO of a major Chicago real estate firm--and the former board chair of Chicago's public transit agency--she could have filled slots at HUD or DOT.

The Senate appointment will be made by Gov. Blagojevich

WASHINGTON -- President-elect Barack Obama's transition co-chairman John Podesta pledged Tuesday "to make this the most open and transparent transition in history." Meanwhile, let's see if the Obama team provides more than the legal minimum when it comes to details on how private money is being raised to help bankroll the transition operation.

(Sun-Times photos by John H. White)

President-elect Barack Obama visited the Bronze Soldiers Memorial at Soldier Field this morning with Tammy Duckworth at his side.

Duckworth, director of the Department of Veterans Affairs for Illinois, lost both of her legs and partial use of one arm in the Iraq War.
According to pool reports, Obama, wearing a dark overcoat, picked up a wreath and placed it in front of the memorial and carried it a few feet forward, then set it directly in front of the bronze memorial. He then bowed his head for a moment, and saluted before walking away with Duckworth.

WASHINGTON--Mayor Adrian Fenty told me Tuesday he hopes the president-elect and Michelle Obama--and all new District of Columbia residents--give some thought to enrolling their children in public schools.

Fenty commented the day after the school shopping Michelle Obama toured Sidwell Friends and Georgetown Day, elite private schools . The Obama girls, Malia, 10 and Sasha, 7 attend the University of Chicago Lab School, where Michelle serves on the board.

"Our goal is to have DC public schools be as serious an option as any charter or private schools, not just for the Obamas' but for any family making the decision," Fenty said.


click below for report....

WASHINGTON--The Obamas met the Bushes on Monday, taking separate tours of the White House, while Obama communications chief huddled in the West Wing with White House Press Secretary Dana Perino.

The Obamas arrived at the White House near 2 p.m. flying from Chicago on a chartered American Airlines flight. After about a visit lasting less than two hours--as much symbolic as substance--Barack Obama motorcaded back to Reagan National Airport to return to Chicago while Michelle Obama remains in the city.

At the White House, the Obamas were greeted by Rear Admiral Stephen Rochon, the director of the Executive Residence and the Chief Usher. The big shot was of the President and the President-elect walking down the colonade here towards the Oval Office.

While the principles were meeting, White House Press Secretary Dana Perino met for about 40 minutes in her West Wing office always occupied by the chief spokesman. Gibbs is likely to be the next occupant of that office.

After that, the couple split; Obama with Bush, and Michelle with Laura Bush.

In getting ready to be president, Barack Obama said Friday he is consulting with the living former presidents and President Bush, re-reading some of Abraham Lincoln's writings and wrestling with what he kiddingly called a "major issue"-- what kind of dog to buy for his daughters.

A joke he made about Nancy Reagan was followed by a call to the former first lady with an apology, a rare miscue for Obama. Later he mocked himself as a "mutt" while talking about the dog.

Rahm Emanuel, enforcer

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When William Daley was looking for someone to manage his brother's 1989 race for mayor of Chicago, a brash Rahm Emanuel pitched himself for the job.
"I said no," Daley said, going on to select David Wilhelm as campaign manager, who went on to manage Bill Clinton's 1992 White House bid. Instead, Daley offered Emanuel a post as finance chairman for the mayoral campaign, and Emanuel turned him down.

"I said, 'OK, thanks,'" Daley recalled. But Emanuel changed his mind, joined the Daley team and started down a road that Thursday led to President-elect Barack Obama tapping him to be his White House chief of staff, Obama's first appointment.

With Emanuel, Obama gets an enforcer, a bad cop who loves the f-word, with a unique resume no one else in the United States can match: the No. 4 leader in the House; veteran of seven years in the White House during the Clinton administration; a supreme media and political strategist who knows process and policy. He's also a close friend of Obama and David Axelrod, the mastermind who helped propel Obama from a state Senate seat in Chicago to the White House in four years.

CHICAGO--Pending appointments in the Obama administration, subject to last minute changes: Pete Rouse, deputy chief of staff; David Axelrod, senior advisor; Robert Gibbs, press secretary

Below is a statement from President-Elect Barack Obama on the upcoming meeting with President Bush

"Michelle and I look forward to meeting with President Bush and the First Lady on Monday to begin the process of a smooth, effective transition. I thank him for reaching out in the spirit of bipartisanship that will be required to meet the many challenges we face as a nation," said President-Elect Barack Obama.

CHICAGO--Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) has accepted Barack Obama's offer to become his White House chief of staff, a source said on Thursday. A formal announcement is to come. Obama is expected to hold his first press conference as president-elect in Chicago on Friday.

In tapping Emanuel, Obama picked a friend with experience in almost two terms in the Clinton White House and in Congress. Taking the job is a sacrifice for Emanuel, the number four leader in the House on a path to one day perhaps being the Speaker.

Emanuel agonized some over the offer, informally made weeks ago, because among other factors, he did not want to up root his family from their North Side Chicago home.

CHICAGO--The Obama home fronts on one side on a residential street with large single family homes. But the Obama home is exposed to traffic on the busy Hyde Park Blvd. The Obama house also faces a variety a apartment windows on the Hyde Park side.

Pool report from Abdon Pallash, Chicago Sun-Times talks about stepped up security for the president elect, who wrapped up a day of planning for his transition at the office of his friend, John Rogers' Ariel financial founder.

from Pallasch....

After six hours at Ariel, Obama was driven back to his home where a lid was declared at 5:36 p.m.

One other point - Hyde Park Blvd. next to the Obama family home is now closed for a block on either side of the house in addition to Obama's own street being closed off.

From the Obama campaign....

This afternoon, Michelle Obama spoke by phone with First Lady Laura Bush, and discussed the honor and privilege of the role of First Lady. Mrs. Bush offered her congratulations on the election. In addition to wishing her a happy birthday, Mrs. Obama thanked her for the grace and strength she's demonstrated as First Lady, and expressed appreciation for her guidance in the coming months as the Obama family begins their transition. Mrs. Bush extended an invitation for Mrs. Obama and her two daughters to visit the White House in the coming weeks. A date for the visit will be set soon.

CHICAGO--What does a man do on the day he is elected president, transforming politics along the way in a sweeping victory, proving that there are no red states, there are no blue states, but a nation of Obama states?

Somewhere between 1:31 a.m. on Tuesday, when Obama arrived at his Kenwood home from his very last campaign rally in Virginia, and his departure at 7:33 a.m. to vote at Shoesmith Elementary School, 1330 E. 50th, Obama had his last night to sleep, if that is what he did, without the awesome responsibility that comes with the White House.

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If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.

Bill Ayers speaks

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Valerie Jarrett, one of Barack Obama's closest confidants, and her daughter Laura Jarrett spent part of election day with Obama. Here, they are listening to Obama at a union hall in Indianapolis on Tuesday, where Obama helped work the phone banks. They flew to Indiana on the campaign plane with two other close friends of Obama, Marty Nesbitt and Eric Whitaker.(photo by Lynn Sweet)

After voting, near his Kenwood home, Obama flew to Indianapolis on his campaign plane--the last flights for the charter. Obama stopped in at the UAW Local 550 Union Hall in Indianapolis on Tuesday, where Obama volunteers were making get out the vote calls. Obama talked to about ten voters in Indiana, a key battleground state. "We've got to lock down Indiana right her," he said to applause. (photo by Lynn Sweet)

On the tarmac at Midway Airport, after returning to Chicago, Obama pal Marty Nesbitt twirls a basketball while walking from the plane with Eric Whitaker, Valerie Jarrett and her daughter Laura. Nesbitt and Whitaker play basketball with Obama and were intending to hit the court with him later on Election Day. (photo by Lynn Sweet)

Over at the Hyatt Hotel on east Wacker Drive. Obama Finance Chair Penny Pritzker and David Jacobson, deputy finance chair, handled fund-raising chores.
(photo by Lynn Sweet)

Images courtesy of NBC5 Chicago.

CHICAGO--Barack and Michelle Obama voted early Tuesday at the Beulah Shoesmith Elementary School and their daughters, Malia, 10 and Sasha, 7 looked on as their folks filled out their ballots.

"I voted," Obama said when he was done. The Obamas took about 15 minutes to fill out the ballots, time consuming because there were with a number of local contests. At one point Obama and his wife seemed to confer.

(Sun-Times photo by John H. White)

CHICAGO--Storylines collided on Tuesday at the elementary school in the Hyde Park community were Barack Obama votes,

Before Obama came to the Beulah Shoesmith Elementary School two neighbors who figured heavily in his presidential campaign showed up to vote.

Bill Ayers, the former Weather Underground terrorist now respected educator and his wife, Bernardine Dohrn, another former Weather Underground member now running a legal clinic entered the Shoesmith gym shortly after polls opened at 7 a.m.

Ayers and Dohrn left a few minutes before Obama accompanied by his wife, Michelle and daughters Sasha, 7 and Malia, 10 appeared in the gym to cast his ballot.

Manassas, Virginia, Nov. 3, 2008
(photo by Lynn Sweet)

MANASSAS, VA. -A sea of some 90,000 people rallied for Barack Obama in northern Virginia late Monday night, in the last rally of a two year presidential campaign that is poised to vault the Illlinois senator to the White House on Tuesday.

"Even if we're successful tomorrow we will be facing bigger challenges than probably any administration since FDR. But you and I know, you can feel in your gut, something happening here. That it is time together. It is time to look at the future again."

CHARLOTTE, NC--Barack Obama talks about governing challenges ahead with ABC News Ann Compton in an interview on Wednesday

CHARLOTTE, N.C.--Since July, the current Obama campaign plane, the bird with the rising O on the tail, has been the home away from home for staff, journalists and Secret Service agents. Many have nested. The photographers on board have made the cabin of the plane where reporters ride a remarkable record--sometimes irreverent--of the campaign. Newseum, this one's for you.

(photo by Lynn Sweet)

(photo by Lynn Sweet)

Obama 2008.jpg
Barack Obama at rally in Charlotte, North Carolina talking about the death of his grandmother. AP PHOTO

CHARLOTTE, N.C.--The day before the presidential election, Barack Obama
and his half-sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng said Madelyn Dunham, their grandmother passed away after a battle with cancer. Obama traveled to Hawaii to visit with his ailing grandmother on Oct. 23 and 24. The woman Obama called "Toots" died at her Honolulu home near 4 a.m. eastern time. Obama was told near 8 a.m.

The campaign released a statement about Mrs. Dunham's death shortly after his campaign plane touched down in Charlotte, where Obama is en route to a rally, the second to last in his campaign.

Obama lived with maternal grandparents for a time during high school, while his mother remained in Indonesia.

The statement, released jointly from Obama Soetor-Nig said "It is with great sadness that we announce that our grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, has died peacefully after a battle with cancer. She was the cornerstone of our family, and a woman of extraordinary accomplishment, strength, and humility.

"She was the person who encouraged and allowed us to take chances. She was proud of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren and left this world with the knowledge that her impact on all of us was meaningful and enduring. Our debt to her is beyond measure.

Obama in Jacksonville.

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photo by Lynn Sweet

photo by Lynn Sweet

photo by Lynn Sweet

JACKSONVILLE, FL.---If Barack Obama wins the White House on Tuesday, Gov. Blagojevich is mulling appointing a search committee to advise him on who he should appoint as his replacement in the United States Senate, I learned Monday.

I'm told that Blagojevich may host a press conference later this week in Chicago in order to discuss the appointment, the criteria and give some insight into the process to replace Obama, elected to the Senate in 2004.

While Blagojevich will make the final decision who will serve the two years remaining on Obama's term--he would be up for re-election in 2010--the governor is mulling a consultative process.

JACKSONVILLE, FL.--Barack Obama's mission here on Monday morning in this GOP territory is to keep John McCain's margins down so Democratic votes from other parts of Florida can propel him to clinching a state that has narrowly eluded Democrats for the past two elections. McCain campaigned Monday in Tampa on his own marathond last full day of the 2008 presidential contest.

Obama boiled down the almost two-year campaign to one word: "Tomorrow."

Showing more obvious confidence that he will win the White House Tuesday, Obama sent an olive branch to McCain during a speech here: "Now Sen. McCain has served this country honorably and at the end of this long race, I want to congratulate him on the tough race that he has fought."

JACKSONVILLE, FL.--While John McCain told his campaign not to make an issue of Barack Obama's association with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, he could not control GOP allies. Some GOP analysts have said McCain lost an opportunity to hit Obama on a significant vunerability by ruling out using Wright. I saw a spot slamming Obama's relationship with Wright Monday morning on cable here in Florida funded by the National Republica Trust political action committee titled "He never complained once." A Wright ad, bankrolled by another group, is running in Pennsylvania.

click below for script

One day left.

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JACKSONVILLE, FL.--Barack Obama stumps here, Charlotte, N.C. and Manassas, VA. Obama tapes an interview with ESPN to air halftime at the Monday night Redskins-Steelers game.

Michelle Obama is at rallies in Las Vegas and Littleton, Col.

Margaret Talev
McClatchy Newspapers

Pool Report #1 - Jacksonville, Fla.
8:40 a.m. Motorcade departs the Hyatt for a short ride to Gold's Gym. Obama emerges, in a ball cap and black sweats with a white stripe, and heads in to the building. Reggie Love and Eric Whitaker are with him. Perhaps two dozen local workers gather outside their offices by the gym and across the street over the course of the next 45 minutes to await his exit. At 9:25 a.m., he emerges, and those locals cheer and clap. He is smiling wide and waving to all. "Oh, he's so cute!" shouts out one woman in her 20s or 30s who appears to work at the bank a couple doors down from the gym entrance. Then she and her female coworkers start squealing and laughing. No interaction with the pool. Return to hotel 9:28 a.m.

JACKSONVILLE, FL.--Landed here, at hotel, need to plug in gear to recharge laptop, phone, blackberry, camera, sleep, start it all over again in 7.5 hours for the final full day on the trail of the Barack Obama presidential campaign.

Obama rally, University of Cincinnati, Nov. 2, 2008 (photo by Lynn Sweet)

Barack Obama introduces his daughter Sasha, 7, to Bruce Springsteen at a rally in Cleveland, Ohio. AP photo

CLEVELAND, OHIO--Rocker Bruce Springsteen at a rally downtown here Sunday for Barack Obama: "Sen. Obama, help us rebuild our house."

COLUMBUS, OHIO--In 2004, the Kerry-Bush contest came down to Ohio; President Bush won a second term with a win here. On Sunday, Barack Obama is hitting Columbus, Cincinnati and Cleveland as polls show he has a good chance to beat John McCain in this battleground state. Rocker Bruce Springsteen stumps with Obama in Cleveland.

An estimated 60,000 people rally in front of the state house in Columbus, Ohio for Barack Obama. Nov.2, 2008 (photo by Lynn Sweet)

The Obama family--Barack, Michelle, Malia, Sasha-- coming down the stairs from campaign plane on arrival Sunday morning in Columbus. (photo by Lynn Sweet)

Barack Obama displays his "oh you kid" grin after ABC NEWs Jake Tapper shouts a question at him (photo by Lynn Sweet)

From Kathy Kiely, USA Today

Subject: Pool report: arrival in columbus

First broken promise of the Obama administration?

About that Weds presser: Linda Douglass says Sen. Obama didn't mean it
after all. He'll meet the press before the end of the week, she said,
but "don't count on Wednesday."

After Michelle Obama and the kids got into a waiting car, the
irrepressible Jake Tapper tempted the candidate with a juicy substantive
question: "David Petreaus just landed in Pakistan," our colleague
shouted above the jet din. "Do you have a message for him.?"

Obama hesitated for a moment at the door of a car, then flashed an
oh-you-kid grin over his shoulder. He seemed to say something, but our
colleagues with boom mics say it was not even audible to them. Then
Obama ducked into the car.

COLUMBUS, OHIO--At massive rally in front of the state house here--crowd estimate 60,000--Barack Obama offered this on John McCain's schtick on "Saturday Night Live"

"John Mccain was funny yesterday on Saturday Night Live." Obama said.

SPRINGFIELD, MO.--In the last stages of his presidential campaign, Barack Obama has not held a formal press conference (something announced, more than just a chance for the pool to shout questions) for a week and a half. The last one was in Richmond, Va.

Now, with prodding from ABC NEWS' Jake Tapper, Obama said there will be one on Wednesday. That news nugget triggered a blast e-mail from the Republican National Committee with its latest edition of "Audacity Watch"

What happened is this: On the tarmac here Sunday morning, leather jacketed Tapper managed to get the candidate's attention with a shouted question: (Tapper is calling these "Sams" as a tribute to Sam Donaldson.)

ABC News: Senator Obama, what would you tell your Treasury Secretary do differently with the $700 billion?!

Obama: (laughs)

ABC News: It's a substantive question!

Obama: It is! But Jake, we're on a tarmac! That's a pretty good question!

ABC News: Have a press conference then!

Obama: I will! On Wednesday!

Obama walks up the stairs to his plane.

Obama spokesman Linda Douglass said later on the plane en route from Springfield to Columbus, Ohio that the Wednsday mention was merely a "place keeper."

PUEBLO, Colo. -- Vice President Dick Cheney, Barack Obama's politically unpopular distant cousin, handed Obama a gift Saturday by affirming his support for John McCain, while a Kenyan aunt of Obama's turned up in a Boston public housing apartment, living illegally in the U.S.

And foreshadowing what an Obama administration may look like, Obama urged public officials to boycott cable television shows that he contends only foment dissent and look back, not ahead.

"Don't spend all your time bickering, stay off the cable news shows," Obama said.

SPRINGFIELD, MO.--While the Obama entourage--Barack and Michelle Obama, their daughters, campaign staff, travel press-- was awakening in the heart of the Ozark Mountain Country on Sunday, the ad team released a new spot jamming John McCain with Vice President Cheney's tout of the McCain Palin ticket on Saturday.

(This corner of Missouri is usually a GOP stronghold; Obama took the time to stump here to cut down on McCain's margins, making it easier to win this battleground state.)

"I'm delighted to support John McCain and... I'm pleased that he's chosen a running mate with executive talent, toughness and common sense, our next vice president Sarah Palin," Cheney said in Wyoming.

Obama on Saturday in Pueblo, Col. called this an endorsement as it Cheney was for the first time coming out for McCain; perhaps a better way is just to say Cheney was just reaffirming his backing for the GOP ticket.

click below for script

PUEBLO, COL.--Hooking up with his wife, Michelle and daughters, Barack Obama on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon may have sent a lightening bolt to cable talk show bookers: "Stay off the cable news," he said at a rally in the city.

With three days left, Obama returning to a familiar theme, said there is need to get beyond ideology. Then he added something new, jabs at the cable news shows.

"The job of an elected official -- whether it's a President or a council member -- is to solve problems, deliver for the people, don't spend all your time bickering, stay off the cable news shows. You know, and I watch sometime those shows, and I realize, you know, you're arguing about the past, we need to be talking about the future."

HENDERSON, NV.--Barack Obama strategist David Axelrod said California Gov. Arnold Schwarzengger--who said on the stump for John McCain that Obama needs to do something about his skinny legs--should play some hoops with Obama.

"I have to tell you, as someone who could use a little work, that Sen. Obama is pretty fit," Axelrod told reporters here Saturday morning, after an Obama rally.

"Maybe when this is over, we can get Gov. Schwarzenegger on the basketball court and see what he can do," Axelrod said. This was not a challenge. "No, it's just a suggestion."

In Columbus, Ohio, yesterday, where Schwarzenegger, who fame first came as a bodybuilder said of Obama, "He needs to do something about those skinny legs. I'm going to make him do some squats."

"And then we're going to make him do some biceps curls to beef up those scrawny little arms," he said, before comparing the meat on Obama's bones to a lack thereof on his policies.

Three days

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Obama rally, Henderson, Nevada--just outside Las Vegas--Saturday morning Nov. 1, 2008. (photos by Lynn Sweet)

HENDERSON, NV.--Barack Obama hits battleground states Nevada, Colorado and Missouri on Saturday. At rally here, Obama was introduced by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nv.)

What next for David Axelrod?

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(photo by Lynn Sweet)

SARASOTA, Fla. -- "I am a kibitzer with a broad portfolio," David Axelrod is saying. He's kidding, of course, as he underplays his pivotal role in Barack Obama's drive for the White House.

Axelrod has been a part of other White House bids -- Paul Simon in 1988, John Edwards in 2004, even having influence on a "West Wing" presidential contest when writer/producer Eli Attie turned to Axelrod for advice in shaping the Obama-esque Matt Santos character played by Jimmy Smits, elected as the nation's first minority commander in chief.

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Lynn Sweet

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

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Barack Obama category from November 2008.

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