President Obama Hosts Early Illinois Supporters at White House Party | NBC Chicago
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President Obama Hosts Early Illinois Supporters at White House Party

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    The farewell parties at the White House have officially begun. On Friday night, President and Mrs. Obama hosted a reception at the White House for Illinois supporters who were among the first to support his 2008 campaign for president.

    A source at the event told Ward Room that about 250 people attended the private gathering and it was "a great group of Chicago and Springfield people."

    President Obama flew back to Washington from Israel on Friday, returning to the White House just in time after attending the funeral of former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres that morning.

    In a moment captured on video, the president was seen acting rather impatient, encouraging former President Bill Clinton to hurry to board Air Force One, calling out, "Bill, let's go. Let's go home." 

    The guest list for Friday night's party included former Senate President Emil Jones, who was considered instrumental in Obama's rise from the state senate to the U.S. Senate, along with former Republican State Senator Kirk Dillard.

    Back in 2007, Dillard was featured in a television ad campaign for Obama, highlighting the then-junior senator's support from both parties. That same ad later played a negative role in Dillard's failed GOP primary campaign for governor.

    Also in attendance at the White House were Aldermen Joe Moore and Leslie Hairston, as well as congressional leaders from the Chicago area and other staffers. One notable absence was Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who did not partake in the festivities. 

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