Welcome Home, Mr. President - NBC Chicago

Welcome Home, Mr. President

Visit includes birthday dinner, three fundraisers, tour of Ford plant



    What do you give the leader of the free world for his birthday? Chicagoans young and old wrap up their ideas. (Published Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2010)

    After spending just about an hour or two at his Chicago-area home, President Obama's motorcade left the South Side and headed toward River North.

    The president, in town for his 49th birthday, a series of fundraisers, and a tour of Chicago's Ford plant, dined at Graham Elliot's restaurant on Huron Street.

    Air Force One landed at O'Hare International Airport at about 5 p.m. Wednesday. 

    Gov. Pat Quinn, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, Rep. Jan Schakowski and Rep. Mike Quigley were all on the tarmac to greet President Obama, who is home to celebrate his 49th birthday, attend fundraisers and tour Chicago's Ford plant.

    Obama will spend the night in his own house in the city's Kenwood neighborhood.  A large contingent of Chicago police officers are standing guard near the home near 50th Street and Greenwood Avenue.

    First Lady Michelle Obama has taken their youngest daughter, Sasha, to Spain. Their other daughter, Malia, is away at summer

    The president received phone calls with birthday wishes from all three of his ladies, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters aboard Air Force One during the trip to Chicago.

    Gibbs said the president received a special gift from his Secret Service detail but would not divulge what it was, saying it simply was "a heartfelt gift."

    Asked if the president would come back to the press cabin during the flight, Gibbs quipped "he's busy playing cards."

    Earlier in the day, during remarks at a meeting of the AFL-CIO's governing executive council, Obama joked that he was disappointed
    that there wasn't a cake.

    "I'm going to have to talk to Secret Service,'' Obama said. Then, casting a glance toward the agents, he said teasingly,  "They're probably eating it right now."

    His schedule Thursday includes three fundraisers and a tour of the Ford Plant on the city's South Side. One of the fundraisers is for Illinois Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, who is running for the president's former U.S. Senate seat.

    The president was last in Chicago over the Memorial Day weekend.  This is his fifth visit to Chicago since he took office in January 2009.