Mr. Obama Comes to Chicago

We can only dream

Barack Obama and his family are returning to Chicago today for a four-day weekend that also marks his first time home since becoming president.

News reports say he will play some basketball, share a Valentine's Day dinner with Michelle, and generally keep things low-key.

During the time between his election in November and his inauguration in January, Obama stayed in his Kenwood home and kept a predictable routine: gym in the early morning hours, breakfast with his family, then work at his office.  Obama aides said they expected a similar agenda this trip, which is expected to last until Monday.

Here's what we wish he'd do while back home, but we're not holding our breath.


- Meet with Gov. Pat Quinn and make clear that he's responsible for how federal stimulus money gets spent in the state, even if Richard M. Daley says otherwise.

- Meet with state legislative leaders and tell them he supports changing the law to fill all vacancies of elected offices with special elections instead of appointments - including on the Chicago City Council.


- Meet with Daley and tell him that from now on the president expects him to comply with the law as well as the spirit of the new administration and comply with the Freedom of Information Act.

- Threaten to make public the mayor's super-secret stimulus wish list unless he does it first.


- After meeting with the mayor, hold a press conference announcing that we just can't afford to host the 2016 Olympics. Say something like, "I called for sacrifice in my campaign, and this is sacrifice." In turn, offer federal money to help fund the infrastructure improvements that were being planned anyway.

- Meet with Pat Quinn's chief of staff as well as social service officials from Chicago to determine the most immediate needs for our most vulnerable citizens. Promise to spend that money first once the stimulus bill is signed.


- Call Todd Stroger and tell him he was given a great privilege by a dirty system to hold the job he has now, and that he has a responsibility to do better or get out.

- Hold a press conference praising the formation of the Illinois Reform Commission and challenge Illinois to become a model to the nation. Offer federal funding and support to help make it happen. Then challenge other states to do even better.

- Fly back to Washington feeling pretty good.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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