Tag Archives: Obama

Obama to deliver first post-presidency speech in Chicago

CHICAGO (AP) — Former President Barack Obama is set to hold the first public event of his post-presidential life in the place where he started his political career.

Obama will speak Monday at the University of Chicago, where his presidential library is planned.

College students from around the Chicago area are expected to attend. The invitation-only event is being billed as part of his post-presidency goal to “encourage and support the next generation of leaders.”

Obama delivered his presidential farewell speech in Chicago in January.

His first public engagement since then comes as President Donald Trump nears his 100-day mark in office.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Cubs Visit White House

By Jennifer Keiper, WLS-AM 890

(WASHINGTON) The World Series Champion Cubs visited the White House Monday.

“Even I was not crazy enough to suggest that, during these eight years, we would see the Cubs win the World Series but I did say that there has never been anything false about hope,” said President Obama.

Surrounded by the team, President Obama -a White Sox fan- says the drought hasn’t been as long for HIM because there he had the ’85 Bears, the Bulls run, the Blackhawks and, “The White Sox did win eleven years ago with Ozzie and Konerko, and Buehrle.  So, I can’t claim that I have the same just visceral joy of some in this White House but FLOTUS (First Lady of the United States) is a lifelong Cubs fan.”

The President says for the first time in 8 years , the First Lady she made it a priority to greet a winning team at the White House before heading out to another event on Monday.

The President has been given a Cubs Jersey, a “W” flag and a lifetime pass to Wrigley Field.

@2017 WLS-AM News


Obama says goodbye

By Kevin Liptak, CNN White House Producer

Popular but politically humbled, President Barack Obama says goodbye to the nation Tuesday night in a dramatic reinterpretation of a presidential farewell address.

Hoping to capitalize on a well of goodwill that’s expanded in the final year of his tenure, Obama has discarded the staid Oval Office or East Room for his last formal set of remarks. Instead, he’ll travel to Chicago, the city where he declared victory in 2008 and 2012, to address a sold-out crowd of ardent supporters.

The moment, conceived months ago, is meant to recall the most iconic moments of Obama’s historic tenure, ones rooted in the “hope and change” message that carried the first African-American to the White House.
As he departs office leaving scores of progressive policies in place, there’s ample evidence of change. But for his backers, the “hope” aspect of that original mantra is diminished by the prospects of Donald Trump’s presidency.

On Tuesday, Obama aims to revive the spirits of progressives who he’d hoped to rally behind Hillary Clinton. Though his speech won’t be policy-oriented or carry any direct contrasts with Trump, his message will offer a “hopeful” vision for the future, according to administration officials.

Obama in his speech wants to cast a “forward-looking” vision for a country, those officials say, insisting his message won’t be directed solely at his successor. Planned declarations that the nation benefits from diversity and fairness, however, will surely be regarded as admonitions to the future commander in chief.

“The President is primarily delivering a message to the American people, all Americans, whether they voted for President Obama or not,” said White House spokesman Josh Earnest on Monday. “The President feels an obligation to talk about what he’s learned of the last eight years, what he’s learned about the country, what he’s learned about governing the country, and offer up his advice to the American people about the most effective way to confront the challenges that we see ahead.”

Obama’s speech is the capstone of a months-long farewell tour, manifested in extended magazine interviews, lengthy television sit-downs, and the White House’s own efforts to document the President’s waning administration.

Through it all, Obama has sought to highlight the achievements of his presidency using statistics showing the country better off now than eight years ago. He’s offered a rational view of Trump’s election and rarely lets on to any apprehension about his future as an ex-president.

First lady Michelle Obama has offered a more candid view in a scaled-back version of her own farewell. She sat for an hour-long interview with Oprah Winfrey, frankly admitting that Democrats were now “feeling what not having hope feels like.”

And she became emotional during her final set of formal remarks at the White House Friday, her voice quaking and eyes welling with tears as she told a crowd of educators: “I hope I made you proud.”
The first lady’s subdued but deeply felt departure stands in sharp contrast to the President’s own farewell speech Tuesday. Upwards of 20,000 people are expected to view the address at McCormick Place, the largest convention center in North America where Obama declared victory over Mitt Romney in 2012.

Obama has been planning his speech for months, aides said, formulating the broad themes while on vacation over the holidays in Hawaii and developing drafts starting last week.

He told aides months ago that he preferred to deliver his farewell address in his hometown, a first for a departing President. George W. Bush, unpopular and facing a financial crisis, delivered his final prime-time address in the White House East Room to a crowd of 200 supporters and aides.

Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter all used the Oval Office — a setting Obama has long spurned for formal remarks. George H.W. Bush traveled outside of Washington to West Point for a departing address after failing to secure a second term, though he didn’t actually bill it as a farewell.

The tradition extends back to George Washington, who issued warnings against unchecked power and partisan entrenchment in a written address to the nation in 1796.

Like major addresses in the past, Obama is writing his speech himself, dictating passages to his chief speechwriter Cody Keenan who puts the President’s words into print. Obama returns the drafts with heavy annotations, writing his changes in a tightly compressed scrawl on the margins.

Aides expected the drafting process to extend into Tuesday before Obama departs for Chicago in the afternoon.

When he returns to Washington in the early morning hours of Wednesday, it’s expected to be Obama’s final flight aboard Air Force One. He’ll use the presidential aircraft on Inauguration Day to depart Washington. But with only a former president aboard, it’s known simply as “Special Air Mission 28000.”

The-CNN-Wire ™ & © 2017 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

Obamacare signups increase in Illinois

By John Dempsey, WLS-AM 890 News

(CHICAGO) President-elect Donald Trump and congressional Republicans have vowed to get rid of Obamacare, but that is not stopping people from continuing to sign up for health care through the Affordable Care Act’s online exchanges.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says the number of Illinois residents who signed up for health insurance this year was 247,818, compared to
232,750 who signed up for coverage last year.

Nationally 6.4 million consumers signed up for coverage which is about 400,000 more than last year.

Trump’s election has raised questions about the future of the law, which he has promised to repeal and replace. However some Trump and Republicans say they may decide to keep popular components of the law, which allow young people to stay on their parent’s plans until age 26, and that bar insurance companies from refusing applicants because of pre-existing conditions.

They Finally Took Away Donald Trump’s Twitter Account

Barack Obama over the weekend asserted that “Now, if somebody can’t handle a Twitter account, they can’t handle the nuclear codes. If somebody starts tweeting at three in the morning because “SNL” made fun of you, then you can’t handle the nuclear codes.”

With just two days left in our collective national hell, the Trump campaign is in its final push to do… something. After all, Trump doesn’t have any pollsters since the campaign refused to pay them. And he barely has the support of his own favorite daughter. Now, though, Trump’s lost perhaps the only thing he’s ever truly loved: His precious, precious tweets.

Source: They Finally Took Away Donald Trump’s Twitter Account

Malia Obama Takes A “Gap Year”

Everyone’s talking about Malia Obama’s decision take a year off before going to Harvard. More and more students around the country, including some here in Chicago are choosing the same path. Chicago Tribune columnist Rex Huppke wrote a column about the issue and ended up getting a lot of flak, ironically enough from more left-leaning readers. He joins John to talk about the Great Gap Year debate in America in 2016.

Obamas close to selecting architects for presidential center

(WASHINGTON) President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle’s selection of an architect for their Obama Center in Chicago now is only weeks away, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned, with the first couple reviewing design proposals on Sunday.

The Obamas and key staffers from their Obama Foundation spent most of the afternoon in downtown Washington considering the proposals from architectural firms in the running to design a museum, library and foundation offices on Chicago’s South Side.

Marty Nesbitt, chairman of the Obama Foundation; Robbin Cohen, the executive director; and Roark Frankel, the real estate specialist who is the foundation director of planning and construction were at the meeting, the Sun-Times confirmed with a foundation official.

The Obamas already met in person with the seven lead architects who are finalists for the coveted commission.

The White House said in a statement only that the president and first lady are “meeting with foundation staff to review architecture and design proposals for the Obama Presidential Center.”

The Sunday session was to take a closer look at the ideas and concepts presented to the Obamas, who almost one year ago, on May 12, 2015, announced the South Side of Chicago as the future home of the center.

Still to be determined is whether the center will be located in Jackson Park or Washington Park. Before deciding, the foundation and the Obamas want input from the architect and specialists who have been conducting economic studies relating to the two sites.

Last September, the foundation said 140 architecture firms submitted responses to its “Request for Qualifications,” a mix of about three dozen elite “starchitects” invited to compete, and others who read the RFQ on the foundation website and sent in proposals on the gamble they could make the cut. The list got chopped to about 30, and the seven finalists were announced last December.

The only Chicago firm in the contest is John Ronan Architects. The others are Adjaye Associates, London; Renzo Piano Building Workshop, Genoa, Italy; and from New York, Diller Scofidio + Renfro; SHoP Architects, Snøhetta and Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects.

— Chicago Sun-Times

Renegade state legislator facing challenger with Obama support

(CHICAGO) On a crisp morning, a bundled-up Juliana Stratton went door to door in the South Shore neighborhood, making her pitch for why voters should pick her over incumbent Rep. Ken Dunkin in Illinois’ 5th House District — a race that some observers say could affect the balance of power in Springfield, the Sun-Times is reporting.

When someone opened the door, Stratton, a Democrat, introduced herself and stuck to the same, brief message.

“It’s a really important race,” said Stratton, a lawyer and former senior policy adviser to Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. “My opponent has missed some really important votes that are devastating our communities.”

Stratton, director of the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Center for Public Safety and Justice, said almost nothing about herself. There was probably no need. For most of the campaign, this pivotal House race has been about Dunkin — the renegade Democrat who has defied House Speaker Michael Madigan on two key votes and cozied up to Republicans, taking a $500,000 donation from a Republican-linked group. “Sellout” and “opportunist” are among the more polite words Dunkin’s detractors have used to describe him in recent weeks.

Political observers say Dunkin and Stratton are merely bit players in a larger war between Gov. Bruce Rauner and Madigan. A Stratton win, they say, is vital for Madigan to ensure a veto-proof majority.

For his part, Dunkin says he did what voters fed-up with the Springfield gridlock wanted — he stepped across the aisle, helping pave the way for Rauner compromises that restored funding for programs benefiting the state’s most vulnerable citizens.

“This is probably going to be a referendum for or against Dunkin,” said Dick Simpson, a professor of political science at UIC and a former city alderman. “Stratton makes a good candidate on her own, but it is probably a referendum on Dunkin and him opposing Madigan.”

That was before Monday, when President Barack Obama took the unusual step for a sitting president of making an endorsement in a state legislative primary race — backing Stratton. Now voters have a reason to vote for the challenger, said Constance Mixon, an associate professor of political science at Elmhurst College.

Mixon says Obama’s endorsement could be a game changer, particularly among African-American voters who fondly remember the president from his days as a South Side state senator.

“His getting involved in this election is unprecedented, and it can make a difference,” Mixon said.

Adding to Dunkin’s problems, Mixon said, are allegations that surfaced last week of possible voter fraud. Secretary of State Jesse White and Ald. Pat Dowell [3rd] — both Stratton backers — held a news conference, accusing Dunkin of buying early votes in the battle to keep his seat. The Cook County state’s attorney’s office is looking into the matter. A spokesman for Dunkin has called the allegations “baseless accusations.”

Dunkin was a low-profile state legislator in a narrow district that runs from the Near North Side to the South Side’s Grand Crossing neighborhood. Then last year, he skipped two key votes — putting him at odds with Madigan and his fellow Democrats. Last month, Dunkin’s political campaign also received what may be the largest single Illinois legislative primary donation on record — $500,000 from a conservative group.

To those saying he’s a sell-out, Dunkin, who is African-American, said he’s rightly rebelling against Madigan, who he has compared to a slave owner.

“The Mike Madigan mentality of his plantation politics is real,” Dunkin told the Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board in February.

Dunkin did not respond to several requests for an interview for this story.

Dunkin’s flair for the dramatic backfired spectacularly about a month ago, when Obama addressed the General Assembly in Springfield. When the president began speaking about the importance of bi-partisanship, Dunkin stood up and clapped, presumably suggesting Obama was speaking about him. Obama told Dunkin to sit down, and howls of laughter filled the chamber.

Stratton said voters are taking note of Dunkin’s behavior.

“What I’m hearing is that they are very concerned about his new alliance with … Rauner,” Stratton said. “When they see how much money that Rep. Dunkin received from Republican sources, they are really concerned about whether they can trust him to make decisions in their best interest.”

But money is also pouring into Stratton’s campaign — mostly from unions.

“The thing they can’t make as an argument is that I’m receiving money from Republican sources,” Stratton said. “The money I’m receiving to help me run a successful campaign is from fellow Democrats.”

In addition to the Obama endorsement, Stratton’s has the support of a number of high-profile Democrats, including Preckwinkle and Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis. Stratton said she’s getting union help on the ground and in making phone calls to potential voters. A Madigan spokesman said last week that the speaker isn’t involved in the campaign.

Even so, Stratton is taking on an opponent who won more than 80 percent of the vote in 2014. That’s why in early march, dressed in a full-length puffy coat and a woolen hat, she was going door to door — hitting a block in the South Shore neighborhood she’d walked twice before during the campaign.

“Any time you’re running against an incumbent, it’s an uphill battle,” Stratton said. “People know the name of the incumbent, whether he or she has provided good representation or not. So that’s what I’m coming up against.”

Sen. Kirk: Ignoring Gaps Threatens Our Security

Sen. Mark Kirk joins Lauren Cohn and Bill Cameron in studio.

By U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL)

After the recent terrorist attacks carried out by ISIS in Paris, I called on President Barack Obama to suspend our nation’s Syrian refugee program until officials can guarantee 100 percent that ISIS terrorists cannot enter the U.S. by posing as refugees. Given the facts, the need for a pause to protect national security is obvious.MORE

President Obama: “There is Evil in the World.”

By Jennifer Keiper, WLS News

(CHICAGO) During a Tuesday stop in Chicago, President Obama addresses the International Association of Chiefs of Police telling them that they often get scapegoated for the broader failures of society and the criminal justice system.

He says an effort has to be made to go after racial disparities at the root and that giving teenagers summer jobs is cheaper than locking them up for years.

“I live on the South Side of Chicago.  So, my house is pretty close to some places where shootings take place.  Because that’s real, we’ve got to get on top of it before it becomes an accelerating trend and that’s why I’ve asked my outstanding Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, a former prosecutor, to work aggressively with law enforcement,” said President Obama.

While discussing federal gun control proposals, President Obama, tells the law enforcement crowd that he chose to focus on three things, “First, making sure you’ve got the resources you need to get the job done.  Second, criminal justice reforms that will make the system smarter and fair, and third, reducing the risk your officers face in the field with common sense gun safety reforms.”

The President says word of irresponsible actions by police quickly spreads but many cases of effective police work rarely make it on the evening news.  He has also urged the audience not to believe claims that he’s out to take away everybody’s guns.  He says he wants to make sure that criminals don’t get them.

He tells the audience at Chicago’s McCormick Place that, “We can’t stop every crime.  There is evil in the world.”

The President will take part in a roundtable discussion and attend a fundraiser before leaving Chicago Wednesday morning.

@ 2015 WLS News


Speculation Ends: Presidential Library Will Be Located In Chicago

(Chicago) President Obama is ending the speculation, and officially announcing that his Presidential library will be located in Chicago.

The President and his wife Michelle made the announcement this morning in an online video.

Obama says, “With a library and a foundation on the South Side of Chicago, not only will we be able to encourage and affect change locally, but what we can also do is to attract the world to Chicago”.

The President, who was born in Hawaii, first came to Chicago in the 1980’s and worked as a community organizer. He referenced those years in the video, saying, “All the strands of my life came together, and I really became a man, when I moved to Chicago. That’s where I was able to apply that early idealism, to try to work in communities, in public service. That’s where I met my wife, that’s where my children were born, and the people there, the community, the lessons that I learned, they’re all based right in this few square miles where we’ll be able to now give something back and bring the world back home after this incredible journey”.

Michelle Obama, who was born and raised on the South Side, said “I’m thrilled to be able to put this resource in the heart of the neighborhood that means the world to me. Every value, every memory, every important relationship to me exists in Chicago. I consider myself a South Sider.”

The Obamas are still not disclosing whether the library will be in Washington Park or in Jackson Park.

The Illinois Legislature recently passed a bill designed to thwart a lawsuit that would try to block the library from locating on either site.

Copyright WLS News

Mayor Emanuel picks up endorsement of President Obama

(Chicago)  In the race for mayor, Mayor Emanuel has picked up the endorsement of his old boss, President Obama.

It would be news if President Obama did not endorse Rahm but in a new ad he does try to disarm the notion that Rahm alienates people. 

“Let’s be honest.  At times the guy can be a little hard-headed, but there’s a reason Rahm fights as hard as he does.  He loves our city.”

But challenger Chuy Garcia is arguing no surprise here, “What does it mean?  It doesn’t mean a whole lot.  I would expect the president to be loyal to a former employee.  I think all of us would do that.”

Garcia picked up the endorsement of the Independent Voters of Illinois, Independent Precinct Organization.  

Bill Cameron, 89 WLS News

Prosecutors will not call Obama friend Eric Whitaker to the stand

(Chicago)  Federal prosecutors said Tuesday they will not call one of President Barack Obama’s closest friends, Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, before a jury hearing a multimillion dollar grand-fraud case because of “baseless accusations” they say Whitaker leveled the day before, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

The government “is not going to call Dr. Whitaker as a witness,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy A. Bass told Judge Richard Mills, who ruled Monday that Whitaker would have been a “hostile witness” had prosecutors decided to call him. “I’ve so advised counsel for the defendants.”

Bass grilled Whitaker for more than two hours Monday before Mills without jurors present. Prosecutors had sought to declare him “hostile” because he stopped cooperating with them in 2012 after they asked him if he’d had a “personal relationship” with his former chief of staff, Quin Golden — and also because they’d learned he’d frequently communicated with the main defendant in their case, Chicago businessman Leon Dingle Jr.

Dingle, 77, is accused of conspiring with his wife, Karin Dingle, 75, to steal more than $3 million in no-bid state grants and contracts that began flowing when Whitaker headed the Illinois Department of Public Health between 2003 and 2007.

The 49-year-old Chicago physician became combative with Bass at the end of the hearing, suggesting racial bias was behind a wave of fraud cases brought by the Justice Department in the Central District of Illinois. Nine of the 10 people charged in those cases are black.

“Almost everybody who’s been indicted or scrutinized has been African American,” Whitaker said, also saying he’s against “selective” investigations.

“Personally, I’m upset about this process and how I’ve been made to look like I’m on trial,” Whitaker later said.

Without going into detail, Bass said Tuesday the government would not call Whitaker as a witness because of the “baseless accusations” Whitaker made in his testimony. “I’ll leave it at that,” Bass also said.

Instead, prosecutors plan to introduce photographs, emails and other evidence involving Whitaker into the trial.

It’s unclear if Dingle’s lead defense lawyer, Edward M. Genson, would call Whitaker as a defense witness. Genson’s co-counsel, Blarie Dalton, had revealed in an Oct. 1 pretrial hearing that Whitaker had “answered every single question posed to him by the government other than the question of whether or not he had, in fact, this sexual relationship with Quin Golden.”

Prosecutors on Monday didn’t ask that question of Whitaker, who with his wife and family often vacation with the Obamas. The closest they got was asking Whitaker if his relationship with Golden was “more than professional.”

“That’s fair to say,” Whitaker replied, not elaborating.


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