Obama’s Homecoming

Obama started off his 2012 presidential campaign in Chicago Thursday evening, by saying “It’s good to be home.”

Obama arrived in Chicago shortly after 5 p.m. in Chicago. He is scheduled to make two stops, one at N9NE and MK Restaurants, before heading to Navy Pier–where over 2,300 are awaiting his arrival.

At the first event, Obama was joined by current Mayor Richard M. Daley, Mayor-elect Rahm Emmanuel, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.

Obama spoke for about 20 minutes. He started off by speaking about some of the people he knew in the room, singling out Emanuel for special treatment. “Yes, he is foul-mouthed, yes that finger thing is a little creepy, but I love him anyway,” Obama said of his ex-chief of staff.
He then started speaking of what inspired him to get into the 2008 campaign and then a long list of his accomplishments while in office: the health care bill, the stimulus, don’t ask don’t tell, and putting two women on the Supreme Court.

Then, he went into what he described as the challenges remaining. “We’ve still got 100,000 troops in Afghanistan,” he said. He added, “We still need an energy policy that doesn’t make us vulnerable to whatever spikes in the world oil market that might occur.”

He never said I’m running for president, but did note that in 2012, “your candidate is a little older and a little grayer.”

Tickets for events tonight ranged from $100 to the legal maximum of $38,500 for Obama’s Victory Fund, a joint account between the Obama Campaign fund and the DNC, said Democratic National Committee spokesman Hari Sevugan.

The event at Navy Pier is put on by Gen 44, a group of young Obama supporters. David Solo took the stage at about 8:30 p.m., about an hour before Obama’s scheduled arrival and got the crowd cheering, saying, “Tonight is the first night that a native Chicagoan, a fellow South Sider, a White Sox fan, is President Barack Obama.”

Notable attendees at Navy Pier will include Bulls star Derrick Rose, Pittsburgh Steeler and former University of Illinois player Rashard Mendenhall and Mr. Cub, Ernie Banks. Even Grammy Award-winner Colbie Caillat is scheduled to perform. Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel also is scheduled to be attend.

*Image via AP Photo