Saturday, November 22, 2008

Obama Transitions to Home Life

Chicago Trib: On Friday, he made time to leave the office briefly to pick up a corned beef sandwich and cherry pie from Manny's Coffee Shop & Deli, a favorite spot for Chicago politicians.

"I'm just glad to be out," Obama said amid applause and shouts of congratulations from surprised diners.

Yet the roughly 15-minute stop seemed more designed to provide a media photo opportunity—the first in nearly a week—than to let the president-elect step out for some fresh air.

Obama has made clear that he wants quality time with family before he is sworn in Jan. 20 as the 44th president.

As he settled into his new homebody life, aides had suggested a block of time for political calls during evening hours when his two daughters are still awake. That didn't fly.

"He said, 'Can we back that up, guys?' " an aide said. "He wanted to read to them and tuck them in, so we do the calls a little bit later."

Obama is a man of discipline and routine, and he has had exactly that in recent days, even finding time Wednesday evening to watch his daughter in a performance at a Michigan Avenue theater.

After his morning workout, Obama typically heads into his transition office in the Loop between 9 and 10 a.m. Most days, he's home by about 6 p.m. The trade-off, of course, is that he has lost some of the few freedoms he had before the election.
Claire Whitcomb, the author of a book about life at the White House, said the Obama family will continue to enjoy some level of routine after their move in January.

"For the family of a president, I think it's a pretty good setup," she said. "They can create a nice cocoon where they can have a good quality of life. With a bowling alley and a movie theater, it's more fun than your average house."

Michelle Obama told "60 Minutes" she is looking forward to having her family mostly in one place.

"We get to be together under the one roof, having dinners together," she said. "I envision the kids coming home from school and being able to run across the way to the Oval Office and see their dad before they start their homework."