Obama steps out in jeans and sneakers in hometown Chicago

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Chicago, Feb.16 (ANI): There is some truth to the oft-repeated saying that there is no place like home. Such is the case, it seems , with the First Family of the United States - the Obamas.

They are spending this weekend at their Chicago neighborhood. Having arrived in the city on Air Force One, the Obamas - Barack, Michelle, their two daughters and Michelle's mother boarded Marine One, the presidential helicopter, on Friday evening at Chicago's O'Hare airport, and landed in a park along Lake Michigan in Chicago's South Side, a seven-minute motorcade ride from the Obamas' Hyde Park home.

The rest of their first trip home since moving to Washington in early January was a three-day study in requited affection between a president and his home city, the Washington Post reports.

The Obamas relished their time at home. The president was back at his old workout haunt, the gym at Regents Park, the luxury apartment complex where his friend Michael Signator lives.

Obama stayed at home on his first night in town. But he and Michelle Obama had Valentine's Day dinner at a restaurant owned by Oprah Winfrey's former personal chef. The president also stepped out in jeans and sneakers Sunday night and traveled a few blocks to his friend Marty Nesbitt's house to watch the NBA All Star game.

Obama's visit was not without work-his is a round-the-clock job, after all. The president received his daily briefing throughout the weekend. He traveled with his press secretary, Robert Gibbs, and Michelle Obama brought along her deputy chief of staff, Melissa Winter. Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser to the president and close friend of the family from Chicago, also made the trip.

Obama's proximity was the talk of Chicago. "If you see the streets blocked off and big flashing lights," a bartender at The Grill on Michigan Avenue explained to a customer Friday night, "you'll know it's him."

A local news channel ran a report on how the Obamas' Hyde Park home has become a magnet for tourists-some of them venturing out to the neighborhood this past weekend to try to catch a glimpse of the president.

Small crowds gathered on street corners to watch his much-lengthier motorcade whiz by. Local restaurants feature menus listing "President Obama's Favorites," and an ad on V103 boasts that it's "the president's radio station"-followed by a sound bite on the R and B station from Obama circa when he was a senator, saying he listens to the V103 because he's over 40.

The weekend reprieve followed a big victory for Obama on his economic stimulus plan.

He returns to Washington on Monday, where he faces a busy week-signing the stimulus bill into law in Colorado on Tuesday, spending the night in Phoenix, Arizona before unveiling his plans to stem home foreclosures on Wednesday and then traveling to Canada on Thursday in his first trip abroad as president. (ANI)

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