Obama Family Returns to Chicago for Weekend

Jun 16, 2012 6:00am
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AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

CHICAGO – President Barack Obama and his family have returned to their hometown this weekend, reportedly as guests of honor at the wedding of Laura Jarrett, daughter of White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett.

While the press are not allowed near the event, its guest list is speculated to be very top-heavy. The Chicago Sun-Times reports Attorney General Eric Holder and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk are invitees, as well as a number of the Obama family’s closest friends from the this city.

The interconnections extend to the newlyweds themselves.

Laura Jarrett and her betrothed, Tony Balkissoon are graduates of Harvard Law, the alma mater of both the president and first lady. Balkissoon is an associate at the same law firm that once employed Michelle Obama, Sidley-Austin. Valerie Jarrett would later woo Mrs. Obama away from their payroll to work on the reelection campaign of then-Chicago Mayor Richard Daley.

The bride has previously clerked for a U.S. District Court judge, and is currently an associate at another Chicago law firm. Meanwhile she has posed in Vanity Fair magazine and was listed as among the Vogue’s best-dressed of 2008.

The  president, first lady, and daughters arrived in the city Friday evening and immediately proceeded to the home of Martin Nesbitt, a personal friend and resident of the neighborhood.

In the downtime between get-togethers, they are making the rare move of staying in their actual house in the Kenwood neighborhood. Michelle Obama’s mother, Marian Robinson, is also along for the trip.

Obama has not spent much time here since taking office, but in recent months there has been an uptick in his travel home. In May Obama attended a NATO summit in the windy city and earlier this month he spent a night in his home after a addressing a fundraiser for his reelection campaign.

Security is extremely tight in Kenwood. Chicago’s ABC affiliate WLS-TV reports a hundred or more police could be deployed in a roughly six-block area, according to the station’s law enforcement sources. This is, of course, not including an unknown number of Secret Service for the detail.

However, in a city with a recent uptick in violent crime the president of the local Fraternal Order of Police chapter says he is concerned increased police presence in Kenwood will mean less law enforcement elsewhere.

“You’re thinning out the neighborhood beat car in order to bring them somewhere else,” Mike Shields tells WLS, “because there’s nowhere else to take police officers from.”

The Chicago Police Department tells ABC News there were eight shootings and one homicide in town last night. But in a seperate written statement, the CPD assures “appropriate resources” have been deployed for the safety of all city residents.

A few residents have left for the weekend, but despite the occasional inconvenience most neighborhood inhabitants take their mostly-absent neighbor as a point of pride. On Friday traveling press in the area spotted a Chevy Camaro parked in one driveway, adorned with a sign:

“Thank you for saving GM,” it reads, a reference to the president’s decision to bailout troubled American auto manufacturers from bankruptcy in 2009.

This will be the longest stretch that the family has spent in their home since winter 2009. They will remain here through tomorrow – Father’s Day – before the president travels solo to a G-20 summit in Los Cabos, Mexico that evening.

ABC’s Elicia Dover contributed to this report.

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