Barack Obama

Leadership Blog
3:24 pm
Thu April 23, 2015

Legislative Force With Lucas, Obama Museums

An architectural rendering of the proposed Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, which may be built on Chicago's lakefront.
Credit LMNA Architecture Renderings / Lucas Museum of Narrative Art press kit

The force of the Illinois legislature is behind bringing George Lucas's museum and Barack Obama's presidential library to Chicago.

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5:51 pm
Mon February 16, 2015

Midwest Travel: Hyde Park - Mr. Obama's Neighborhood

Robie House
Credit Luiz Gadelha Jr./flickr

Our series on midwest travel continues with a look at Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood. 

Mary Galligan is a freelance travel writer whose latest article for the Illinois Times explores Hyde Park.  It's known now for being home to President Obama and his family, but there is a lot more to this area.

Read Mary Galligan's article in the Illinois Times.

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Illinois Issues - Economy
3:40 pm
Tue February 10, 2015

White House Immigration Policy Could Affect Illinois Economy

Credit Department of Homeland Security

Immigrants in the country illegally will soon be able to file requests to stay in the U.S. without fear of being deported.

President Barack Obama announced an executive order helping immigrants in the country illegally gain lawful employment and defer deportation. Opponents say this could hurt the economy and take jobs away from U.S. citizens.

Cecilia Muñoz, director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, says the opposite is true.

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Illinois Issues - Leadership
7:14 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

Political Football With Sports Facilities Agency

Gov. Bruce Rauner has picked a campaign supporter, attorney Sanchez, as chairman of the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority.
Credit Sanchez Daniels & Hoffman LLP

An ally of Republican Governor Bruce Rauner will chair the state agency that owns the Chicago White Sox stadium and oversaw the renovations of Soldier Field, but one of former Governor Pat Quinn's closest confidants will still retain his high-paying post.

The Illinois Sports Facilities Authority has been home base for all sorts of political wins and losses over the years. And there's a whole roster of players.

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Illinois Issues - Leadership
12:31 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

Chicago Moving On Park Land For Obama Library

Both of the University of Chicago's proposals for an Obama Presidential Library would require Chicago park land. One possible site is in the south side's Jackson Park, which currently houses a Japanese garden and the Museum of Science and Industry.
Credit David Ohmer (

Chicago officials are trying to shore up their bid to bring the Obama Presidential Library to the president’s hometown.

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Health Desk
7:47 am
Mon November 17, 2014

Federal Health Care Subsidies Could Be At Risk For Illinois Residents

Credit flickr/ThomasAnderson

The U.S. Supreme court has agreed to take up a case that could put the Affordable Care Act in jeopardy. But health care advocates in the state are still urging residents to check out their options as the second enrollment period for Obamacare is underway.

The Supreme Court is expected to rule on whether federal subsidies can be given to residents in states, like Illinois, that did not create their own online marketplaces. In the meantime, subsidies to help cover the cost of insurance will still be available.

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Election 2014
3:25 am
Mon October 20, 2014

Earlier Than Ever

Pres. Barack Obama visited Chicago Sunday, to encourage Illinois residents to vote, and to do it early. Early voting begins today, and runs until just before election day. That could change campaigns' strategies, or expand the electorate.

It used to be that campaigns geared up for one day: Election Day. Starting in 2006, Illinois residents were given the option of casting an early, in-person ballot. That used to last for a two-week span. Not this election. Voters have from today until Nov. 2 to vote early.

Look for people to take advantage of it.

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Election 2014
1:27 am
Mon October 6, 2014

Gov. Quinn: No Regional Minimum Wage

"West Wing" actor Martin Sheen, left, wades into real-life politics, as he stumps for Gov. Pat Quinn a month before the election.
Credit Amanda Vinicky

First, the President held a $50,000 a head fundraiser for Pat Quinn.  This week, First Lady Michelle Obama and Gloria Steinem are scheduled to be in Illinois to stump for him.  Over the weekend, it was actor Martin Sheen's turn to campaign alongside the Democratic governor.

According to the trade magazine "Variety," Martin Sheen made as much as $300,000 an episode for his role as Democratic Pres. Jeb Bartlet in the show "West Wing."

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State Week
2:31 pm
Fri October 3, 2014

Listen to State Week - October 3, 2014

Credit Dan LoGrasso / WUIS

President Barack Obama was in Chicago this week backing Governor Pat Quinn's re-election bid, while questions about Quinn's Neighborhood Recovery Initiative continue.

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6:53 am
Wed September 3, 2014

Political Dark Arts - The Voices Behind The Messages


Deep and ominous voices sound the attack …sugary and optimistic voices signal support.  

As part of our series on the “dark arts” of the campaign business….we meet the people behind the voices trained to influence the democratic process.

As  Alex Keefe found, some of the most famous political ads in recent American history may have been voiced in a closet near you.

WOODEL: So, when I do voices for political campaigns, or for anybody, I do them out of my closet here in the house.

KEEFE: This is literally a closet.

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5:56 pm
Tue September 2, 2014

Sen. Kirk On ISIS: "Bomb The Hell Out Of Them"

Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Illinois)
Credit Kirk.Senate.Gov

Republican U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk says the United States should take a hard line against the Islamic State group.  

Islamic State extremists released a video Tuesday purportedly showing the beheading of a second American journalist. It also warns President Barack Obama that as long as U.S. air strikes against the group continue there'll be continued violence.  

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4:44 pm
Thu August 28, 2014

Undocumented Immigrants Call For Presidential Orders

Ralliers gather around a 10-foot-high puppet of President Barack Obama in Springfield Thursday. Immigrants say he has two choices, represented by his two signs: "continue separating families" or "take bold executive action." Activists rallied outside the Sangamon County Courthouse and Jail, where they say undocumented immigrants are tried and held.
Credit Hannah Meisel/WUIS

  Undocumented immigrants in Central Illinois rallied in the capital city Thursday, asking President Obama to use his power of executive order to stop deportations. The Springfield gathering was part of a nationwide day of action by immigrants and allies.

Ralliers propped up at 10-foot-high puppet of President Obama. In his cardboard hands, two signs read "continue separating families" and "take bold executive action," representing the two choices the group said Obama has.

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Involvement in Iraq
5:31 pm
Fri August 8, 2014

Durbin, Kirk Weigh In On Air Strikes In Iraq

U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Mark Kirk (R-IL)

  U.S. Senators Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk each say they support limited air strikes over Iraq to try to deter the Islamic State terrorist organization. But Durbin's expressing reservations.

President Barack Obama Thursday night authorized air strikes on the terrorist group which has been gaining territory in Iraq.

While Durbin (D-IL) says he is glad the action involves no boots on the ground, he's still cautious about getting involved in the conflict.

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9:57 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

Senate President Moves To Save Obama Artifacts For Presidential Library

Credit Illinois Senate

An Illinois Senate panel Wednesday approved a measure to pay tribute to one of the chamber's most distinguished former members.                                         

Barack Obama was once one of 59 state senators. He had a desk. And a chair. And someone had the foresight to put them into storage.

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Obama library
4:29 pm
Thu May 1, 2014

Republicans Propose Tax Check-Off To Fund Obama Library

Credit Brian Mackey / WUIS

  Republicans say they've found another way to fundraise for a future Barack Obama presidential library ... one that doesn't involve state funds. This comes a day after Democrats advanced a plan to use state funds to entice the president to put his library in Chicago.

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Obama library
7:11 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

Committee Votes For $100 Million Toward Obama Library...Again

Credit Brian Mackey / WUIS

  A legislative committee Wednesday voted to authorize spending $100 million to lure Barack Obama's presidential library to Chicago ... for the second time.

Before he became President, Barack Obama served as an Illinois state senator and a U.S. senator. He worked as a community organizer in Chicago, and taught at the University of Chicago law school.

All reasons he might locate his presidential library and museum in Illinois.

But New York and Hawaii are also in the running.

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Madigan: Vote Again
8:05 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

Initial Obama Library Vote A "Misunderstanding"

President Barack Obama

Illinois legislators will vote a second time on a plan to spend $100 million to help lure Barack Obama's Presidential Library and Museum to Chicago, following a controversy.

A lesson in politics: Whichever party is in charge can often use the rules to its advantage. Like last week, when the Obama library proposal passed out of a Democratic-controlled House committee with nine votes ... even though only five representatives were there. Republicans had skipped the hearing, and many say they're opposed to spending the money given Illinois' financial situation.

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Obama Presidential Library
8:25 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Speaker Madigan Proposes $100 Million For Obama Library


  The Democratic and Republican leaders of the Illinois House are taking opposing views on whether Illinois should promise taxpayer money to try and lure President Barack Obama's library and museum to Chicago.

The head of Illinois' Democratic Party, Michael Madigan, wants Illinois to spend $100 million dollars on a Presidential Library and Museum for Barack Obama.

It's up to Obama to choose where it'll be located.

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Harvest Desk
10:37 am
Fri February 7, 2014

Obama Signs Farm Bill, Announces Rural Export Initiative

President Obama signs the 2014 Farm Bill

One of the key farm bill negotiators says the nation has entered “a new era of farm and food policy.” 

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Oklahoma) said the legislation President Obama signed into law Friday “values saving money, reforming or repealing government programs and yet still providing an effective safety net for the production of our national food supply and for those Americans who are struggling.”  Read Lucas' full statement here

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Durbin supports Obama in NSA scaleback
5:29 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

Durbin Praises Obama For NSA Scale Back

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.)

  Illinois' senior U.S. Senator says he supports President Barack Obama's changes for the National Security Agency.

President Obama has seen a split within his own party since Edward Snowden's revelations about how the U.S is gathering intelligence.

But at least one Democrat — Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin — says Obama is taking the right steps in balancing privacy with keeping America safe.

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Health Desk
4:28 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

Food Allergy Awareness Law

President Barack Obama has signed legislation giving financial incentives to states to stockpile emergency medications in schools that could save lives in the cases of allergic reactions.  
The deaths of two girls in Illinois and Virginia from severe food allergies helped spur efforts to get schools to stockpile epinephrine.  

Epinephrine is considered the first-line treatment for people with severe allergies. The medication is administered by injection through preloaded EpiPens.  
The measure was co-sponsored by Illinois Sens. Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk.  

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6:59 pm
Tue November 5, 2013

Obama Applauds Illinois Legislature


President Barack Obama is praising the passage of same-sex marriage legislation in his home state of Illinois.   Obama, who served in the Illinois state Senate, released a statement saying he
was ``overjoyed for all the committed couples in Illinois.''
The president is commending members of the Legislature for approaching the
issue in an ``open and fair way.'' He says the nation's journey is not complete
until gay men and women are treated equally under the law.
Same-sex marriage legislation passed the state House on Tuesday, nearly nine

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Health Desk
9:49 am
Wed September 25, 2013

Healthcare Marketplace To Be Called 'Get Covered Illinois'

Illinois officials have decided on a brand name for the new health insurance marketplace set to open Tuesday.

Gov. Pat Quinn's administration unveiled the name Wednesday: It's  "Get Covered Illinois.'' The brand tagline is "The Official Health Marketplace.''

Deputy Gov. Cristal Thomas says the administration wanted a name that was "very clear about what this product has to offer.''

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Health Desk
5:46 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

Illinois Still Waiting On Key Obamacare Approval

Credit flickr/r.nial.bradshaw

The price of insurance policies that will be offered under the federal health care overhaul remain a mystery, even to state officials.

Oct. 1 will be a big day across the country for President Barack Obama's signature health care law. It's the launch date for insurance marketplaces, the Affordable Care Act's term for where people without insurance will be able to shop for coverage.

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Illinois Issues
12:00 am
Fri February 1, 2013

Lessons from the Cave: Future Campaigns at All Levels are Sure to Tap Into Obama-Style Analytics

While he waited for the concession call from Mitt Romney, the president worked on his acceptance speech with Jon Favreau, director of speechwriting, and campaign adviser David Axelrod at a Chicago hotel.
Credit WUIS/Illinois Issues

Collin Corbett is a Republican whose job it is to elect Republicans. His company in Chicago’s northern suburbs, Cor Strategies, has worked with presidential contender Mitt Romney, gubernatorial hopeful Sen. Bill Brady and dozens of lesser-known politicians vying for offices such as city council or circuit clerk. 

After President Barack Obama won re-election in November, Corbett says his Republican clients immediately wanted to copy the Democrat’s campaign tactics, especially when it came to technology. 

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Illinois Issues
12:00 am
Thu March 1, 2012

Unintended Consequences: Illinois Delegates May Still be a Prize Worth Having

Wherever you start the selection of an American president, it’s going to be a big story with lots of reporters blowing it out of proportion — coverage that then has an impact on subsequent contests in the race.

Nowhere does the law of unintended consequences work better than in politics. The coming Illinois presidential primary on March 20 provides an example. 

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Illinois Issues
12:00 am
Sun March 1, 2009

Brain Drain or Political Gain?: The Congressional Delegation Lost Some Clout

President Barack Obama
Credit WUIS/Illinois Issues

While Illinoisans revel in the fact that one of their own now sits in the White House, Barack Obama’s presidency has sapped the star power of the state’s congressional delegation, which already had lost key members in recent years.

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Illinois Issues
12:00 am
Sun March 1, 2009

Obama's Mentor: Community Organizer Jerry Kellman Trained the Man Who Would Become President

“Outsiders can do two things: They can try to be like everybody else; or they can identify with other outsiders. Part of what Barack learned was not to be ideological.” —Jerry Kellman
Credit WUIS/Illinois Issues

Gerald Kellman’s office is in a nondescript ranch house on Chicago’s northwest side, adjacent to St. Mary of the Woods Catholic Church, which owns the property.

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Illinois Issues
12:00 am
Thu January 1, 2009

The Two Faces of Illinois Politics: The Governor & President-Elect Contrast

Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich
Credit WUIS/Illinois Issues

In the same 35-day span, the world saw two remarkably different faces of the Land of Lincoln.

One was Barack Obama, savoring his historic win before more than 100,000 admirers in Chicago’s Grant Park, standing as a polished and inspiring symbol of change for Illinois and America, the first African-American president. A man of honesty, the masses hoped.

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Illinois Issues
12:00 am
Mon December 1, 2008

Presidential Poetry

Barack Obama
Credit WUIS/Illinois Issues

In October, as Illinois’ adopted son Barack Obama rose in the national presidential polls, a group of Chicago poets gathered for an “Obama open mic,” as part of an event called Poets for a Better Country. Organized by Toi Derricotte and Judith Vollmer, poets and professors at the University of Pittsburgh, the event was held simultaneously in cities across the country, including Chicago, Falmouth, Mass., New York City, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C. “As poets, we have a historic duty to express the unspoken passion, rage, desires and hopes of our country.

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