UPDATED: 11/6/2012 – 3:52 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — President Obama has been spending Election Day in Chicago, visiting a campaign field office, doing TV interviews, and even fitting in a game of basketball, as he does every Election Day.
The president spent the night at home in Kenwood. He left this morning and stopped at a campaign field office in Hyde Park and made a few phone calls to volunteers. He will spend a good part of the day doing satellite interviews to markets in key battleground states from his campaign hotel.
“I’m looking forward to the results,” Obama said. “And I expect that we’ll have a good night. But no matter what happens, I just want to say how much I appreciate everybody who has supported me, everybody who has worked so hard on my behalf. And again, I want to congratulate Gov. Romney and his team for a hard-fought race as well.”
While visiting the field office, the president picked up a Starbucks cup and took a drink. It was not his cup. “That’s coffee, not tea,” he said. “I thought that was my tea.” Then he joked with the volunteer who owned the cup. “You don’t have a cold do you?”
After doing some interviews at the Fairmont Hotel, the president took a break and played some basketball with friends and staff at Attack Athletics facility on West Harrison Street. Election Day basketball has become a tradition for the president. The only time he didn’t play was on the day of the 2008 primary in New Hampshire, when he lost to Hillary Clinton. He’s played every Election Day of his presidential runs since.
Among the players in Tuesday’s game were former Chicago Bulls players Scottie Pippen and Randy Brown; Education Secretary Arne Duncan; Obama friend and former Illinois State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias; and Obama pals Mike Ramos and Marty Nesbitt.
Giannoulias tweeted Tuesday afternoon that he was playing on the same team as Pippen and the president, with Brown and Duncan on another team.
In 2008, a victorious Obama held a huge rally in Grant Park, which was packed with nearly a quarter of a million people as the president-elect, his wife, and two daughters took the stage to celebrate his historic victory with the raucous crowd.
Tuesday night, the Obama campaign will hold a comparatively scaled-down rally inside McCormick Place. The president knows he was pretty lucky with the weather four years ago, and this year he didn’t want to take the chance of rain or cold spoiling the rally.
Also, there were security concerns, so it made more sense to have it inside, and keep the crowd much smaller – an expected 16,000 people for this year’s rally.
Tuesday morning, the president will also be squeezing in radio interviews, to be aired in critical markets during morning drive, plus TV interviews. Among his surrogates will be Mayor Emanuel, who also will do interviews via satellite from Chicago to court battleground states. Congressman Luis Gutierrez is off to Ohio on Tuesday, after weeks of courting Latino voters coast to coast.
Obama and his wife, Michelle, will watch the returns coming in at the Fairmont Hotel, before coming to McCormick Place around 10 p.m. Tuesday. Tight security was already in place early Monday, CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine reports.
The president traveled to battleground states Monday, trying to hold off a fast-closing Republican Mitt Romney. The key states remain Ohio, Florida, Colorado and Virginia.
At Obama’s Chicago campaign headquarters, volunteers worked the phones –trying to identify, encourage and get potential Obama voters to the polls tomorrow.
As for Romney, he was in Lynchburg, Va. trying to claim the state Obama won four years ago.
Before he headed to Boston – where his Election Night will be spent – the former governor of Massachusetts likewise campaigned in swing states, trying to persuade undecided voters.
“Paul Ryan and my vision is to limit government rather than limiting the dreams of our fellow Americans,” he said.