CHICAGO (CBS) — President Barack Obama spent Wednesday in his hometown for a pair of fundraisers.
The President learned about the shootings at Fort Hood right in the middle of a fundraiser at a restaurant on the Chicago River.
CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine spoke with those who were with the President when he got the word and reports that they could see a change in the President’s demeanor. They didn’t know what it was, but they knew something had happened.
The President first learned about the shooting just after arriving at Chicago Cut, the River North Steak House where he’d meet with 25 major donors.
“I think the President was given a note during meeting which he did not share but as he read note, you could see he got deep in thought and was concerned about whatever was on there. I was sitting next to him, but couldn’t see what the note was,” said Mesirow Financial CEO Richard Price.
“All of a sudden his staff members are all on their phones and whispering to each other,” said David Flom, co-owner of the Chicago Cut Steakhouse.
And then he came out and spoke to reporters.
“Obviously this reopens the pain of what happened at Fort Hood five years ago. We know these families. We know their incredible service to our country and the sacrifices that they make. Obviously our thoughts and prayers were — are with the entire community,” said Obama.
After an hour’s delay, the President moved on to a second fundraiser passing protesters along the way. Even CBS 2’s coverage drew protesters, as one interrupted Jay Levine during a live shot and shouted, “Obama is a war criminal,” into the mic.
The President was largely unaware outside events, focused on events a thousand miles away.
“As you would expect and hope, he was extraordinarily calm and you could tell he was being very thoughtful,” said attorney Bob Clifford.
Interesting insights tonight from Chicagoans who make a habit of rubbing elbows with the high and mighty and powerful, yet came away from their meeting with the President, clearly impressed.