CHICAGO (CBS) – President Barack Obama plans to formally end his political career in the place where it all began.
He is returning to Chicago a week from tomorrow (Tuesday, Jan. 10), to give a farewell address at McCormick Place and to say thanks.
CBS 2’s political reporter Derrick Blakely has details on the speech and how Chicago played such a crucial role in his meteoric rise.
Just 10 days before he leaves office, President Obama will return to the site of his 2012 re-election celebration – McCormick Place.
In a farewell address, he said he will continue a tradition that dates back to George Washington.
“It’s a great gesture to sort of come home and say thank you and farewell,” said Illinois State Senator, Kwame Raoul.
In a statement, the President called the speech, “a chance to say thank you for this amazing journey, to celebrate the ways you’ve changed the country for the better these past eight years, and to offer some thoughts on where we all go from here.”
Sen. Raoul, who holds Obama’s old seat said the President owes a debt to Chicago, to Illinois and particularly to Harold Washington.
“President Obama had observed the coalition politics that led to the election of Chicago’s first African American mayor, Harold Washington,” Sen. Raoul said. “He was able to duplicate that on a broader level, both on a local level and statewide level.”
And he rode that same coalition to a national stage, rising from the U.S. Senate to the White House, culminating in that historic Grant Park election night rally in 2008.
Former State Senator, Jeff Schoenberg was in that crowd and shared an office suite with Obama in Springfield.
“If anything, the President’s rise is really the embodiment of the American dream,” Schoenberg said. “The richness and diversity of the city’s neighborhoods gave him a sense of how you could make people’s lives better.”
Tickets to the event are free, but you will actually have to go to McCormick Place in person to grab one. Ticket distribution will be held Saturday. Tickets are one per person, and will be given out on a first-come, first-serve basis.
The exact time of the ticket handout will be announced later on the White House website.
As for the speech, scheduled for Tuesday Jan. 10, CBS 2 does not know yet, when the President will begin speaking, but the doors of McCormick Place will open at 5 p.m. Attendees are asked to arrive early.
The White House said there will be, “airport like” security at the event. That means no sharp objects or liquids. Also bags and signs are prohibited.
And in advance of next Tuesday’s farewell speech, CBS 2 Special Contributor Jay Levine will interview President Obama at the White House Thursday, Jan 5. Levine reports from Washington will begin Wednesday.