The long cinder barricades surrounding the block that America’s First Family lives on in Chicago’s Kenwood community won’t be going away anytime soon — at least not for the next four years.
That’s because Barack Obama, will be keeping his address at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. in Washington, D.C. a little while longer.
Polls and pundits predicted a dead heat in the race for president in the Nov. 6 election with incumbent President Obama slightly lagging in the popular vote polls and hanging on by a hairline-thin margin in several of the nine battle ground states.
But the “skinny guy with the funny name,” as Obama has referred to himself, won eight of the nine swing states that had put the race in the balance and captured the popular vote on his sprint to 332 electoral votes and re-election.
“We are not as divided as our politics suggest. We’re not as cynical as the pundits believe,” the president said in his victory speech delivered at McCormick Place.
It was past midnight when the president spoke but Wednesday morning a modest crowd had gathered near Obama’s home in the Kenwood community to further relish the win and get a glimpse of his motorcade as it left the block.
Overall the voter turnout in Chicago was at 75 percent, up from the 74 percent turnout in 2008, according to the Chicago Board of Elections. As Obama captured 95 percent of the African American vote nationwide, in Black wards across the city 90 to 99 percent of ballots cast were for the president. The 3rd, 4th and 5th Wards combined for 93 percent of votes cast for Obama.
Chicagoans are looking ahead as Obama’s second administration gets underway next year. He will be inaugurated on January 20.
South Sider Carl Murray called Obama the “lesser of two evils.” He said the president didn’t quite do all that he promised during the 2008 campaign but he is looking forward to the next four years.
“I am looking for improvement and getting the job done that he set out to do,” the teacher assistant told the Chicago Citizen.
For Murray, job creation and government-funded social programs were among his chief concerns. He is also hoping the president improves on job creation and bringing unemployment down in his second term.
Romney vowed to repeal the Affordable Care Act that became one of the hallmarks the Obama administration. That’s why Priscilla Jones said last Tuesday night she is relieved that the president was re-elected because the health plan “is very important” to her.
“He had to win because he had to finish what he started. He didn’t have enough time (in the first administration),” she said.
Her sister and godson were deployed to Iraq and Jones praised the president for ending that war and pulling her relatives and other American troops out.
In the days before the election, a jobs report revealed that the national unemployment rate was not the 8-plus percent Obama faced on the first day of his inaugural administration in 2008 but the current 7.2 percent still dogged him — especially as African American leaders pressed that the rate was even higher among African Americans.
“I have learned from you, you make me a better president,” Obama said in his victory speech, vowing to continue with his plans for economic recovery and other domestic growth.
He was joined on the victory stage by his wife, First Lady Michelle Obama, and two daughters, Malia and Sasha, as well as the re-elected Vice President Joe Biden and his family.
His voice hoarse, his hair grayer than in 2008, Obama returned to Washington the day after Election Day celebrating four more years in office.
By Rhonda Gillespie