President Barack Obama and his family were taking a two-day break in their hometown of Chicago this weekend, attending a wedding, visiting friends and remaining out of the public spotlight.
Small American flags planted by neighbors lined the curbs of South Greenwood Avenue as the Obamas arrived home on Chicago’s South Side yesterday. There were no public events on the president’s schedule, as the family sought a two-day retreat during the Father’s Day weekend.
The president and first lady Michelle Obama, joined by daughters Malia, 13, and Sasha, 11, attended the wedding tonight of Laura Jarrett, daughter of Obama’s senior presidential adviser Valerie Jarrett, to Harvard Law School graduate Tony Balkissoon, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Obama, wearing a tan suit, was joined by Michelle in a white skirt and dark top. Sasha wore a green dress and Malia a yellow dress. The first couple walked from their house to Jarrett’s nearby home in the Kenwood neighborhood, inside a Secret Service security perimeter.
Reporters were kept a block away, straining for any glimpse. Guests entering the cordoned off area were subject to searches by the Secret Service. Car trunks and hoods were opened for inspection.
Attorney General Eric Holder was spotted entering, along with Vernon Jordan, senior managing director at Lazard Freres & Co.
The White House issued a one-sentence statement: “Tonight the First Family is attending the wedding of Laura Jarrett.” Aides offered no other details, calling it a private event.
It’s not unusual for presidents to attend weddings involving their staff, a situation where the guests are more famous than the bride and groom. President George W. Bush and first lady Laura Bush attended the wedding of Brett Kavanaugh and Ashley Estes, Bush’s former personal secretary, in Washington’s Georgetown neighborhood in 2004.
Yesterday, as darkness fell, the president took an impromptu walk to visit a neighborhood friend, Martin Nesbitt, a Chicago businessman and treasurer of Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. The president returned home about 1:20 a.m. today Chicago time, aides said.
The president is scheduled to leave Chicago late tomorrow for a two-day G-20 Summit of industrialized and emerging nations in Los Cabos, Mexico. Europe’s financial crisis and violence in Syria will dominate the discussions.