Sneed: It’s a backstage group hug as Obamas say goodbye

SHARE Sneed: It’s a backstage group hug as Obamas say goodbye

President Barack Obama is joined onstage by his wife and oldest daughter, Michelle and Malia, after giving his farewell address at McCormick Place on Tuesday night. | Getty Images

Follow @sneedlingsIt was time for a hug.


Want to know who is included in President Barack Obama’s inner circle as he exits office after an eight-year stint at the White House?

Here’s who.

Included in a private group hug waiting offstage behind a McCormick Place curtain Tuesday night were actor Tom Hanks; U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker; Attorney General Loretta Lynch; Mayor Rahm Emanuel; BFF Valerie Jarrett; BFF Marty Nesbitt; Obama Foundation CEO David Simas; and Ariel Investments Chief John Rogers.

“I’m here for my goodbye hug,” chirped the exiting president to a special cadre of confidants waiting before and after he delivered an emotional final speech.

The Obamas had invited only “family and friends” to the private event.

And, as Obama noted in his speech, he has designated Veep Joe Biden as his “brother.”

The Obama exit . . .

It was windy.

Not President Barack Obama’s exit speech.

A roaring wind caused Obama to jettison the presidential helicopter and motorcade to an adoring crowd at McCormick Place on Tuesday night — and delayed the arrival at Midway Airport of Joe Biden.

A New York state of mind?

They made it here.

Will they make it there?

It’s up to you, Mr. and Mrs. Obama.

The exiting first couple may have chosen to bid farewell to their eight-year White House occupancy in Chicago on Tuesday night, but top, top, top sources close to the Obamas tell Sneed the couple still expects their primary residence will be in New York after their youngest daughter, Sasha, finishes school in Washington, D.C.

“They love Chicago and will have a residence here because the Obama library and good friends are here, but New York is where they expect to use their main operating and social base,” the source close to the Obamas said.


Follow @sneedlingsA daughter’s duty . . .

Absent from her father’s hometown speech to the nation at McCormick Place on Tuesday night while studying for an exam back home at the White House, daughter Sasha was verklempt.

“It would have been a great civics lesson for Sasha, but mom and dad were acting as parents first,” a Sneed source said.

Pssst! Pssst!

Legal eagle Lori Lightfoot, who was appointed Police Board president by Emanuel in June 2015, is being urged to apply for U.S. attorney for all the work she has done during the past two years helping in the Department of Justice’s civil rights probe of Chicago Police Department misconduct.

• Backshot: Lightfoot, a seasoned attorney who has been committed to public service and social justice her entire career, was a finalist in the last go-round for the job.

The Lucas file . . . 

It’s done.

Ariel Investments’ Mellody Hobson, who is married to “Star Wars” creator George Lucas, has been coy since the couple decided to drop their bid to put the Lucas Museum near Soldier Field amid a lawsuit by Friends of the Park.

• Hobson told Sneed on Wednesday: “Look, I’m disappointed it’s not going to be built in Chicago, but I’m excited it will be built in L.A. I’m glad the decision has been made and it’s all over — and expect me to keep working on one of my favorite projects: After School Matters.”

• Backstory: Lucas went to school at the University of Southern California campus in L.A.

Enough said.

Hmm . . . 

Although top Trump supporter/fundraiser Ron Gidwitz is mum about reports he is being considered as a possible U.S. ambassador to Australia, Sneed hears the idea has one big charm: His son lives in Australia.

The downside: His son would still live four-plus hours away.

I spy . . .

Chicago Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz spotted at the Palace Grill Restaurant on Madison last week having breakfast. . . . Same day Bears Chairman George McCaskey lunching at Palace Grill. . . . Comedian Bill Murray and former Cub Rick Sutcliffe spotted at Chicago Cut on Sunday for brunch. . . . Bill Murray’s screenwriter brother, Brian Doyle-Murray, spotted at Gibsons the day after Christmas. . . . Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo surprised his girlfriend Monday night with a dinner party at Chicago Cut. . . . Bulls star Dwyane  Wade and actress wife Gabrielle Union at RPM Italian with a big group of friends, including “Chicago Fire” actor Andre King on Saturday. . . . Actor William Forsythe spotted at La Scarola recently.

Sneedlings . . .

Today’s birthdays: Zayn Malik, 24; Issa Rae, 32, and Kirstie Alley, 66.

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