Obama’s Sunday in Chicago: Hyde Park haircut, workout; shoots hoops at East Bank Club; bbq in South Shore. Sun-Times Abdon Pallasch pool report.

SHARE Obama’s Sunday in Chicago: Hyde Park haircut, workout; shoots hoops at East Bank Club; bbq in South Shore. Sun-Times Abdon Pallasch pool report.

My colleague Abdon Pallasch, the Sun-Times political reporter, kept an eye on presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) on Sunday and filed a Chicago-style pool report….

Pool Report by Abdon Pallasch

Chicago Sun-Times

Sunday, June 29,

Day 2 of the Barack Obama protection pool

They said there was no public schedule today and that proved accurate — No

news. We never got closer to Obama than about 30 feet as he got into or out of

his Chevy Suburban.

At about 9:30 a.m., Obama left his home in Chicagos Hyde Park neighborhood and

went for a workout at his friends Mike Signators building. He wore his black

White Sox cap; a gray T-shirt and black workout pants. He only stayed about 15

minutes. Press staff was unsure whether he worked out or just hung with his


From there, we drove to the Hyde Park Hair Salon, where he went in for his

usual trim just after 10 a.m.

An Obama O8 sign hung in the window next to the rotating blue- and red-striped

barber-shop post.

Obama picked up and quickly scanned first the Chicago Sun-Times, then the

Chicago Tribune and finally the New York Times during his haircut, said his

barber, Zariff (Thats the whole name).

He was in a good mood, very relaxed, Zariff said. It was his regular cut. He

comes in every week or two. If I let him go too long, it gets kind of bushy.

The few clients and other barbers in there engaged in cordial conversation with

Obama, Zariff said.

Were all very excited. Its hard to keep our compusure but we try, he said.

Stepping out of the barber shop, Obama hugged one friend, then heard applause

from a fan on the United Church of Hyde Park steps across the street. A woman

and two children ran across the street to shake his hand.

He had his Sox cap back on so we couldnt see the haircut. Chicago is in the

middle of the Cubs-Sox crosstown classic. The Cubs won the first three at

Wrigley Field then the South Siders won the next two at the field formerly known

as Comiskey Park. Game 6 will start at 7 p.m. CST. Obama, a South Sider, has

always worn his Sox loyalty on his sleeve (in contrast to his Democratic primary

opponent, who struggled during the Cubs-Yankees playoffs last year.)

Obama headed back to his house to pick up Michelle and the girls, then headed up

to the East Bank Club to shoot hoops with, amonth others, Chicago Public Schools

CEO Arne Duncan and Obamas friend Reggie Love. Top adviser Valerie Jarrett also

was there, but apparently was visiting with Michelle and the girls and not

participating in the game, she said. Your pooler was not allowed to watch the


He stopped home then headed off to a barbecue at the South Shore home of his

long-time friend Dr. Eric Whitaker, who he has known since their days at Harvard

— Whitaker was working on a masters in public health while Obama worked on his

law degree. Whitaker has a big side yard with huge swingset, soccer nets, and a

basketball hoop and kids could be seen running around, screaming, having fun.

The slam against Chicago reporters is that we are so Tony Rezko-fixated we cant

write an innocuous pool report about a barbecue without dragging Rezkos name

into it. Not wanting to disappoint, heres todays Tony Rezko mention:

Whitaker was named director of the state department of Public Health after Obama

recommended him to his friend Tony Rezko, who was screening applicants for top

state posts for Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Rezko was later convicted of mail fraud

for influence-peddling in the Blagojevich administration. Whitaker and Obama

were never implicated in the case.

Heres what Obama told the Sun-Times when asked about people he recommended to

Rezko for state posts

I think we submitted just a list of people that were mostly, you know, some of

them were people whod sent us resumes in the past or other people we thought we

might be interested but they weren’t people who were connected to our political

organization in any meaningful way. Or they weren’t people I knew particularly

well. The one exception I do remember talking to Tony about was Dr. Eric

Whitaker, who was a longtime friend of mine from Harvard. He and I played

basketball together when he was getting his masters in public health at Harvard,

while was at law school there. He had expressed an interest in that job. He did

contact me, or Tony contacted me, and I gave him a glowing recommendation

because I thought he was outstanding.

After leaving the state post, Whitaker served as executive vice president for

strategic affiliations and associate dean for community-based research at the

University of Chicago Medical Center, where Michelle Obama was also a


Were still outside the barbecue. But Ill file this now presuming there will be

no (more?) news today. If there is, I will send out an update.

Abdon M Pallasch

Political Reporter

Chicago Sun-Times

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