Bill Daley has a surprise before returning to Chicago

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White House Chief of Staff William Daley walks on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington as he accompanies President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama to New York, Monday, Sept. 19, 2011. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

In an exclusive chat with Sneed this week, former White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley sounded relieved and happy his tour of duty was finally over.

“I can’t wait to come back,” said Daley, whose abrupt resignation earlier this month flummoxed President Barack Obama.

â—† Update: Now that all the hoopla over Bill’s decision to quit “has quieted down,” Daley tells Sneed he plans to spend time figuring out “what I really want to do.”

But before Daley heads home Friday, he has a surprise in store.

â—† Upshot: “I’m tossing a party to say goodbye to the White House staff with a ‘Taste of Chicago,’ ” he said.

â—† To wit: Daley told Sneed he has ordered a late-night air shipment of pizza, popcorn and cheesecake sent to the White House mess (cafeteria) for a noon surprise Friday.

â—† The eats: No surprise: Chicago’s trademark Lou Malnati’s pizza, Garrett popcorn and Eli’s Cheesecake!

“It’s been an incredible experience here, but you always miss home … and I wanted the people that I’ve worked so closely with to get a flavor of Chicago – the city I love – in addition to its people.”

So what’s on Daley’s future agenda? Business? Politics? A run for office in the future?

“I haven’t decided that yet, but I do know one thing. The first thing I’m going to do when I get home is go to the (Chicago) Bulls game (versus the Milwaukee Bucks) Friday night,” he said.

Ring. Ring …

Wrong answer: A phone call to Illinois Film Tsarina Betsy Steinberg, who just returned from the Sundance Film Festival in Utah, was answered by a strange, heavily accented voice.

Wrong number, perhaps?

“No, no wrong number. I find this phone in my cab and am waiting to get call from owner,” explained the voice. So we alerted Steinberg, who was looking for the iPhone in her house. All is well. Isn’t Sneed swell?

Whip those Wheels!

The starting bid may be $1 million on eBay, but owner Tim O’Boyle, 52, of Naperville, thinks President Obama’s old car is worth every penny.

â—†“It’s definitely got a presence about it,” said O’Boyle, a Hillside restaurant manager – who also described Obama’s old 2005 fully loaded Chrysler 300C as “cool.”

“It’s always in the back of your mind that the guy (President Obama) used to own it … even though I think he’s a regular guy … and is able to bail us out of our economic jam if we give him another four years,” O’Boyle told Sneed.

â—† The car, which O’Boyle purchased in 2008 from Park Plaza Dodge in Forest Park, “doesn’t smell like Obama’s cigarette smoke and there aren’t any memorable stains or anything like that,” said eBay middleman Lisa Czibor.

(Please note: The car does turn right as well as left.)

â—† O’Boyle claims the prospect of early retirement and a trip or two are enticing.

“Hawaii would be nice … Maybe the President would invite me over for dinner,” O’Boyle joked.

The Nobel Prize …

Bravo! Imprisoned former Gov. George Ryan has once again been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for his work that led to the abolition of the death penalty in Illinois.

â—† Laud ’em: Ryan has been nominated several times by University of Illinois College of Law Professor Francis A. Boyle “because of his courageous, heroic, and principled opposition to the racist and class-based death penalty system in America.”

â—† Praise ’em: It follows recent high praise by powerful House Speaker Mike Madigan, who recalled Ryan’s “ability to identify problems and fashion solutions.”



Lost & Found: It was a shock to find an urn containing ashes recently on the CTA. Not to worry. Rightful owners were located… Today’s birthdays: Bridget Fonda, 48; Mikhail Baryshnikov, 64; Mimi Rogers, 56, and James Cromwell, 72.

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