Obama attends 2 fundraisers in Chicago

July 23, 2009 (CHICAGO) President Obama was on his way back to the White House on Thursday night.

Before leaving Chicago, Obama went to his home in Hyde Park for a quick visit. Security was so tight news crews couldn't get close.

The visit home capped an evening of fundraisers.

The fundraisers in Chicago on Thursday night were scheduled months ago but they could not have happened at a better time for the president. If he needed moral support in the intensifying battle over healthcare reform, he could not have come to a better place than sweet home Chicago.

In his first political trip to his hometown, the president vowed that Republican efforts to break him on the healthcare reform issue would never work.

"I am from Chicago. I don't break," Obama told a crowd on Thursday night.

He was speaking to 800 Democrats who paid between $250 and $2500 apiece to see the president in Chicago, many for the first time since the inauguration.

"It was phenomenal to hear directly from the president what's going on in Washington and what he is doing to fight on healthcare," said Cheryle Jackson, Chicago Urban League president.

"It's always great to go home and recharge your batteries. And that's where the energy comes from," said Matt Flamm, Obama supporter.

"We're true Democrats and we're true to Barack Obama," said Marciel Rodriguez, Obama supporter.

Obama spent the early afternoon in Cleveland pushing his healthcare reform plan. The town hall meeting went longer than expected causing Air Force One to land 40 minutes later than scheduled at O'Hare. There the president was greeted by Governor Quinn, Mayor Daley, Secretary of State Jesse White and Illinois Comptroller Dan Hynes.

"He was in a very good mood...having a lot of laughs, seeing a lot of familiar faces in the crowd. It was really very warm," said Hynes.

The presidential motorcade shut down the Kennedy Expressway at the height of rush hour and stopped traffic as it sped toward a smaller $15,000 a plate dinner in the Lincoln Park home of fundraiser Penny Pritzker before the larger reception at the Hyatt.

The Democrats hope to raise $2 million at the Chicago events.

When the president went inside his Hyde Park home on Thursday night, it was the first time he had been there since Valentine's Day weekend.

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