Chicago may not be calling the Obamas home
BY LYNN SWEET December 6, 2013 7:40PM
Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Sasha Obama, Malia Obama
Updated: January 9, 2014 6:40AM
WASHINGTON — Where the Obama family lives immediately after the White House depends a lot on Sasha, President Barack Obama told ABC’s Barbara Walters recently.
But in the long term? First lady Michelle Obama has dropped some hints that returning to Chicago full time may not be in their future. “I’m not sure whether the old life will be there,” she said in April 2012.
Though it is near certain the Obama Presidential Library will be in Chicago, that alone does not tether the Obamas to the city. Of course, they would have a presence, and Obama’s anchor office would probably be here. But that’s not the same as moving back to their Kenwood home.
The William J. Clinton Presidential Center is in Little Rock, Ark., and contains a spacious apartment for the Clintons to use when they are there — something the Obamas may want to consider building into their library. Former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton have homes in suburban New York and here.
Sasha will be a high school sophomore when Obama leaves office, and she may want to finish high school at the exclusive Sidwell Friends in northwest D.C. Sister Malia will be off at college and Sasha, Obama told Walters, “will have a big vote.”
Looking more broadly, in May 2012, Michelle Obama, raised on the South Side, was asked by USA Today’s Susan Page, “Do you miss living in Chicago.” Her reply left open the possibly the first family may put down roots somewhere else.
“The community in Chicago, you know, you always miss that. But what I have found — and I talk to my kids about this all the time — is that home is where we are at any given time. Where me, Barack, Malia and Sasha, where our family is. And right now, we’re all here [in Washington, D.C.],” Michelle Obama said.
“So this is home in so many ways. I mean, we have a house that has stuff in it back in Chicago. We have friends that we love who we invite here all the time. But the truth is, is that if you plucked us up and put us anywhere right now, what we’d know with this change is that we’re always a family when we’re together. And in the end, that’s what really matters.
“So while I like going back to Chicago — I like to see the lake — this is home now because this is where we’ve built our lives. And when it’s time to leave, we’ll build it somewhere else,” she said.
On April 26, 2012, at a “Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day” event at the White House, the first lady was asked by a child, “Would you ever want to move back to your old life?”
Her reply: “I don’t know if that’s possible. We still have our house in Chicago, and it’s there, and we go back and visit.
“But who knows what — I don’t know what the future holds. So one of the things I’ve learned growing up and being a grown-up is that you always look forward — you look to where you’re going to go, as opposed to looking back. So we’re going to see how — what the future has for us.”