The Reader has come out with a special Inaugural edition. We encourage you to pick up a copy, its sure to be a collectors piece.
The Chicago Reader: The Obama Reader--We knew him when: An Inaugural Special
By now, just about everybody’s got a Barack Obama story. Some are even about the man—over the years he’s worked with, met, or spoken to thousands of Chicagoans. Thousands more have argued about his qualifications or wondered about his symbolic importance over beers or on the airwaves. Others have stories that are really more about themselves—where they were on election night when he was called the winner, what their parents thought of his speech, how any of what he said might help them find a job.
I’ve got a few myself, and my favorite is from early in his 2004 Senate campaign. Obama was still an underdog, if not an afterthought, in the months before the Democratic primary—among his six opponents were the son of a party power broker and a billionaire. I was working for the Chicago Reporter, a monthly that focuses on racial issues, and had no problem getting his staff to set up a sit-down. But when a colleague and I showed up at the appointed time—around 5 PM one weekday—the candidate strode out of his office with an annoyed look. It quickly became clear that no one had told him we were coming. “This is really not a good time, guys,” he said. “This is a time I need to be making phone calls. I need to be fund-raising.”
The young, cool, progressive state senator who needed press was going to blow us off? To call rich people and ask them for money? So it seemed. Obama shook his head, repeated that this was a bad time, looked at his watch. “Come on,” he finally muttered, gesturing for us to follow him back to his office. “But we’ve only got a few minutes.”