Story Summary

Obama’s visit to Chicago on Friday

President Barack Obama will visit Chicago Friday.

He will be at the  Hyde Park Academy  to discuss proposals, unveiled in the State of the Union speech, that focus on strengthening the economy for the middle class.

The event is invite only.

Obama will also attend similar events in Asheville, North Carolina and Atlanta, Georgia.


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Rep. Bill Foster (D) Illinois

President Barack Obama said Friday that children from communities wracked by poverty and violence need help from the government, schools, family and clergy to have a chance to climb “ladders of opportunity” to reach the middle class and beyond.

Speaking at a Chicago high school near where he used to live, Obama cited gun violence that killed 443 people in the city last year as one reason why children need community wide support to help them believe they can improve their lives through education and hard work.

“In too many neighborhoods today, whether here in Chicago or the farthest reaches of rural America, it can feel like, for a lot of young people, the future only extends to the next street corner or the outskirts of town,” he said, adding “that no matter how much you work or how hard you try, your destiny was determined the moment you were born.”

He emphasized proposals from his State of the Union address this week, such as raising the minimum wage to $9 an hour and providing good pre-schooling for every child as necessary to help people better themselves.

Obama also called for Congress to vote on a package of gun proposals aimed at decreasing shootings on the streets, in homes, at schools and in shopping malls and places of worship.

“This is not just a gun issue,” he continued. “It’s also an issue of the kinds of communities that we’re building, and for that we all share responsibility as citizens to fix it.”

It all starts at home, the president said, calling “strong, stable families” and “loving, supportive parents” the most important ingredients for reducing violence.

Noting he was raised by a single mother, he called for promoting marriage and encouraging fatherhood, saying he wished he had a father around and involved when he was a boy.

“By the way, that’s all kinds of parents,” he added. “That includes foster parents, and that includes grandparents, and extended families. It includes gay or straight parents.”

Obama headed to his hometown after a White House ceremony to award the Presidential Citizens Medal — the nation’s second-highest civilian honor — to 18 people. They included posthumous honors for six educators killed along with 20 first-graders in December’s Connecticut school massacre.

He hugged family members of the slain teachers and administrators from Sandy Hook Elementary School in presenting the medals, saying: “We could not be more grateful to your loved ones, who gave everything they had” for the children in their care.

In his remarks at Hyde Park Academy High School, Obama mentioned Hadiya Pendleton, 15, who was killed by gunfire in Chicago last month after returning from taking part in inaugural activities in Washington.

Pendleton’s parents were in the crowd, just as they were at the State of the Union as guests of first lady Michelle Obama, who attended Hadiya’s funeral.

The president called for Congress to act on his package of gun measures, saying the proposals intended to save young lives “deserve a vote.”

Fierce opposition by the National Rifle Association makes passage of any significant gun legislation uncertain. In response to Obama’s State of the Union address, the NRA has sought to discredit the motives and impacts of legislation proposed by the president and Democrats.

“They only care about their decades-old gun control agenda — ban every gun they can, tax every gun sold and register every gun owner,” NRA chief executive Wayne LaPierre said in a statement on Thursday. “This president has taken the art of public deception and manipulation to a whole new level.”

Obama seeks an updated version of the 1994 assault weapons ban, which expired in 2004, that would prevent the manufacture and sale of some semi-automatic rifles modeled after fully automatic assault weapons.

He also proposes limiting ammunition magazines to 10 rounds, expanding background checks to all gun transactions, including sales at gun shows. He also wants Congress to take steps to better screen people with mental illnesses, so they cannot obtain weapons.

Legislation proposed so far also would crack down on so-called straw purchases, in which a legal buyer purchases weapons for distribution to non-legal buyers.

The NRA and other opponents argue the Democratic proposals are veiled attempts to limit gun ownership and eventually take away weapons, and therefore violate the constitutional right to bear arms.

In particular, opponents contend the proposed ban on semi-automatic rifles focuses on a weapon used in a tiny percentage of killings and other gun violence.

Harold Pollack, co-director of the University of Chicago Crime Lab, confirmed on Friday that so-called assault weapons targeted by the proposed ban account for a small fraction of murders in the United States.

However, Pollack said the ban proposed by Obama can help reduce gun violence, especially what he called the psychologically impactful mass shootings such as the Newtown attack in which a lone gunman used a Bushmaster semi-automatic rifle.

The combination of such weapons with high-capacity magazines “facilitates mass homicides,” Pollack told CNN, noting that professional criminals generally don’t use such rifles that look like military weapons.

“The people who do use these weapons are often the most dangerous or most sociopathic,” Pollack said. The Newtown shooter, a 20-year-old man living with his mother, took her legally owned guns and killed her before going to the school to open fire on students and teachers.

To Pollack, such a mass killing — while relatively rare — “traumatizes communities and the entire society in a way that demands attention.”

To the NRA, that attention should be putting armed guards at every school, rather than seeking to limit the ability of people to obtain weapons. It also calls for tougher enforcement of existing gun laws, which Pollack agreed was necessary.

“A lot of the underground gun market could be stopped if we treated guns with the same amount of determination and tools as the drug market,” he said.

For example, Pollack noted how committing a crime with a gun brought additional charges, and he called for similar treatment for illegally possessing a firearm.

In a Google Hangout online chat on Thursday, a participant asked Obama how renewing the assault weapons ban would help reduce gun violence caused primarily by handguns.

He responded that his proposed package would affect handgun violence through the expanded background checks and cracking down on straw purchases. Renewing the weapons ban focused on what Obama called “weapons of war.”

“It’s not going to solve every problem,” the president continued, noting that some restrictions are already in place.

“We can’t purchase a grenade launcher from a store, although there may be some folks who want to buy those,” he said. “And the reason is we think on balance, the Second Amendment does not automatically assume that any weapon that’s available you can automatically purchase.”

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President Barack Obama stepped off Air Force One at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport Friday afternoon.

He was greeted by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and other officials.

From O’Hare, he was headed to Hyde Park Academy at 62nd and Stony Island, where he’ll give a speech at about 2:40 p.m. You can watch it on live on WGN-TV, CLTV or

The president will make the case for raising the federal minimum wage and investing in education. He’s also expected to propose ways to reduce gun violence by calling for improving education, social programs, and mental health services.


Local News

Obama coming to Chicago today

President Obama is on his way to Chicago right now (as of 12:30pm Friday) to offer his solutions to two major problems hurting our country: gun violence and the slumping economy.

The president is expected to arrive at O’Hare Airport around 1pm. From there, he’ll head to Hyde Park Academy at 62nd and Stony Island. web pic

The president will make the case for raising the federal minimum wage and investing in education. He’s also expected to propose ways to reduce gun violence by calling for improving education, social programs, and mental health services.

The president’s return to Chicago comes on the heels of Hadiya Pendleton’s death. She was shot and killed at a park in North Kenwood, which is just a mile from the president’s home.

20 male students at Hyde Park Academy will have the opportunity to meet the president. They were selected from a mentor and behavioral skills program.

“The city is chaos. We don’t have no order. Everybody dying everyday,” said John Perisee, a student at Hyde Park Academy who will have the chance to meet the president.

“The violence is getting out of hand around here. I’m glad he’s coming to show some respect and bring attention to it,” added Jamari Triggs, another student at Hyde Park Academy.

The president’s visit to Chicago is the final stop in a three-day trip. He also went to Atlanta, GA and Asheville, NC. He launched the trip the day after his State of the Union address on Tuesday.

WGN News Writer C. Hayes published this report.

President Barack Obama visits Chicago today.

obamainchicagoHe’s expected to visit the Hyde Park Academy on the South Side.

He’ll also have some remarks about the murder of Hadiya Pendleton.

Obama’s trip is part of a three state campaign tour.

He’ll push for gun control and other issues he promoted in his State of the Union address.

President Obama visiting Chicago Friday

President Barack Obama spoke at a Chicago school Friday about raising the minimum wage to $9 an hour.

President Obama will visit Hyde Park Academy Friday, the White House announced today.

The visit is part of the president’s plans to discuss proposals outlined in his State of the Union speech.

The event is for invited guests and closed to the general public.

President Barack Obama will visit Chicago Friday,  the White House announced Sunday.

According to a statement from the White House, the President will attend an event in the city “to discuss proposals, unveiled in the (State of the Union) speech, that focus on strengthening the economy for the middle class and those striving to get there.”

The Chicago Tribune reports that a White House official says Obama will “of course, also talk about the gun violence that has tragically affected too many families in communities across Chicago and across the country.”

Obama will also attend similar events in Asheville, North Carolina and Atlanta, Georgia.