January 4th, 2009
07:42 PM ET
14 years ago

Obama: 'I choked up'

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/04/art.bodepart0104.gi.jpg caption="President-elect Obama told reporters he got a little emotion Sunday as he left Chicago to move to Washington."]
(CNN) – President-elect Barack Obama showed a little of his softer side as he said his goodbyes to Chicago, the city that launched his political career, and headed to Washington to join his wife and two daughters.

“I choked up a little bit leaving my house today,” Obama told reporters as his flight prepared to depart.

The moment was brought on by a reminder of the years Obama and his family spent in the Windy City.

The president-elect told his traveling press corps that he got emotional because a friend of his oldest daughter, Malia, had dropped off a scrapbook of pictures to the Obama’s Chicago home.

“They had been friends since preschool and I just looked through the pages and the house was empty and it was a little tough,” Obama said. “It got me.”

The president-elect did not linger long enough to take any questions from reporters. Instead, he returned to his cabin in the aircraft where he ordered a cheeseburger and fries, according to Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs.

Before leaving Chicago, Obama also met Air Force Col. Scott Turner, who will pilot Air Force One once Obama is inaugurated.

“I am looking forward to seeing you guys in Washington,” Obama also told reporters before they boarded the plane.

WATCH: Obama lands in Washington

soundoff (471 Responses)
  1. richard

    I am proud of My America, your America. The united states of America. Yes we did it!

    January 5, 2009 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  2. Tom in ATL

    Man, we're reading about Michelle and Captain B's dates and now Obama's up-chuck reflexes. Pretty soon the media will be telling us how much he loves Spagetti-O's. Who needs a solid leader when we can all bask in how "awesome" Obama is? Maybe he'll use his basketball skills to help settle the fighting in Gaza. After four years could I really be obsessed with him the way the liberal media is... nah.

    January 5, 2009 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  3. jerry

    Chicago politics comes to Washington now. We can expect more scandals. I wonder if Jeremiah Wright will be invited to Washignton…

    I think Texas politics didn't serve us well and chicago politics just happens not to be media controlling. They are honest, thank God after those 8 years we can say,
    Hello America or it is a new dawn in America!

    January 5, 2009 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  4. Blue balloons

    Fifteen days, and this tragic dark era for America ends, and a bright new day brimming with optimism will dawn for our great nation as Barack Obama is sworn in on Inauguration Day. We're with you, Obama! 100%!

    January 5, 2009 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  5. EK


    ken January 4th, 2009 9:57 pm ET


    January 5, 2009 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  6. Ilene

    Wow - this was such a touching story. You see, this is a different man for the job - one who feels and cares and chokes up when seeing the emotion in the moment. What a real person we're getting as our new President. I am so excited.

    January 5, 2009 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  7. Cathy

    Godspeed, President Obama! I too have felt more hope in the last two months than I have in the last eight years. We have your back and are grateful that you are willing to take on the mess you will inherit. Blessings to you and your beautiful family.

    January 5, 2009 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  8. Plazby

    Ed Henry is always on top of these stories ... it's nice to have some high-powered journalism at a broadcast outlet like CNN and not just pretty faces. Fifteen years of print reporting before he sought out a camera seems to have made a difference. And he gets the personal angle of these charmed yet flawed people who work in politics, without judging them. Nice work CNN. And some people think he has a pretty face. Not me.

    January 5, 2009 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  9. No Hillary = No Obama

    I don't know what he's choking up about – he'll be back in 4 years, if not sooner.

    January 5, 2009 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  10. fat john

    Good luck President Obama.
    Be safe.

    January 5, 2009 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  11. John

    Godspeed Mr. President. I can't believe I can say that 🙂

    January 5, 2009 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  12. joan

    I got a crash with Obama!

    January 5, 2009 12:41 am at 12:41 am |

    I love cheeseburgers and fries.

    Barack, you're gonna do great. I am confident in your judgement.

    May God Bless the United States of America and all its inhabitants therein.

    January 5, 2009 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  14. MIKE LA


    I agree that ignoring the ignorant hate mongers comments is best. Well for us with brains and intellect. I do however think that the Obama admin. should use the Patriot Act that Bush set up to monitor the hate spewing hillbillies and send them to a new Gitmo if need be.

    Bless you Obama, just be an honest president, keep your cabinet and employees clean and accountable. It will be nice to have a president who wasn't born with a silver spoon in their mouth for "ONCE".

    January 5, 2009 12:42 am at 12:42 am |
  15. Dallas for

    GOD bless you and your beautilful family. We love you all. I have no doubt in my mind that you will do great things for our country. I sure there were emotions tied to leaving your Chicago home.. you had years vested and many treasured memoris.
    Can't wait until January 20th. Even though I can't be there in person...but takint that day off forsure. At least I can be in front of my 52',HDTV. All the naysayers should be grateful that we will finally have a man who happens to be an Africian American who is well-spoken, intelligent and community organizer (sumptin like the mayor of Wasilla LOL) And most of all Mr President Obama is easy on the eyes.
    My prayer to GOD... protect President Obama and keep his family safe.
    Can wait to see Michelle gown....I know she will look fabulous!.

    January 5, 2009 12:42 am at 12:42 am |
  16. rick

    I am a U.S. Army vet, and I can't understand why any "American" is not hoping and praying that "OUR" new president will be a great leader. Do you not realize that we are losing our jobs, homes, families,our financial status is in chaos, and our men and women(due to war). Yeah, he's black, yeah he may not have the experience, etc, etc. Please pray that God bless the U.S. and our leaders!! I would be happy if a 10yr old could pull us out of this funk we are in!! We need to get our homes, jobs, financial system, etc. back in order!! I don't care about party this, color that, miss me with that. We need to focus on unity and achieving some goals to help "Americans"

    January 5, 2009 12:43 am at 12:43 am |
  17. Charlize

    The new president elect is just as human as anybody else; he and his family are leaving their roots to move into a new life, and he shows emotion about it. Nothing wrong about that. Yet, racist bigots, Obama haters (the great minority, 20% or less of the population) who consider him less than human, only because of his and his family's color, take this chance to say stupid things like "I wish him to choke up to death", because they can't believe a non-white will be their president. Thank God these brain-damaged minorities are becoming less and less every day. The proof: Obma,a won. People with brains prevailed!

    January 5, 2009 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  18. Sanity has returned

    Good luck President Elect Obama and family. Our prayers are with you and your family. I look forward to seeing you and your beautiful family in the White House. May god continue to bless you with his great wisdom when you have to make difficult choices and strength when the opposition attack you. Reading this thread makes me very angry as well as sad when any American wishes our President any physical harm or ill will or failure. We are all in this together. Our individual success depends on our Country's success. God Bless America

    January 5, 2009 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  19. Former Republican








    January 5, 2009 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  20. lindy

    The vitriol is astounding. Bashing Obama instead of coming together has become so unflattering to the rallying of the nation we should be exhibiting . What a detriment to this country. It can serve no purpose then to divide us further. We need to pull together for the common good.

    It drives me crazy when the GOP can't decide to pull for Obama or bash him out of pure ideology. Are you kidding me? Grow up people.

    We are in serious, serious trouble and he has some good ideas. if they don't coincide with your own ideas that's the way it is. Nothing could be worse then the last eight years. Nothing could be worse then McCain and the numskull Joe the plumber or Palin an example of motherhood no one would admire.

    January 5, 2009 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  21. Maryellen

    God bless the Obama family and to all the horrible people with such hateful and horrible comments find your place somewhere else. After 8 years of hell I find it hard to believe you could find fault with change!

    January 5, 2009 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
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