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

Obama: 'I choked up'

President-elect Obama told reporters he got a little emotion Sunday as he left Chicago to move to Washington.

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. bekah

    please help us GOD! america has made the worst choice ever. i can not blv how america has turned her back on GOD! remember... you might want what you get... but when you get it.. will you really want it? for the not so smart people... i am talkin bout OBAMA

    January 4, 2009 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  2. Fernando

    People! We need to be together as a NATION now more than ever!! Lets put aside our differences and lets pull all together forward.

    January 4, 2009 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  3. lean

    I voted for the other guy, but I really hope President Obama does a great job. It's a very exciting time for him and the country.

    January 4, 2009 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  4. TCM

    Brenda, get a grip on yourself...
    Obama's all choked up? Too bad he just didn't choke, along with the rest of you liberals....although, that nauseated feeling will be upon you when you realize that you've elected someone who's way in over their head...the stupidity still amazes me; how so many voters (can't really call them Americans for supporting this charade) are totally fooled...and don't question anything about this guy....case in point; he merely gets on TV and says, "There was nothing inappropriate said between his staff and Gov Blag..." and you Lemmings believe it...our country is in sad shape when there's this many people who, agreeably want change, as I do, but will go the extreme of electing someone who's totally inexperienced; especially during these treacherous times. His policies won't only ruin our economy further, he'll endanger our very lives with his waffling and resistance to closing the borders. The radical muslims welcome him; because he's weak.....and that's what they want.

    January 4, 2009 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  5. Bob - RFO

    We will be with you!

    January 4, 2009 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  6. four characters

    yes, lee, he is actually going to be president. that is what happens when you win in a landslide. you actually get to be the president. although he has acted more presidential than w. ever did...

    January 4, 2009 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  7. Canadian observer

    wow what's with the haters... grow up

    January 4, 2009 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  8. TCM

    Jon –
    Thank heavens he's willing to leave his Chicago home and try to clean up the big mess created by the previous administration. We need him.

    Have you any clue about the devastation he's leaving behind in Chicago? Here's some nuggets for you; 10.25% sales tax rate....higher murder rate there, than soldiers killed in Iraq in 2008....known for "Chicago style," political corruption...Shady Rezko...Shady Blag...dealings...

    And you want him to clean up Bush's mess? Considering the magnitude and scales of difference...look at Chicago, and then imagine the rest of the country like that....Bush didn't make a mess; the liberal puke congress did...thank Pelosi, Reid, Dodd, and "I'll vote present," Obama for that!

    So many liberals are in the dark....

    January 4, 2009 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  9. Eugene

    May the haters be converted to constructive builders. If you don't approve of President Obama, fine. Go ahead and so something positive for your country in the next four years, and both sides will be grateful and happy.

    January 4, 2009 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  10. Bob

    May God Bless and guide our new President. This Christian will be praying for him, his family and this country. A new beginning is at hand. Everyone needs to pull together and start working towards a better country and planet.

    God Bless all.

    January 4, 2009 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  11. Bill in Houston

    On Jan 20th an amazing event will occur, one that many Americans fail to truly understand. A smooth transition of power will occur as one party leaves the Presidency and another takes the oath of office.

    There will no tanks in the streets, no riots, no military takeovers..... just a short ceremony to mark the occasion.

    So my fellow American's, on both the left and the right, enjoy this moment, for it makes us unique.

    You can go back to attacking each other on the 21st. As for me. I did not vote for President Obama, but I wish him the best.

    January 4, 2009 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  12. MC

    Please tell me it was a reporter and not Obama that misspelled "through/thru" in that quote. Bye bye, B, Chicago will miss you!

    January 4, 2009 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  13. Mike

    Lee,
    I am kinda sad that you didn't actually puke.

    January 4, 2009 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  14. jj

    I am coming on Jan 15 to dc, see you there Mr. President elect!

    January 4, 2009 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  15. Brenda C

    Didn't take any questions from reporters uh? Don't think he'll answer any of you when he lands in Washington. One of you might ask him what he thinks about Israel. He has no answer.

    Israel worried about obama presidency:
    News article reports why Israel's worried.

    As for our president-elect, his all-too-coy insistence that "we have only one president at a time" has been selective from the start. Glad to pontificate on stimulus packages and union benefits, Obama has used the one-president mantra to avoid taking stands on difficult issues that bedevil or bewilder him.

    Our president-elect needed to make a clear, prompt statement in support of Israel. He didn't. If I were an Israeli leader, I'd be worried, too.

    Obama's notorious for avoiding firm stands that might alienate any important constituency. But you can't have it both ways in the Middle East. He needs to stand up in support of Israel. Now.

    Israeli soldiers should not have to go into battle worrying about an American bullet in the back.

    January 4, 2009 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  16. GO GET A LIFE

    My oh my you Obama haters are back again from whatever rocks you crawled out from.He will be YOUR president and there's nothing you can do but keep whining like a bunch of losers.Oh and Ken H you better hope that he doesn't fall flat on his decieving face as you put it because we need Obama to restore what we've lost in the past eight years in this country if that is at all possible and if it is restored Obama will be the one to do so .Oh and by the way what faith are you because the last time I heard you can be of christian faith but not have the same beliefs... Christian Science is a faith and their faith of healing is through God not professional medical treatment so does that make them not a christian.And as far as Obama supporting abortion and gay rights even though there are millions that share his beliefs it is not you that shall judge him it is God....PS in the future check your spelling ...it's hope not hoe you HOE

    January 4, 2009 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  17. EB

    Welcome to Washington, Mr. President- Elect....May God bless and protect you and your family....I can't wait to be part of your inauguration festivites.

    January 4, 2009 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  18. DJ

    No matter who you voted for it is important that ALL AMERICANS back this new president – the best choice – because he and his administration have a lot to fix. Many years not only the past 8 created the problems we all are facing today. We need to reunite as a people and forget who is what and try to fix our great country...God Bless America and all of us who live here.

    January 4, 2009 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  19. Tom Wing

    Wow, if you're getting choked up over a scrapbook and a house, we are SCREWED. how are we supposed to feel safe if you can't even hold your own against a fancy picture book? Scary. God help us all.

    January 4, 2009 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  20. CS

    Good luck and God speed, Mr. President!

    And I hope that your precious little girls have a wonderful first day of school tomorrow!

    January 4, 2009 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  21. Badboy

    I heard this when I was very young and it is still true today;
    a friend said that it didn't matter who you elect...you just replace one crook with another. Bush is being replaced with another scumbag crook. Obama has already had more scandal than any of them and he isn't even in DC yet. What a joke!!! He and those scumbags will continue the tradition of spending money from our great grand children and our country will suffer. If you Obummer nuts think he is the great savior...you may be in for a rude awakening!

    January 4, 2009 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  22. Virginia Republican

    Well, bless his little heart.....he's moving into the biggest house in America and will have every need met 24/7. What more could one ask for? Hopefully he won't look a gift horse in the mouth and screw all of us!

    January 4, 2009 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  23. CHICAGO!

    tkelson, I completely agree with you. =D
    No, seriously – I am an Obama supporter and I partially understand how he feels. How would you feel if you left the one place that was absolute HOME for you?
    Good Bless Obama and all the leaders in the world – let us pray that they make the right choices.
    For people who do not like Obama, I just want to encourage, TRYING to embrace it – he will be our president no matter what – why can't people TRY to at least ACCEPT this fact?

    January 4, 2009 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  24. Ed Kasprzycki

    Why get all choked I'm sure Rezko can keep an eye on his house for him - I mean he will only be away for 4 short years - unless the Supremes intervene by the 20th.

    1 20 2009 the beginning of an error

    1 20 2013 the end of an error

    Now as President he can visit all 57 states and figure out when we begin to have human rights...

    His first official act - pardoning Blago

    January 4, 2009 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  25. Caroline

    That's how I felt when I moved from Orange County to be nearer to my mom in L.A. It was a tough move, torn between my needs, the desires of my children, and my mom's needs as she grew older and more frail.

    They don't call us The Sandwich Generation for nothing when we get into our 40s and 50s and juggle caring for parents and children. In Obama's case, he's been transferred. Also always a tough move.

    January 4, 2009 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
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