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Obama goes to Chicago for Oprah, NYC for money

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CHICAGO (AP) - President Barack Obama flew home to Chicago on Wednesday to help his pal and supporter Oprah Winfrey close out her syndicated talk show with a "big get" _ an interview with him.

Obama and his wife, Michelle, took turns answering Winfrey's questions during a taped interview at her studio, her first in 25 years with a sitting president and first lady.

Winfrey has announced that she's ending her top-rated program on May 25 after a quarter-century on television.

The Obamas' interview is scheduled to air on Monday.

The president's day of politicking was continuing later Wednesday with travel to New York for his first fundraising sweep of the city since announcing his re-election bid this month. Three Democratic Party fundraisers were scheduled across midtown Manhattan, including an event at the home of financier and former New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine and a dinner at The Waldorf-Astoria hotel. Obama was not due back at the White House until the wee hours of Thursday.

Winfrey's relationship with the Obamas dates to their days in Chicago.

Most notably, she lent her credibility and celebrity status to his 2008 presidential campaign with her first-ever political endorsement. She joined him at campaign rallies that drew supporters by the thousands, raised money for him and cheered for him at the Democratic National Convention.

On election night, she was seen weeping in the crowd during Obama's victory speech in downtown Chicago.

"Her show is coming to a conclusion of a terrific run," White House spokesman Jay Carney said. Obama "considers Oprah a friend and he looks forward to being on the show."

Corzine, who lost his political job in 2009 despite Obama's efforts to help him get re-elected, is a former chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs. He has deep ties to the financial industry, which felt battered by Obama's rhetoric blaming the financial crisis on "fat cat" Wall Street bankers. The industry also chafed at the subsequent overhaul of financial regulations.

Corzine now heads MF Global Inc., a financial services firm, and Obama has begun trying to repair his relations with the business sector.

From Corzine's home, Obama heads to Park Avenue for a dinner at The Waldorf-Astoria, followed by a concert-style event at the Town Hall theater primarily for his younger supporters and featuring The Roots, a hip-hop band from Philadelphia.

Since he became a candidate for re-election on April 4, Obama has embarked on an aggressive inaugural fundraising tour that included three events in Chicago on April 14 and six events spread over two days last week in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Obama raised $750 million for the 2008 campaign and hopes to top that for his re-election.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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