- ‘I Am Alive’ app gains popularity in terror-ravaged Lebanon
- Gun giveaways gain popularity among Republican candidates
- S.C. hospital worker slapped with $525 federal fine for refilling $0.89 soda
- Teen from ‘Jihad Jane’ plot becomes youngest ever to serve time on U.S. terror charges
- Iranian woman forgives son’s killer at the gallows
- Nebraska principal sorry for ‘don’t tattle’ flier
- Illinois readies to spend $100M for Obama museum in Chicago
- John Edwards back in court — this time as a lawyer for Va. boy’s malpractice case
- Covered California reports more than 200K in overtime Obamacare sign-ups
- Thanks, Chuck: Hagel says U.S. sending Ukraine sleeping mats, helmets
Obama: I couldn’t sleep in my own Chicago bed
CHICAGO — President Obama praised Chicago police Monday for their handling of several days worth of clashes with anti-government protesters during the city’s NATO summit, and asked for sympathy from frustrated Chicagoans because he wasn’t able to sleep in his own bed.
“Chicago police, Chicago’s finest, did a great job under some difficult pressure and a lot of scrutiny,” Mr. Obama said at a news conference as the summit concluded. He said the protests, traffic delays and disruptions of daily life downtown were “part of the price of being a world city.”
To those city residents and workers who had to endure road closures and other inconveniences, Mr. Obama requested they put themselves in his slippers, saying he wasn’t able to go back to his home in the Hyde Park neighborhood.
“If it makes those folks feel any better, despite being 15 minutes away from my house, nobody would let me go home,” the president said. “I was thinking I would be able to sleep in my own bed tonight, but they said I would cause even worse traffic, so I ended up staying in a hotel — which contributes to the Chicago economy.”
“I know that hosting a big international event like this will cause some inconvenience for the citizens of Chicago. I apologize for that,” Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in a briefing with reporters.
Mr. Obama pushed for Chicago to host the conference, as well as a Group of Eight nations summit. Organizers eventually moved the G-8 meeting to Camp David, partly out of concern that holding both international conferences in Chicago in succession would draw too many protesters to the Windy City.
Thousands of demonstrators descended on Chicago anyway, culminating in violent clashes with police Sunday as groups of demonstrators marched toward the convention site and another location where first lady Michelle Obama held an event. There were scenes on local TV of riot police using shields to push back demonstrators, and of some protesters being bloodied.
Some demonstrators hurled bottles at police. Dozens were arrested.
Earlier in the week, police raided an apartment in Chicago and charged several men with plotting to attack Mr. Obama’s campaign headquarters, as well as the home of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and other sites, with Molotov cocktails.
On Monday, protesters again gathered on streets downtown, chanting slogans against the aerospace giant Boeing, banks, NATO and Mr. Emanuel, who served as Mr. Obama’s White House chief of staff. They accused the mayor of being “pro-war” referred to him as a “1 percenter” — the term that Occupy protesters reserve for Wall Street titans — for spending millions to host NATO instead of on social programs.
Demonstrators also gathered outside Mr. Obama’s re-election headquarters, located in a gleaming high-rise office building near the lakefront.
Mr. Rasmussen said Monday he had “reached out” to various protest groups, which included the Occupy movement and anarchists, to exchange views.
“One of my assistant secretary-generals met with representatives of the protest groups so that they could convey their views directly to NATO,” Mr. Rasmussen said. “We also got an opportunity to explain where we stand, explain about the values on which our alliance is based. I think that’s in the spirit of a true democracy.”
The NATO chief said he doesn’t believe the protests have hurt Chicago’s image.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Dave Boyer is a White House correspondent for The Washington Times. A native of Allentown, Pa., Boyer worked for the Philadelphia Inquirer from 2002 to 2011 and also has covered Congress for the Times. He is a graduate of Penn State University. Boyer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Skeptics on all sides take aim of John Kerry's tentative deal on Ukraine
- Obama commutes drug dealer's sentence because of clerical error
- U.S. military on high alert as Ukraine troops trade gunfire with pro-Russian militants
- Obama calls for prayer on anniversary of Boston Marathon bombing
- Obama urges Putin to defuse Russian separatism in Ukraine
Latest Blog Entries
- Obama and Boehner congratulate U.S. men's hockey on win over Russia
- Americans say income gap will shrink if government butts out, poll shows
- WH spokesman Jay Carney recognizes beard's 'insufficiency,' shaves it off
- Obama misses deadline again on budget
- Biden burns rubber in driveway, laments road restrictions
TWT Video Picks
By Joy Overbeck
Redemption by government is futile
- Joe Biden's first Instagram pic mocked as shill for sunglass ad
- BOLTON: A 'three-state solution' for Middle East peace
- Jews being told to register in Ukraine: John Kerry
- Obama taunts GOP, takes nationally televised victory lap on Obamacare
- Inside China: Marine's comment on islands draws sharp Chinese response
- WEBER: Obamacare cuts home healthcare for millions of seniors
- Army goes to war with National Guard, seizes Apache attack helicopters
- Atheists rush to stage Easter display: 'Jesus Christ is a myth'
- Cliven Bundy's Nevada ranch wrecked by retreating feds
- Rand and Ron Paul ride to the rescue for Bundy in Nevada standoff with feds
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.