- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 8, 2008

CHICAGO - After a marathon campaign that took them through every state and ended in victory, President-elect Barack Obama’s staffers finally have a weekend off - sort of.

Obama aides said Friday they expect to have their Blackberries turned off by Saturday, and the dissolving campaign said they expected no announcements because the Illinois Democrat wants his staff to get some well-earned rest.

Mr. Obama, who has been returning congratulatory calls from foreign leaders for several days, did not stray from his routine. He was working out at around 10:30 Saturday morning, according to a protective pool of reporters who follow him at all times.

Many of Mr. Obama’s top people have already moved into transition jobs or will make the switch in the next few days and a few said privately they still aren’t in a position to get much sleep because there is so much to do.

Then there is the celebrating.

Many of the staffers in their 30s and younger have never experienced a victory, this being their first campaign or having worked for failed presidential hopefuls Sen. John Kerry in 2004 and Vice President Al Gore in 2000.

The elation is clear as they enjoyed their time in Chicago, partying with the friends they have made since the campaign began as a longshot in January 2007.

There are also many aides who are working on getting the transition Web site, Change.gov, in order.

Obama staffers who still haven’t caught up on sleep have a lot to do - many of them are leaving swing states to return to normal lives, while others are boxing up the lives they built in Chicago and preparing to move to Washington where a transition headquarters will open Monday.

Mr. Obama and Michelle Obama will be in Washington Monday as well for a visit with President Bush at the White House; his wife will begin scouting schools for their two daughters.

Obama’s campaign manager and director of advance both welcomed babies into the world this week.

David Plouffe’s wife had their second child just after the election; Advance Director Emmett Beliveau’s wife had their first child on Monday. He was right back to work at the Election Night celebration in Chicago and staffed the first press conference of the president-elect Friday.

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