Fueling up for a Sunday of birthday-themed fundraisers...
President Obama dined out with close friends in his hometown of Chicago on Saturday night, relaxing ahead of a packed day of fundraising events scheduled for Sunday. He arrived via motorcade shortly after 6:30 PM at Piccolo Sogno Due, a moderately priced Italian restaurant that specializes in regional cuisine and seafood, located on North Clark Street in the River North neighborhood. Dinner came after Mr. Obama spent close to three hours on Saturday afternoon visiting his campaign headquarters in the Prudential Plaza building. The action was closed to press, but David Axelrod tweeted the blurry photo above of the President in action, writing "POTUS drops in on Chicago HQ, and fires up the team!"
Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett was among the President's dinner companions, according to pool. The dinner lasted close to two hours, with Mr. Obama and his party leaving the restaurant at 8:25 PM and traveling via speeding motorcade along the closed Lakeshore Drive to his Hyde Park home, which was surrounded with a heavy security presence. The President will sleep in his own bed tonight.
As the President arrived home from dinner, a group of people holding a banner wishing him a belated 'happy birthday' was spotted outside his home. Tomorrow, Mr. Obama will throw a birthday-themed fundraiser in his backyard, with tickets at $40,000/person. It is one of five fundraisers he will attend. Mr. Obama turned 51 on August 4th.
The President arrived at his Campaign HQ shortly before 3:00 PM on Saturday, and had "his regular weekly political meeting with staff," said Campaign Press Secretary Jen Psaki. Saturday was a big day for the campaign, with the President's opposition now fully identified; presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney named Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) as his running mate. The Obama campaign aggressively responded.
The moderately priced Piccolo Sogno Due (entrees range from $12-$24) opened in July, and specializes in "regional Italian cuisine with an emphasis on seafood." President Obama had a wide variety to choose from: There's everything from grilled Ahi tuna, baked monkfish, baked sardines, braised salt cod, sauteed pike, to grilled calamari on the dinner menu. Owner/partners are Tony Priolo and Ciro Longobardo; the chef is Todd Stein.
The President will be in Chicago until Monday, when he will travel to Iowa to begin a three-day bus tour. In addition to Psaki and Jarrett, White House aides in Chicago with the President include Dan Pfeiffer, David Plouffe, Alyssa Mastromonaco, Jon Favreau and Marvin Nicholson.
Info: Piccolo Sogno Due is at 340 North Clark Street, Chicago, Illinois, 60642. Phone: 312-822-0077.