Top of the Ticket

Political commentary from the LA Times

« Previous Post | Top of the Ticket Home | Next Post »

Soccer is more like it for Barack Obama

July 2, 2008 | 11:54 am

Barack Obama frequently bemoans that the biggest downside for him about running for the world's most important job is the amount of time he's away from his two young daughters, but lately he's worked more family time into his schedule.

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama practices soccer with a boy before setling in to watch his own daughter, Malia, play a game in their Chicago neighborhood He spent much of last weekend on the home front in Chicago -- foregoing, somewhat surprisingly, a nearby meeting of the centrist Democratic Leadership Council. And Tuesday night, he got to watch his eldest daugther, Malia, play soccer (working it in after delivering a speech in Ohio on how he would operate the faith-based initiative started by President Bush and before traveling today to Colorado to talk about how he would run a national service program).

The Times' Peter Nicholas was near Obama as the candidate and his wife, Michelle, sauntered onto the athletic field at the University of Illinois at Chicago, well prepared with matching bags containing fold-up chairs.

Nicholas reports that when the Obamas arrived, some friends and acquaintances came over to shake hands or hug them. But after that, they were largely left alone -- there was a game to watch, after all.

Before the action began, Obama playfully kicked a ball around with a small boy. And, Nicholas relates, he showed far more dexterity than he exhibited in that Altoona, Pa., bowling alley a few months back.

During a break in Malia’s game, she wandered over to the sidelines and Obama offered some pointers on proper kicking form. And as play proceeded, his younger daughter, Sasha, sat in his lap for awhile.

Obama's night was not completely given over to recreation, however. About 9 p.m. (CDT), he arrived at his campaign headquarters for a confab that lasted a more than two hours. Presumably, the kids were in bed when he returned home.

-- Don Frederick

Photo credit: Associated Press