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President Obama's week ahead: What you'll see and read

February 8, 2009 |  1:24 am

The Barack Obama presidential family will return to their Chicago home for the upcoming holiday weekend

A busy week of campaigning in store for the new president as he tries to seize back the initiative in the ongoing national debate over the economic spending, er, economic stimulus package.

The Obamas spent their first night at the Camp David presidential retreat in Maryland on Saturday and will return late this afternoon.

Monday morning the president will fly to Elkhart, Ind. which just so happens to be hard hit by new unemployment. There, in a noon-hour townhall meeting, he'll talk up his economic stimulus legislation in time for the networks to assemble their film packages for the evening news. Listen for more depressing economic data and talk of urgency.

He'll return to the White House in time for a 5 p.m. Pacific nationally-televised press conference, which will allow him to dominate the Tuesday morning news cycle too.

Tuesday: Same deal, only he flies down to Fort Myers, Florida to highlight the increased unemployment in that politically crucial state. Back to his own bed that night and Wednesday in the Oval Office. Sometime in here soon someone will be told to leak word of the president's latest nominee to run the Department of Health and Human Services, since Tom "I Had a Back-Tax Problem" Daschle withdrew his name last week.

Thursday, however, Obama will travel again, flying out to Springfield, Ill., to celebrate the 200th birthday of the nation's first Republican president, Abraham Lincoln, who wasn't really an Illinois native but try to tell that to Springfield where his history and tomb are a local industry.

(Did you know, btw, robbers actually tried to steal the 16th president's body for ransom in 1876? Look it up. And that explains why after being moved 17 times over the years his remains were permanently encased in 10 feet of concrete in 1901.)

Obama will speak at a Lincoln banquet Thursday in the suddenly Blagojevich-less city where the 44th president once was present in the state legislature. In that same city, Obama launched his hopelessly longshot presidential campaign almost exactly two years ago after disinviting at the last minute someone named Jeremiah Wright from giving the campaign's opening invocation.

Back home again for the night. On Friday after work, as the president-elect indicated he would do every six weeks or so, he will pick up the family. And the Hawaiian native will take them back to their South Side home in balmy Chicago to get away from the awful Washington winter for the long holiday weekend.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo credit: Associated Press