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Even in Chicago, residents wanted more from Obama

• Don Babwin via Associated Press
Even in President Barack Obama's hometown, they had hoped for more.

Obama will be stumping for Senate candidate and basketball buddy Alexi Giannoulias on Thursday in Chicago, a city where every other person crossing the street seems to have a story about descending on Grant Park that historic night of the 2008 election or proudly watching the president take the oath on television.

But nearly two years after Obama took office, while the president remains widely popular in the city, his image has slipped a bit as many people wonder where the promised change and jobs are, even if they believe such talk is probably a bit unfair.

"I talk to people, you know, who thought he would just have a magic wand," said Ira Acree, a pastor on the city's South Side, where Obama worked as a community organizer, taught law and still has a house.

Across the city this week, many Chicagoans acted a bit defensive or protective of Obama, who considers Chicago home despite being born in Hawaii. Obama has only visited a handful of times since he left for the White House, but his adopted hometown seems more willing to give him a pass than other places around the nation.

"They want him to succeed, unlike some places where they want him to fail," said Abner Mikva, a veteran political figure in Chicago, where's he been a Democratic congressman, federal appeals judge and political mentor to Obama. "Because he's ours."

Around Illinois, which leans strongly Democratic, Obama's approval ratings have fallen in some polls — to 51 percent from 59 percent a year ago, according to a Tribune/WGN-TV survey in September.

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