President Obama arrived in Evanston about 12:45 this afternoon for a speech at Northwestern University’s Cahn Auditorium.

The president traveled by helicopter from a Chicago fundraising event for Gov. Pat Quinn this morning, landing on Northwestern’s lakefill campus.

His motorcade then traveled down Sheridan Road, switching to Foster Street and Orrington Avenue to arrive at the stage entrance of Cahn Auditorium on Emerson Street.

His speech was streamed live online and a replay is available here.

A crowd that police estimated at 100 to 150 protesters gathered down the block and across the street from Cahn at the NU Arch at Sheridan Road and Chicago Avenue, out of site of the route used by the president.

Many of the protesters, carrying signs urging the president to “Keep Families Together” were from the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights and objected to the governments deportation policies. Others had a range of other complaints — from the size of the national debt to the cost of a college education.

But the protesters could be heard by a line of Kellogg Graduate School of Management students — some in their business suits — along with other guests who had managed to snag a ticket to the presidents address — waiting in a line that stretched two blocks to Clark Street to pass through security checks into the auditorium.

State Sen. Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) was among a number of local elected officials who turned out for the speech.

The president speaking at Cahn Auditorium in an image from the live webcast.

The president’s speech started close to the scheduled 1:15 p.m. time.

He got big applause when he told the audience “In America economic opportunity has never trickled down from the top. It grows from rising opportunities for middle class and working people.”

The president also recounted a series of economic indicators that show the economy doing much better than when he entered office six years ago, but said much more still needs to be done.

He called for more investment in infrastructure improvements, making it easier for first-time home buyers to get loans, continued investment in clean energy technology and provision of high quality preschool for every child.

And, to substantial applause from the largely student audeince, he also called for making it easier to pay off college loans.

He said the nation needs to fix its broken immigration system, invest more in basic research, raise the minimum wage and assure equal pay for women.

With interest in the president’s speech far exceeding the 1,000-seat capacity of Cahn Auditorium, the university set up other locations around campus where students could watch the president on video monitors.

And by 2:15 p.m. his motorcade was speeding back up Sheridan Road past the Kellogg School of Management building where students were waiting to snap mobile phone pictures.

Some spectators said they saw the president wave to the crowd from behind the tinted glass of his car.

By 2:22 p.m. his marine helicopter was taking off from Northwestern’s lakefill campus, heading back go Gary’s airport, where he had arrived in the Chicago area Wednesday evening, and a return flight to Washington.

(Photos by Bill Smith, Charles Bartling and Genie Lemieux-Jordan.)

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. Obama Spam

    This was a waste of time, as I expected. It was a standard political campaign speech, full half-truths, jokes, and finger pointing. It certainly was lacking in the facts department.  It was of no use to the Business School students that attended. I guess you can say that it looked like something that you should be watching on Comedy Central. It was shorter than one half of a college business school class.

    Based on what Obama did in Evanston, he should not be able to charge off the expenses of this trip to the taxpayers. The trip expense should be paid for by Obama, the DMC, or the Quinn campaign; or should be shared amoung all three.

    1. Not This Canard Again

      What the current President has done is no different than what any past President has. 




       "When determining the nature of a trip, the White House follows the reasoning of the Office of Legal Counsel in the Department of Justice, which, in 1982, recommended that: “As a general rule, Presidential and Vice Presidential travel should be considered ‘political’ if its primary purpose involves their [the President’s and Vice President’s] positions as leaders of their political party. Appearing at party functions, fundraising, and campaigning for specific candidates are the  principal examples of travel which should be considered political. On the other hand, travel for inspections, meetings, non-partisan addresses, and the like ordinarily should not be considered ‘political’ travel even though [these activities] may have partisan consequences or concern questions on which opinion is politically divided. The President cannot perform his official duties effectively without the understanding, confidence, and support of the public. Travel and appearances by the President and Vice President to present, explain, and secure public support for the Administration’s measures are therefore an inherent part of the President’s and Vice President’s official duties.” 6 Op. O.L.C. (1982), p. 217

      1. This was clearly a political

        This was clearly a political speech. This is the same type of speech obama has given when he is campaigning or when he is campaigning for his party. It was very much like his speech at quinn's rally. There was nothing to offer the Northwestern Business School. Besides he knows nothing about the business world, as well as, foreign or domestic policy. Both have bee a disaster. He has destroyed America's respect everywhere on this planet.

        Tell you what, obama pays for all political trips and we'll pay for a bus and he can throw his associates under it.

    2. It was always obvious—

      The NU speech was a cover so that neither his, Quinn or DNC would have to pay for all the costs.  It should not been expected that he would say anything.  I guess Quinn was more important than ISIS, Ebola, Ukraine !

      Besides all the travel, security, etc. costs, what about the costs to Evanston in disruption.

      At least we got to see the yahoos out—"good(?) press" for Evanston ?  Help our image with business, families and students who want to come to Evanston ?

      1. As American As…

        Regardless of who is US president, the spectacle of experiencing one visiting your beloved home town is as doggone patriotic as all the other "Real American" things we pay lip service to. The visit was especially poignant to those of us who witnessed US Senate candidate Barack Obama instantly invigorate the 2005 July 4 crowds on Central Street, which led to those ubiquitous Obama lawn signs throughout Chicago, Evanston, and subsequently Illinois, leading to his election in 2006. In 2008, that same spirit and those lawn signs spread through the rest of the country and inspired the majority to vote him president–twice. Regardless of what you think of his presidential legacy (or the complications you suffer from any Obama Derangement Syndrome), Obama's visit yesterday provided much reflection for those who have followed his political career since that hot July day when he seemingly came out of nowhere and got a lot of people excited about participating in our government. 

        Here's an exciting clip from yesterday's arrival. You can hate Obama, but you can't hate the majesty, power, and show of force displayed by the office of the US president. 



        1. Billyjoe,


          You may worship obama as a god but the reality is his first 6 years in office have been a shame and a FAIL. He has shown that he knows little about a lot of things, especially foreign and domestic policy. He has reduced respect for America to all time lows around the world. Domesticly, his policies delayed economic recovery for about 2 years. He always blames somebody else for his failures. He spent nearly a trillion dollars on shoval ready projects only to get zero results and, to one of his few credits, he joked that he finally realized that there was no shovel ready projects.

          You just need to get a grip on reality and realize that obama was like a meteor, a bright shooting star that quickly burned itself out and reality set in, he was a terrible president.

          Hopefully he is the last of the extremely bad presidents. He is in the running as a group that is in a dead heat for the modern day worst. In my opinion, that group includes: Ford, Carter, and obama.  I don't include Clinton or Nixon because their policies were mostly good and their personal judgements were pretty bad.

          I hope people do not judge him on his race but on his poor policies that have damaged our country to a great degree. There are many other minority people who would make fine presidents but I do not see any in the running at this time. I hope that obama did not damage their chances in the future.

          1. Reagan was worse

            If you disagree with Obama of course you think he is a bad president.  Others think he has been very good because they like his policies. Many do not think, based on facts, that he delayed economic recovery. Delay was caused by republicans refusing to do anything Obama wanted.  They announced this the day he as sworn into office.  I think Reagan was one of the worst presidents in the last 50 years. 

          2. Obama’s excessive spending

            Obama's excessive spending was done when he had control of both the Senate and the House. He admitted that most of 1 trillion dollars was waisted because there were no shoval ready projects. The real recovery began when democrats lost the house and the wild spending was toned down. FDR had the same problem. The depression started to end when when WWII started up in Europe and our mass manufactoring went wild in the USA.

          3. Obama’s excessive spending

            Obama's excessive spending was done when he had control of both the Senate and the House. He admitted that most of 1 trillion dollars was waisted because there were no shoval ready projects. The real recovery began when democrats lost the house and the wild spending was toned down. FDR had the same problem. The depression started to end when when WWII started up in Europe and our mass manufactoring went wild in the USA.

          4. Obama’s excessive spending

            Obama's excessive spending was done when he had control of both the Senate and the House. He admitted that most of 1 trillion dollars was waisted because there were no shoval ready projects. The real recovery began when democrats lost the house and the wild spending was toned down. FDR had the same problem. The depression started to end when when WWII started up in Europe and our mass manufactoring went wild in the USA.y else As far as trying to spend an economic problem away, Obama was more like FDR than anybody else. It didn't work.

            As far being different than FDR, FDR never said that Communism was the most perfect form of government.

          5. On the wrong side of reality

            During his speech he warned about those who cite 'facts' that have no support in the real (non-politicized) world.  And you fall right into his trap. Respect for America is at all-time lows, you say?  Check the polls–there are many, and all say that under Obama, the US is respected to a hugely greater degree than it was under say, Bush.  Those spots where respect is low would include Russia, China and the Muslim world– perhaps you see this as a problem?  Zero results on 'shovel ready' projects?  Check out the facts– again you are on the wrong side of reality.  

          6. You’re an absolute genius!

            I think it's pretty hilarious that you left the Bush family out of your running for "modern day worst" presidents, particularly given the fact that one of them was in the White House when 9/11 happened, when we started 2 wars, and when our economy collapsed…all problems that President Obama has had to spend much of his term cleaning up.  But, according to you, this is President Obama's fault because "the economic recovery was delayed two years?"  This is pure, uniformed speculation, and if Bush is not one of your bad presidents, why didn't he do anything to stop it?  Just today it was announced that the unemployment rate is now at the level it was in September 2008.  What was going on then?  Oh yeah, Bush's policies were in full effect, he was on his way out, and the economy was losing 800,000 jobs per month.  Now, the DOW and S&P are consistently closing at record highs, corporations are making record profits (so anybody that says he doesn't favor corporations and big business is dead wrong), and unemployment is dropping.  He extended the Bush tax cuts, or corporate welfare, as it should be called.  There are more people guarding Southern Border than ever before, even under Bush.  Oh, yeah, he got Bin Laden, too.  So, I'm still waiting to hear facts on how he's botched foreign and domestic policy?  If it weren't for the record number of filibusters in a do-nothing congress, just imagine where we COULD be.

            How do you convince yourself of such lies?

          7. Much of what you say is

            Much of what you say is untrue but it is not my job to educate you. I am not lying. You must learn much of what you think you know from the know-nothing crowd that you hang with. You don't seem to be a person that does not do a lot of research on your own. The program that snagged Bin Ladin was started under the bush administration and completed under obama. I bet that obama didnk 't even know it existed. Remember the picture of obama and all his top staff watching Bin Ladin go down. They were watching a blank screen and listening to static. Even liberal media are calling this the least transparent admistration they have ever seen.

            Keep fooling yourself and you will contine to be what you do.

            I was a democrat who became  who became a republican who became an independant.


  2. Complaining

    Listen people… STOP with all the complaining and get a life. This is always going to be the same for WHOEVER is in office. This is what we all pay for and will NEVER CHANGE. So MOVE ON!!!

    This is history for the kids and some of them really enjoyed it.


    1. A new president in two years

      The next presidential election is in 2 years. All the Obama haters can take solace in the expectation that the GOP will offer its next Romney/ Palin clone. Careful what you wish for, you just might get it.

  3. Did I miss this on the signs ?

    I did not notice any signs about deportation saying: "Here are the keys to my house" or "move in my house and you will become my family" or "my education is too expensive and a waste; I'm transfering to UIUC or UIC and becoming a STEM major" or "I'm a music/journalism/theater major and can't find a job paying what STEM majors get [or any job]."

    I wonder how many immigration protestors there would be if policy changed to strongly favor those persecuted from Africa or eastern Europe let alone those with advanced STEM degrees and tell Mexico, Brazil, etc. to take those from Latin America and troubled South American countries.

  4. Obama, the economy and Evanston

    Too many think the president is the one creating the economy, it moves on its own- people want to point to one statistic or another and claim its good or bad – the reality is the economy is changing – its not the 1950's or 60's – 80's etc. – There are many winners in the current economy and many losers- Its clearly many NU students who are pursuing degrees that they may never use ( along with alot of other students)

    The stock market is good and the job numbers look good – but that may or may be good for all – Obama along with the current Mayor of Evanston – who has created 500 plus phony youth summer jobs and wants more – can't create jobs or develop workers for jobs.

    What we should want from government is to stop misusing our tax dollars on give aways and phony projects that support their friends – the recent Peckish Pig Patio – is one. Also it got little news here but the city basically covered up a screwed up solar project fund with outside money.

    At the last council we saw – the city council approve a 5 million water main replacement and repair on Sheridan road with no discuss and by the way no funding – I asked after the meeting and was told last year they approved a 10% water increase for the next two years – by the way at the meeting over a year along I clearly asked them if they were approving this 20% and the said NO. I am not against the water increase to pay for the line repairs since its a huge mess, but quess what they add in they were going to move NU utilities and speed up the schedule for NU – ( one would assume at our expense)

    The Mayor is now brings to council one stupid ordinance after another – since she is the leader of a Mayors group – she is wasting staff time, and meetings on useless political items- It is typical of her behavior, and by the way many other on the council to NOT focus on the major items.

    Budget is coming in two weeks should be interesting –

  5. It was nice of NU

    Always faithful to the Democrats NU provided Obama an excuse to say his trip to Evanston was for 'education' and thus push at least some parts of the trip on taxpayers.

    But listen to the non-Chicago/non-Evanston news reports and they all said it was ALL a campaign.  Obama as much said so in his speech that he was not suppose to be making recommendations of candidates and then "Wink, Wink, Nod, Nod" everyone knew he was doing just that.


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