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University of Illinois Chicago bids for Obama presidential library

By Sophia Tareen

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 02:00 a.m. HST, Nov 25, 2013

CHICAGO >> The competition to host President Barack Obama's presidential library intensified Sunday as the University of Illinois at Chicago announced its official bid and revealed a team of specialists to boost the school's campaign.

Even though Obama hasn't publicly discussed his plans, officials with several Chicago sites — the University of Chicago, Chicago State University and the Bronzeville neighborhood -- have stepped forward, hoping to be chosen. Obama's birthplace of Hawaii has also expressed interest, but the speculation in Chicago has sparked debates about how to best preserve the 44th president's legacy and his place in the city's history.

"We are in and of Chicago," UIC chancellor Paula Allen-Meares said in a statement emailed Sunday. She listed school achievements, connections to federal policies, research facilities and the diverse population at the 27,500-student university not far from downtown. "The focus of our research and public service echoes President Obama's signature achievements."

A group at the university -- which has previously mentioned interest -- would advance the bid by considering architecture and academic programming, among other things, Allen-Meares said. The school's interest, which appeared in a Saturday statement on the school's website, was recommended by a task force of deans, outside advisers and administrators. The university, which holds personal papers of several Chicago mayors, has picked about half a dozen potential sites on the sprawling campus, said UIC spokesman Bill Burton. He added that the university's access to public transportation would make it easier for visitors.

Still, Obama doesn't have any formal connections to UIC.

Obama has the strongest links to the University of Chicago and officials have met with archivists at the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in Dallas. The university is where Obama once taught law, first lady Michelle Obama held leadership positions and former White House adviser David Axelrod has set up his Institute of Politics. Vice President Joe Biden was set to speak to students Monday through the institute.

Some activists hope the nation's first black president who started his political career in Chicago considers the city's rich African American history. That includes looking at the largely-black Chicago State University, which has close ties to prominent politicians and writers. A Chicago alderman and former state senator have formed an exploratory committee.

Others are pushing for the for the city's historically black Bronzeville neighborhood, where a number of artists and pioneers worked or lived.

Timuel Black Jr., a civil rights activist and retired professor, said choosing Bronzeville could help revitalize the city's South Side. He said it'd also be important for the history of the city, where a Haitian-born immigrant was the first settler. Jean Baptiste Pointe DuSable became known as "the father of Chicago" and his name graces several landmarks.

"It would really glamorize, as well as educate that Chicago, as we know it, was from DuSable to Obama," Black said.

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al_kiqaeda wrote:
Let them have it. We are spending all our money on a choo choo.
on November 24,2013 | 10:35PM
Skyler wrote:
Was about to post the first part of your statement, verbatim. Money? We don't need no steenkin' money. We have unsustainable overdevelopment & HART rubbish to make up for it.
on November 24,2013 | 10:49PM
scooters wrote:
Yes, Yes, Yes..they deserve to have this BOZO's book store. ANd maybe they can have him for his Xmas vacations too.....
on November 25,2013 | 02:13AM
serious wrote:
No argument here!!!
on November 25,2013 | 03:42AM
salsacoquibx wrote:
None here..but our bozo's here will want it..so we can pay more taxes..
on November 25,2013 | 03:59AM
mikethenovice wrote:
And if we named a building after scooters, that would be alright?
on November 25,2013 | 07:40AM
dctaira wrote:
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Take him, he's yours! He was never one of us and will never, ever be!
on November 25,2013 | 04:26AM
mikethenovice wrote:
Is dctaira even a American?
on November 25,2013 | 07:41AM
hanalei395 wrote:
dctaira is not one of us. And will "never, ever be!".
on November 25,2013 | 08:01AM
mitt_grund wrote:
Objectively, we are going to spend a yet unnamed amount on the library for the late Senator Inouye. Given the UH's penchant for gross overspending, it will probably exceed $40 mill. Just how many documents and papers did the Senator leave behind to warrant an entire building? Wouldn't a Senator Daniel Inouye Room suffice?

So, if Abercrombie says a presidential library will only be, say, $50 mill, it will probably end up as $200 mill plus, especially if he was Obama's godfather (Well, at least, he knew Obama's mother.).

Chicago is known for its rich political wheeling and dealing legacy, so they already know how to be grossly corrupt, and so can handle the resulting graft and payoffs better. Let them have it! What with all the gross misspending we have here in the state and city -- the DOE, UH, rail mis-reporting, Hawaii Health Connector, all we need is a presidential library boondoggle. An entirely plausible scenario, given all the incredible fiscal blunders that are popping up now. Hello, is there anyone at home up there at the top - or are your heart and mind still in Paris?

And besides, Obama may have been born here, but the voters of Chicago made him what he is.

on November 25,2013 | 04:26AM
Charliegrunt wrote:
Agree with all of the above. Those interested in building any monument to Obama can pull out their checkbooks. All these politicians have already milked us dry. Abercrombie is always very charitable with our tax dollars. Let's use his money.
on November 25,2013 | 06:55AM
al_kiqaeda wrote:
Don't forget the liberal halls of Harvard.
on November 25,2013 | 07:49AM
krusha wrote:
I think they already said they are considering 2 presidential libraries for Obama. He probably would want to live here anyway after his term ends instead of stuck up there in the mainland.
on November 25,2013 | 06:02AM
false wrote:
I doubt that. Let's be truthful. Hawaii is not all that welcoming to blacks, no matter who.
on November 25,2013 | 09:07AM
Oahuan wrote:
Let them have it. Obama spent most of his life there and all of his political life there.
on November 25,2013 | 06:18AM
AhiPoke wrote:
Please, please, please, give it to them. I'm praying that Hawaii is not dumb enough to try and bid for this. The man calls Chicago his "home town" so that is where his heart is. He will also end up being considered the worst president in history. Let's not build a monument to that.
on November 25,2013 | 06:53AM
W_Williams wrote:
Let `em have it. We don't need it here.
on November 25,2013 | 07:17AM
mikethenovice wrote:
Yea. And chase the tourist away. They got the money. Better bow down to them.
on November 25,2013 | 07:42AM
Bdpapa wrote:
Don't have to comment, pretty much no one wants it here!
on November 25,2013 | 07:26AM
KammyKam wrote:
you just did
on November 25,2013 | 08:37AM
Bdpapa wrote:
Yes I did!
on November 25,2013 | 11:14AM
mikethenovice wrote:
Like it or not. It's about time we honor our leaders while they are alive.
on November 25,2013 | 07:39AM
thepartyfirst wrote:
Obama is not a leader. He is a over glorified community organizer, treasonous liar, chronic blamer, empty suit statesmen, etc. etc.
on November 25,2013 | 08:19AM
mikethenovice wrote:
The library will carry books on how disruptive the Republicans are.
on November 25,2013 | 07:42AM
palani wrote:
Ah, that pesky democratic process keeps getting in would-be-emperor Obama's way.
on November 25,2013 | 08:28AM
Ronin006 wrote:
Hawaii does not need the Obama presidential library. After all, UH is planning to built the Inouye Congressional Library, and having the Obama library co-located in Hawaii would only diminish the unimaginable importance of the late great Senator.
on November 25,2013 | 08:49AM
Kealii8 wrote:
The only reason for it to be here is being promoted buy OHA. They want to put there corporate office on there kakaako property which would be part of the Obama library, which we all know gets federally funding. Chicago has more going for it then we do so they deserve it to show his government records.
on November 25,2013 | 08:58AM
eastside808 wrote:
Although Pres Obama spent his youth in Hawaii, his higher education and political background was formed on the mainland. Only lately he has retreated to enjoy the balmy weather of Hawaii, but he chose to live and represent the State of Illinois and it is only reasonable that his library be located in Illinois. He can still visit Hawaii though on his own dime.
on November 25,2013 | 02:53PM
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