Barack Obama delivers Grant Park victory speech
Photo: Anthony Jacobs/Getty Images

November 4, 2008

“It’s been a long time coming,” Obama told a cheering crowd of 240,000 as John McCain was preparing to concede, “but tonight … change has come to America.” It was America’s moment, to be sure, but Chicago owned it. Obama was one of ours, a South Sider, and he’d chosen the city’s front yard as his stage for the opening act of the most historically significant presidency in our lifetimes. As one woman in the crowd told the Tribune, “I hope people remember we put on a great party for Barack.” We do.

From the Archives

March 2006 issue
Photos: Michael Zajakowski

Obama was less than two years removed from his breakout Democratic convention speech — and a little over a year into his U.S. senatorial term — when Chicago put him on the March 2006 cover along with a prescient question. In the story by James L. Merriner, Obama pooh-poohed such speculation.

“The day after he was elected to the U.S. Senate with a record 70 percent of the Illinois vote, Barack Obama declared, ‘I can unequivocally say I will not be running for national office’ in 2008. Sitting for an interview late last year in his Senate office on the 39th floor of the Loop’s Kluczynski Federal Building, Obama pledges the same thing: his ‘game plan’ on taking office, he says, included ‘not going national but staying focused on being an Illinois senator.’ ”