Obama Pulls G8 Switcheroo on Chicago, Protesters

U.S. President Barack Obama applauds at the National Prayer Breakfast February 2, 2012 in Washington, DC.
Photo: Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images

Protesters awaiting the weekend in May when the G8 summit and a NATO meeting were due to convene in Chicago will only get half of the party they expected, as the White House announced suddenly that the G8 portion of the proceedings will be moved to Camp David. “This was really about the president looking for a more informal setting with these close partners,” said an NSA spokesperson. “It’s not about Chicago being able to handle logistics.” Obama’s hometown and its mayor, former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, are now carefully attempting to not act jilted, while a few demonstrators are content to call it a win.

Emanuel said in a statement that he wishes Obama “and the other leaders well at the G8 meeting at Camp David,” while Chicago “[looks] forward to hosting the NATO summit.” One half of the Chicago Host Committee admitted, “We’re disappointed,” and added, “There was a lot of concern that it was coming here because of protests and now there’s concern that it’s not coming here.”

Protesters planned to descend on the city for the whole weekend, with the Chicago Tribune noting that past meetings “have attracted large and violent demonstrations, and the shift to the remote presidential retreat in the Maryland mountains could reduce the chances for an election year embarrassment on the streets of Obama’s hometown.”

World leaders will still travel to Chicago for the NATO meetings on May 20 and 21, and the host group said, “It has minimal impact on our planning in Chicago.” Demonstrators will stick by largely the same plan, too, but a certain sect took it upon themselves to dub Obama’s change of venue a coup for protesters. At a victory rally last night, an Occupy Chicago rep declared, “It doesn’t matter where they hide, we will be in the streets of Chicago in such numbers they will hear us at Camp David,” while some two dozen others sang, “na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na, G-8, goodbye.”

Obama Moves G8 Summit to Camp David