As Obama Returns, Chicagoans Discuss Debt Deal With President Obama returning to Chicago for a fundraiser and his birthday, voters talk about how they feel about the debt ceiling deal — and the former Illinois senator's performance.
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As Obama Returns, Chicagoans Discuss Debt Deal

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As Obama Returns, Chicagoans Discuss Debt Deal

As Obama Returns, Chicagoans Discuss Debt Deal

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MICHELE NORRIS, host: From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Michele Norris.

MELISSA BLOCK, host: And I'm Melissa Block.

Congress has started its summer break. President Obama is making a quick fund-raising trip to Chicago. And Americans around the country are still talking about the deal on the debt ceiling that was sealed earlier this week. We sent reporters to two swing districts to see what people are saying about that deal and the politicians who put it together. We start it in Naperville, Illinois with NPR's David Schaper.


DAVID SCHAPER: The Riverwalk in downtown Naperville, in Chicago's western suburbs, is teeming not just with ducks, but with little kids feeding those ducks. As their parents in this Republican-leaning district that voted for Mr. Obama in 2008 mull his negotiating of a compromise to raise the debt ceiling, some are glad he didn't duck his responsibility.

ERICA ROWLANDS: You know, at some point we had to come to an agreement. And I think he's done what's best for our country.

SCHAPER: Erica Rowlands is a 34-year-old stay-at-home mother who just recently moved to Naperville.

ROWLANDS: I think he's been under a lot of pressure and I'm very proud of the job he's done. I think this country, especially here in the Midwest, is tired of the bickering between the two parties and he's doing the best job he can.

SCHAPER: Rowlands backs the president even though she considers herself a Republican, says she voted for John McCain three years ago. Adding, now it's her party that's going too far in being too uncompromising.

Forty-nine-year-old Danny Oshiro(ph) of Naperville, who did vote for President Obama, is not as enthusiastic.

DANNY OSHIRO: He did okay. In my grade, I would say he did probably C-plus.

SCHAPER: Oshiro then adds this caveat.

OSHIRO: I tell you what, from what he acquired when he became a president, I think he's doing a very good job. Okay? That's a tall order for one president to handle.


SCHAPER: In Chicago's uptown neighborhood, President Obama will celebrate his 50th birthday a day early with a fundraiser at the Aragon Ballroom tonight. And there is support for the hometown president here.

STEVE MILFORD: I personally still think he's doing the best that he can.

SCHAPER: Steve Milford is part owner of Crew Bar and Grill, says he thinks the president got the best compromise he could. But Milford isn't happy with him.

MILFORD: I think a lot of people aren't but it is what it is. I mean, this is what Washington is known for, not getting much done.

SCHAPER: Inside the neighborhood Starbucks, there is concern about how the president looks after settling the nation's debt crisis.

CHRIS VARONA: Personally, I think he's weaker.

SCHAPER: Chris Varonas is a communications consultant who lives nearby.

CHRIS VARONAS: I think it's good for Obama that he's got a birthday to distract attention away from some glaring realities out there. The biggest thing is unemployment. People are out of work.

SCHAPER: In Chicago there is disappointment President Obama just doesn't come home more often. And that when he does, it's usually a quick trip like the one tonight.

David Schaper, NPR News, Chicago.

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