For Chicago Tourism, A One-Man Stimulus Package





CHICAGO -- The man has been in the White House for only three months-and-change, but in the old neighborhood, his regular barber chair is on display like Churchill's top hat or Elvis's piano. The confirming autograph is right there in big looping letters, Barack Obama.

"He signed it. He sat in it. I'm pretty sure there's some of his DNA in it," barber Krs Golden was explaining when Betty Harris hurried into the Hyde Park Hair Salon and asked whether there were any Obama souvenirs for sale.

There was nothing to buy, but the Seattle visitor who called herself "Grandmama for Obama" when she was a campaign volunteer walked out with a few snapshots in her camera, including one with Zariff, the president's barber, who goes by one name...

Obama tourism in the president's home town is growing as visitors search for signs of his personality in places where he lived, worked, walked, dined, played hoops -- and first kissed his wife, Michelle. Enterprising business people are rising to meet the demand and nudge it along.


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