CHICAGO (Reuters) - Life's simple pleasures are complicated when you are the president of the United States.
Barack Obama, savoring fine late spring weather after a rare night under his own roof - the first since April, 2011 - took a three-block stroll early on Saturday through his old Chicago neighborhood. He was preceded by a wave of dark-suited secret service agents and stalked by a slow-rolling convoy of armored SUVs.
Looking relaxed and chatting with close adviser Valerie Jarrett, Obama was paying a visit on long-time Chicago friend Martin Nesbitt.
With the leafy street in Chicago's Hyde Park blocked off by police cars and flooded with security, the short walk looked anything but spontaneous. Yet Obama appeared in good spirits and shouted across the street to reporters to inquire if they had stayed up late the night before.
The president had jokingly told supporters the previous night that he was looking forward to puttering around his backyard and cooking in his own kitchen, but he told reporters he "woke up too late" to fix his own breakfast.
Obama has plenty of reasons to crave a good night's sleep. Polls show him locked in a close race with his Republican rival Mitt Romney for the November 6 election and recent news on the economy has been grim.
Data on Friday showed unemployment creeping up to 8.2 percent in May, challenging his re-election campaign message that the economy is healing after the recession he inherited upon taking office in 2009.
(Reporting By Alister Bull; Editing by Vicki Allen)