Rare flash of anger from Obama on Halloween night

CHICAGO Fri Oct 31, 2008 7:49pm EDT

Democratic presidential nominee Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) goes trick-or-treating with his 7-year-old daughter Sasha in his Chicago neighbourhood on Halloween, October 31, 2008. REUTERS/Jason Reed

Democratic presidential nominee Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) goes trick-or-treating with his 7-year-old daughter Sasha in his Chicago neighbourhood on Halloween, October 31, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Jason Reed

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CHICAGO (Reuters) - It wasn't quite a Halloween nightmare on Obama street, but journalists on Friday drew a rare flash of anger from the normally unflappable Democratic presidential nominee.

Barack Obama had taken a break from the campaign trail for a few hours of Halloween fun at home with his family four days before the election, but ended up visibly annoyed when news crews dogged their footsteps in their Chicago neighborhood.

"That's enough. You've got a shot. Leave us alone," Obama told reporters as he walked down the block with his 7-year-old daughter Sasha in her costume on the way to a party at a neighbor's home.

Obama, usually cool in public during a campaign that has turned him into the frontrunner for the White House, did not disguise his irritation when his surprise walk caused news photographers and camera crews to scramble for position on the sidewalk.

He grew especially testy when a Polish television cameraman tried to approach them.

"Come on guys, get back on the bus," he pleaded with journalists, many of whom had accompanied him from the airport to Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood.

Obama, wearing sunglasses but no costume, and his daughter, dressed up as what campaign aides said was a "corpse's bride," then broke into a sprint, leaving the journalists behind.

Secret Service agents and vans followed closely behind, and stunned trick-or-treaters broke into shouts of "Obama, Obama" as he rushed past.

There was no neighborhood trick-or-treating for the Obama family, a nod to the potential security problems.

Instead the family attended a Halloween party behind closed doors at a friend's home. Obama's 10-year-old daughter Malia had planned to dress up as an "evil fairy," the campaign said.

The fact that Obama took time out for Halloween showed a candidate feeling confident about his chances on Tuesday, with polls showing him leading Republican nominee John McCain.

Obama flew straight from a rally in Iowa to Chicago, where he stepped onto the airport tarmac with a pumpkin -- brought on a campaign swing through Florida -- under one arm.

After the brief stop at home, he planned to be back campaigning on Friday night at a rally in Gary, Indiana.

(Editing by Alan Elsner)

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