Obama spent a rare morning off Wednesday at his home on Chicago's South Side, then stopped at campaign headquarters to meet privately with staff to thank them for their work in the long, grueling campaign. Workers climbed on top of desks to get a good look at the president.
Obama and his family then flew back to Washington on Air Force One. The president appeared to be in a good mood, racing younger daughter Sasha up the steps, then calling out "Come on slowpokes" to wife Michelle and older daughter Malia.
Associated Press writers Julie Pace, Ken Thomas and Andrew Taylor contributed to this report.