CHICAGO
05/11/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Alexi Giannoulias Meets With Obama, Talks Age, Weight Loss

Though the rumors have started swirling about the White House trying to nudge Alexi Giannoulias out of the Illinois Senate race before the Broadway Bank fiasco gets any worse, Chicago Sun-Times columnist Michael Sneed reports that things stayed friendly between President Obama and Giannoulias.

Giannoulias told Sneed that he had a friendly chat with his old friend and basketball partner Obama while in D.C. celebrating Greek Independence Day. From Sneed's column:

Quoth Alexi: "We didn't talk about basketball, but he commented on my weight loss -- and thought I'd lost a lot. I've lost 18 pounds in the past five months. I'm not trying to . . . just running around. And, by the way, I'm not beleaguered."

The two met in the late '90s, playing basketball at the East Bank Club in Chicago. Giannoulias and his family were early supporters of Obama's 2004 Senate campaign, and the president returned the favor in 2006 when he showed heavy support for Giannoulias in his run for state Treasurer.

Alexi also told Sneed about a little collegial banter between Senators John Kerry, Joe Lieberman, Olympia Snowe and Lindsey Graham. Apparently, the elder statesmen were pleased about the prospect of having a young man like Giannoulias (age 33) as the next senator from Illinois.