Wednesday, March 3, 2010
MEETING BARACK OBAMA
In 2004, at the Democratic National Convention, Barack Obama gave the Keynote Address. My brother Norman called me and asked, "Are you watching? I just saw the first black President." We discussed it at length and I told Norman that although Mr. Obama was inspiring and very impressive, I thought that Harold Ford, Jr. would be our first African American President. Later when I called my brother Roger he also said that Obama would be our first black President. Both of these guys love to gloat to me about their prescience.
In 2006, my husband and I attended the Ohio State Democratic Party Dinner and Senator Joe Biden was to be the Keynote speaker and Senator Barack Obama was also scheduled to speak. As we were waiting to go to our seats, my husband whispered, "There's Barack Obama." I was in a long dress and high heels, but I took off trailing after him like a rock 'n' roll groupie! When I caught up with him, I asked if I could have his picture. My husband was standing there with his camera and Senator Obama said, "Here, let's get him in the picture too--we'll have my aide take the picture." Ever since, I have said, "That told me everything I ever needed to know about Barack Obama--that he would take the time to be thoughtful and kind--to include my husband in the picture also." I was immediately smitten! Senator Obama is so slender that I could feel his bones beneath his suit jacket. When I told Norman about the incident, Norman answered, "I told you he's going to be President one day." We both agreed that it couldn't happen until probably 2016. I worried aloud that I doubted that our country would elect a person of color and Norman said that Obama "transcended race".
When Senator Obama announced his bid for the Democratic nomination for President, my brothers Norman, Roger and Les and my husband Gerald were his supporters immediately, but my heart was still with Hillary. I believe that the only time my husband and I ever disagreed on a vote was that one! When Obama received the nomination, I also became his enthusiastic supporter.
After he received the nomination, my husband and I went to Dayton, Ohio, to see Senator Obama in a rally. I had my photograph and books with me in the hope of having them autographed. We were fortunate to be at the "rope line" and I was frantically waving the picture and my husband was holding the books. Senator Obama came over, put his arm around me and asked where the picture had been taken and he autographed the picture and the books.
Later, my husband had the photograph put on t-shirts and buttons. During the campaign Gerald bought a Badge-A-Minute machine and produced more than 1,500 Obama buttons (25 different designs) to give away at our Headquarters. We received a Christmas card from President and Mrs. Obama and it became part of the "Obama shrine" in our library. A friend told me I should put the original photograph in a safe deposit box. Yesterday, Gerald excitedly told me that the Christmas card was selling for $100.00 on eBay. I said, "As if I would ever sell it!"