Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Meeting POTUS

I'm not really sure what compelled me to write this list, but here we go.  Maybe my kids will be interested some day even if no one else is sooner.

There have been nine Presidents of the United States during my lifetime.  I've personally encountered five of them.

36.  I never met Lyndon Johnson.

37.  Richard Nixon came to the Akron-Canton Airport in 1972.  My father worked for the Republican Mayor of Canton at the time and was at or near the dais.  My mom brought me  to the airport.  I remember looking for my Dad.  I don't remember even seeing President Nixon though.  I was five years old.

38. I should have met Gerald Ford.  I played in a golf outing for which he was the keynote guest in 1994, but I had to leave the event before he showed up.

39. I've never encountered Jimmy Carter.

40. As a Capitol Hill intern in the Summer of 1987, I got to visit Ronald Reagan's White House 4-6 times.  President Reagan took off in Marine One during one such visit, so I got to wave he and Nancy a goodbye alongside a few hundred other interns from GOP congressional offices.

41.  I shook the hand of and have my photo with George H.W. Bush from a visit he made to Ohio in the Spring of 1990.  That's a long blog story, but I was with my boss, then-Congressman Mike DeWine at a gubernatorial campaign fundraiser in Cincinnati and "snuck" into the "high-dollar" room.   I wasn't badged by the secret service to be in the room but stealthly pulled off the move nonetheless.

I was then at the VIP entrance to the room trying to get DeWine's photo with President Bush when DeWine interrupted my photo taking and introduced me to the President.  Someone, graciously, took a photo and later sent me a copy.  [Note to my kids:  That framed photo is in a box in the basement.]

I also encountered him a second time in Akron during that 1990 campaign.  The first encounter was in 1988 when, as Vice President, he came to Miami University for a rally and speech.   The office I worked in in Harrison Hall had a window 30 feet above his head which I used to watch and listen.

The last encounter I had was when he spoke to the Ohio Chamber in the early 2000's.

42. While working for the State of Ohio in early 1994, I attended a meeting of the now-defunct Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations in the Old Executive Office Building.  During the part of the agenda where state officials were being introduced, President Bill Clinton came in the room.  I was the next person introduced after he sat down.  I never encountered him again.

43.  I attended the January 20, 2001 inauguration of George W. Bush but I was so far back I can hardly say I saw him.  I got at least a mile closer when I attended a March 2005 Columbus, Ohio speech he gave on advanced energy.

When he was Texas Governor and during the campaign in February 1999, I heard him speak at a Summit County, Ohio event too.  He actually had a memorable line that I used then and still do to succinctly define economic development.  He said something to the effect, "Economic development is creating an environment where people are willing to risk capital."  He's right.

44.  I have yet to encounter Barack Obama.


  1. I was a Capital Hill intern in '85. Saw Reagan then. Where did you intern?

  2. Kurt, I was an intern for then-Congressman Mike DeWine in the Summer of '87.