Shades of North Korea.


Last Friday, Richard found out he would be meeting President Obama backstage at the campaign’s first rally in Columbus, Ohio the next day.

After the speech, the two couples headed backstage, where they waited for the President and First Lady.

Paulette: They opened up the door and we all four said: “There he is! There he is!” And the President said, “How cool is this?” We didn’t know what to do — we were frozen!

He walked over to me and said, “We’re a family of huggers,” and gave me a hug. He asked where we’re from, and he said he and Michelle love Asheville. He said, “Hey! The convention is in North Carolina — maybe we can stop by Asheville on the way home?” and I said “You do that! You better look us up.”

Richard: They made me feel like I was talking to an old friend I hadn’t seen in a long time. When I told him I teach American history, his face lit up. I made sure to thank the First Lady for her support for military families, and she said we’ve got a lot left to do.

I expected them to be more formal. That’s what really stuck out, how down to earth they are. In my lifetime, I always thought I couldn’t do or say things that would make a difference in my government. But opportunities like this let ordinary people see who their leaders are.

Paulette: Michelle told me it means the world to her when people like us support the President as much as she does, and I tried not to cry! Finally, the President said, “I guess we have to go now — Michelle, where are we going?” And she said, “We’re going to Virginia!”