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October 22, 2010

Former President Bill Clinton Stumps For Shuler in Asheville

Clinton 1.JPGOn a cloudless Thursday afternoon in downtown Asheville, thousands waited patiently as former President Bill Clinton made his way to the podium to pump up the crowd and western North Carolina for incumbent Senator Heath Shuler. We arrived in Pack Square Park around 11am after having stood in line for approximately 30 minutes. The day before, I had been handed a VIP ticket outside the early voting center downtown. Little did I know then that I would have a 4th row seat to Clinton's speech.

Clinton was awesome in person. Having always likely his casual, commonsense demeanor, I was impressed by his in person persona as he entertained the crowd with hilarious anecdotes ("I couldn't make this up...") from his past while also making a strong case in support of Shuler. Clinton told the crowd that "Shuler is the only real choice voters have" if they want to create jobs and knock down the country's runaway debt.

Clinton repeatedly said that "it's important to America" and North Carolina that Shuler, D-Waynesville, return to Washington. Shuler faces stiff competition for his Senate seat from Republican challenger Jeff Miller, a Hendersonville business owner, in the Nov. 2 election.

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April 26, 2010

Meeting The President Of The United States In My Backyard in Asheville, NC

President Obama.jpgOn Saturday morning, April 24, 2010, I met the President of the United States in my own backyard! When we got up that morning around 7:30am, we noticed some unusual activity on the Grove Park Inn golf course that backs up to our house. There were the black SUVs parked in various spots along the course, there were the casually dressed, muscular men with binoculars peering about, and then there were the guys in golf carts without any golf clubs. We called some of our neighbors to join us, and everyone met in our backyard to watch the happenings. My kids were still in their PJs.

Once we got into our backyard, more neighbors started showing up. Ryan and Anne Hammonds and their kids, Elllie and Will came over. Katie Campbell showed up with her two dogs. Several neighbors from down the street came up. James Johnson, his family and their dog dropped by. Soon, we had a small crowd.

Within about 15 minutes, two guys, one wearing a bulging nylon jacket, pulled up in a golf car and announced that they were with the Secret Service. I fully expected they would tell us to back up or maybe even get lost. One of the neighbors preemptively asked if we had to leave, and the Secret Service guy said we had every right to stay on our property and could do whatever we wanted. Then he added, "Almost." Then they asked if anyone had any weapons or metal objects in their pockets. They said a guy with a security wand would be coming by in a minute to search and scan us. We were still just thinking we might be lucky enough to get a waive or a nod from the President.

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