I'm going to see our president again

Crossposted on Daily Kos

I've noticed many more middle aged, fit-looking white males casually riding bikes around Boise State University's campus today. And there are guys squatting and staring at the ground for long periods of time (and they do not have the usual BSU maintenance uniforms on).

I am glad they are working to keep our president safe.

This will be my fourth time seeing a sitting president.

Regardless of who holds the position, it is always a special experience. There is something about watching the White House staff, the White House Press Corps, and whatever glimpses of the presidential motorcade or Air Force One you may receive, that reminds me of the awesome power of the office itself.

Here's my list of being around U.S. presidents in person:

1) As a reporter, I covered Bush the first, speaking in NJ at a fundraiser for Gov. candidate Jim Courter (who lost to Democrat Jim Florio).

2) Pre-Lewinsky and at one of the heights of his popularity, I shook hands with Bill Clinton on Martha's Vineyard at the fair.

3) I waved to Hillary and Bill outside an Oak Bluffs, MA bookstore and they waved back.

4) Nice job Boise State University!

Student tickets sold out. Then I went onto the faculty line, and was informed that my ID, which works for everything else, would need to be updated to get a ticket. I was nervous about missing this, and thought for a bit:

If nothing else, at least my ID will be updated.

This presidential experience is unlike any other. Mostly due to security reasons, details are always sketchy. We just found out today that doors open at noon, but Obama may speak as late as 2:45. I recall Clinton being as many as five hours later than door openings -- of course, with no advance warning.

I recall stories from friends who worked in stores and restaurants on Martha's Vineyard in the 90s. They told of secret service agents marching in to their places, kicking walls, hitting the ceiling with poles, going basically where they wanted -- then leaveing and saying, "Thanks." The president would often arrive minutes later.

At BSU, know one knows very much. Just the raw basics. When the POTUS says he's coming to your place. He is coming. That's the long and short of it. Your job is to adjust.

I also remember watching, outside of that bookstore, some Press Corps members getting pasted by two secret service agents, who took them down like linebackers. They had ignored warnings to "step back."

Clinton was was much more likely to come and work the crowd than either George W. or Barack. But I can't say I blame them. Times have changed.

It is scary in some ways, when I think about so much power in one institution. But part of me is happy that even in the current world of violence that we live in, the president can still come and see us here in Podunk Idaho.

I recall a skit years before Obama was known, sometime in the 1980s. It may have been Eddie Murphy who parodied how things will be for our first Black president. He joked about him having to make any public speeches for less than two minutes with his head bobbing and weaving, and then running away from the audience and back to the armored car.

If nothing else, at least that didn't come true.

If you're in Boise Wednesday, come see me. I'll be the starstruck fan.

My SAT JAN 17, 2015 AT 05:28 AM PST blog is below:

What I've learned, when I decided to run, what I was betting on, was that change in America does not happen from the top down. It happens from the bottom up. - Barack Obama as a candidate for president. Taco Bell Arena, Boise State University, 2008

He's baaaack!

President Barack Obama will make a Boise stop as part of a national tour discussing themes from his State of the Union address Tuesday, according to the White House.

A Friday announcement of the visit did not specify Obama's topics or why he chose Boise as part of his tour. Also not yet known is anything about tickets or how to attend the speech. Those details were not expected to be available Friday.

One possible topic could be immigration. Idaho leads the nation in the percentage of immigrants who could be eligible for Obama's recently announced deferred deportation program, according to the Pew Research Center in Washington.

He spoke to more than 14,000 people in Taco Bell Arena during the 2008 campaign.

The day after his Idaho visit, he'll speak in Lawrence, Kansas, according to the Idaho Statesman.

The last area visit by a sitting president was by George W. Bush, who spoke to military families at the Idaho Center in Nampa in August 2005, then stayed at the Tamarack Resort, where he mountain-biked with then-Gov. Dirk Kempthorne.