Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Meeting Obama at Post-Gazette

Post-Gazette office today was abuzz with presidential candidate Barack Obama's visit. My colleagues here often talk about Democratic presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Obama.

I'm not someone who runs after celebrities (be they politicians or sportsmen/artists) and ask for an autograph. But, the excitement here forced me to take a chance and see him. Many of my colleagues were disgruntled that he was meeting only with editorial board. So, as the hullaballoo grew, I ventured out of the office in Boulevard of the Allies to catch a glimpse of him.

Half a dozen young people were waiting accross the road from our office. Then, the secret service people asked me to go to the other side of the road where I ran into several colleagues and Obama supporters standing and talking animatedly. It was 2:30 p.m. At one point, I received a call from Samuel Siringi, a Fellow from Kenya. I told him that I was expecting Obama's arrival outside the office. But he didn't believe it. After an hour or so, Obama arrived, flanked by his people and the omnipresent secret service. He waved to us and entered the office.

It seemed I was merely seeing him in person instead of TV. So, what's the big fuss? But, a surprise was awaiting me. I was busy working on my training plan which is due Wednesday. I saw colleagues running toward the hallway saying "Obama is meeting personally everyone in the newsroom". For a moment, I thought of staying in my desk. But, as eveyone flocked to the place where Obama was, I could not resist.

He was shaking hands and moving toward where I was. As he approached me, I introduced myself. I said: I'm from Nepal. He said: Oh, it's a beautiful country. I said: Nice to meet you. He said: Nice to meet you too. Then, he moved ahead.

Now almost every one in the newsroom is talking about how he looked like, how his handshake was etc. Comments vary from his handshake being soft to he looking young. To me he appeared a guy-next-door, attending to everyone. Back home, politicians are a different tribe; they don't relate to the people. They think that they are superior to the people who elect them. I think part of the reason many of prominent leaders lost the recent election is they are not attached to the common people the way Obama is.

My colleagues congratulated me on meeting a person who has already created a history.

Related Links:
Post Gazette's endorsement of Obama.
Post-Gazette report on Obama's visit.
Obama on different issues.

10 comments:

Susan Albrecht said...

That is so exciting Deepak. You may have shaken the hand of America's next president!

Katie Ravenel said...

Deepak! That is so neat! What a story you have to tell. Maybe Hillary is next!

Prajwol said...

Post-Gazette has endorsed Obama, let's see if that affects the poll outcome, especially in Western PA.

You are right on 'relating with people'. Our leaders go to the people a month prior to the poll, whereas here they are scrutinized by the people a lot longer. Just see the difference, for election in November 2008; they have already started the process way earlier.

Other lesseon that I'm learning from these US Primaries and Caucuses is that you don't have to be an established 'branded' leader to be the President. Clinton brand was lot more appealing when the processes started, and see where we are now. In Nepal, if NC gets majority: PM is always Girija, if UML gets majority: PM would have been MK Nepal. I think selecting PM/President should be people’s choice, not the party choice.

Deepak Adhikari said...

Thanks for the comments.
Susan: Yes, it was exciting. Tony Norman, a columnsit here was saying, you are laucky, you met the future president of America.
Katie: Hillary too came here the other day. But, it was a low-profile visit, no one in the newsroom was interested to meet her and she did not bother to come to us.
Prjwol: Yes, Post-Gazette has endorsed Obama. But, PA is untill now a Hillary stronghold. But,let's see, Obama is trailing closely in the surveys. Wait for the D-Day: April 22.

Experiencing Colorado said...

Woooowwwww...ok I am so jealous!! You met Obama...you lucky you...So is he as handsome as he looks on TV? hehehe..

Deepak Adhikari said...

Sonia: Yes, he is as handsome as he looks on TV. But, I failed to notice that, maybe urs is a typical lady's perspective.

Ákos Beöthy said...

I just missed Obama when he visited the Inquirer on Monday. The irony is that I left the newroom early to see him and Clinton on a campaign event... Well I saw them, but I would have rather shaken hands with him :)

Anonymous said...

Why should I believe you that you taked to Obama? Do you have any proof?

Vishnu

aAkaR said...

Congrats Deepak ji;
This News is all over the internet.

Lucía said...

Hey I just read this! Congratulations! You don't seem so excited!! As Susan told you he may be America's next president... not your neighbor... this is something you will tell to your children...