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