Trial Balloon

Trial Balloon: February 16, 2009 Archive

In The President's Presence

Posted at 4:41 AM on February 16, 2009 by Dale Connelly (37 Comments)

Happy President's Day!

Have you seen a U.S. president, in person, while he was in office?

I saw Jimmy Carter at a rally before he was elected and Bill Clinton making a speech after his term was done. That was interesting, but for purposes of this impromptu survey, it doesn't count. I'm talking about presidents in office, chief executives with all the bells and whistles, history's beloved, frustrating boyfriends, commanders-in-chief spotted while carrying all the burdens and privileges of power.

The closest I came to it was one day in downtown Minneapolis, when I was going out to dinner with my family at Chevy's, (formerly) at the corner of 7th & Hennepin. We were just heading in the door when a motorcade sped by that allegedly carried sitting president George W. Bush. We paused to watch as police stopped rush hour traffic. A helicopter hovered. A line of official vehicles went by. Serious secret service faces peered out intently, and then a limo with darkened windows rolled past, headed for an event at the Target Center.

"I think that was the president," I said.
Rumor had it. Didn't see him. Nice car, though.

Surely you've done better. Americans ought to see their president in person, whoever it is. I have an excuse - I keep strange hours and am uncomfortable in large crowds.

How many sitting president sightings do we have between us? And how far back does it go? Anybody see Kennedy? Eisenhower? Zachary Taylor?

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