Subject: Travel Pool Report #3 — dinner in Denver
The motorcade traveled empty highways and roads for 30 minutes before arriving in the LoDo section of Denver at 6:42 p.m. Along the way, a smattering of onlookers lined the streets, with one group holding a “Free weed for Obama” sign.
President Obama is dining at the Wazee Supper Club with five people who wrote him letters.
A rowdy and appropriately surprised crowd greeted Obama in the supper club, which featured a wide selection of beers on tap and the Rockies game on most of the flat-screen TVs. Many people in the bar quickly gathered around the president, who shook some hands and spent a few minutes greeting folks. “How are you sir?” and “Good to see you” were repeated a few times over.
Obama made his way to the bar and said hello to one of the bartenders. “That’s a cool ‘stache,” Obama told him. Indeed it was — the bartender’s full mustache was all gray on one side and completely brown on the right side of his face.
Obama then made his way over to the five letter writers who were to be his dinner companions this evening. The table was set up for pizzas to be served, and most of the letter writers were drinking beers. “I’m so glad you’re here,” Obama told the group.
The president sat down at the table, asking one person where she was from and then suggesting that they go around the table and introduce themselves. The pool could not hear much more of the conversation but did hear the president bring up early childhood education.
Although a few dozen people — as well as cameras and reporters — were still gathered nearby, watching the dinner unfold, the president and his guests appeared focused on their own conversation. After about five minutes, the pool was ushered out of the Wazee Supper Club.
More details about the president’s dinner guests are below.
Background from a White House Official:
The President is having dinner at Wazee Supper Club in Denver’s lower downtown with five individuals who have written to him about the issues that matter most to them and shared stories that resonate with Americans across the country.
Alex sent the President a note to thank him for calling on businesses to raise the minimum wage. The day after the State of the Union, Alex’s boss raised her wage allowing her to purchase groceries and afford rent without worry. Alex, a graduate of the University of Arkansas, is originally from Forrest City, Arkansas and now lives in Denver where she works at a furniture upholstery store.
Elizabeth wrote to the President about college affordability and how she was struggling to pay for school. Elizabeth is a rising junior at the University of Northern Colorado majoring in mathematics, and has federal student loans. Both of her parents work and they help with school when they are able, but it is a struggle for Elizabeth’s middle class family.
Carolyn Reed and David Johnson
Carolyn wrote to the President about how she was able to expand her small business and open a third Silver Mine Subs shop in Denver thanks to an SBA loan. Today, she and her husband David have six stores and Carolyn credits her company’s expansion in large part to the SBA loan. In her letter she also mentioned that she looked forward to benefiting from the ACA, and currently both Carolyn and David are enrolled in the Colorado state exchange. Together they have six children, ages 22 to 35. Four of their children work for Silver Mine Subs.
Leslie, a teacher of 26 years, wrote to the President about the importance of early childhood education. She is married and has two sons, ages 21 and 17. Her younger son just graduated high school and will be attending college in the fall. Her older son is also currently in college.
Colleen McCain Nelson
The Wall Street Journal