News

Obama shares fries, conversation with UM students

Maximo Soler and Emily Young received a seemingly suspicious phone call questioning their views on certain political issues. They were asked to explain why they were drawn to President Barack Obama’s campaign.

Four days later, they were invited to lunch with the President of the United States.

“From the second he said, ‘you’re going to meet him,’ I was just too excited to listen to anything else,” said Young, a junior who serves as a campus team leader for Canes for Obama.

The lunch, which was an unregistered campaign event, was organized for “first-time voters.”

Soler – a senior who interned with Obama for America – and Young were joined by Leslie Redmond, a junior at Barry University in Miami Shores.

Before eating, the three students signed “pledge to vote” cards and handed them to Obama.

According to Young, the president made some remarks when the students handed him the cards.

“His exact words were: ‘I want to be sure that everyone knows that you all are on the case,’” she said.

The lunch took place after Obama spoke at the “Meet the Candidates” Town Hall event hosted by Univision at the BankUnited Center Fieldhouse on Thursday.

The students arrived for the Univision event and were greeted by a campaign leader. At one point, their cellphones were taken away, and they were driven to OMG! Burgers, located near Sunset Place Mall.

They arrived at the burger joint at around 3 p.m. and waited for the president to arrive in his motorcade. Meanwhile, the students ordered and ate their burgers.

According to both Soler and Young, the restaurant workers were not informed that Obama would be making a visit until 15 minutes before his arrival.

“It really felt like an out-of-body experience,” Young said. “It was like organized chaos.”

When Obama arrived, he greeted customers and interacted with the younger crowd. He then sat down with his guests, collected the voter pledge cards and began eating his lunch.

“It was unbelievable. Once you’re sitting with him, it starts hitting you,” Soler said. “You realize you’re sitting with the most powerful man in the world, just sharing fries.”

Soler said the conversation at the event flowed naturally.

“It was actually like talking to family, like talking to an uncle. It felt so normal,” Soler said. “He was super nice, just how you see him on the TV. You can tell on TV that he’s a super normal, very nice guy. In person, it’s just like that.”

Soler and Young also had the opportunity to ask Obama questions.

Young asked the president, “What have you learned in the past four years that you would change and do differently in the next four?”

Obama replied that he would have been able to accomplish all of his goals if he had encouraged his constituents to reach out to their congressional representatives.

Young paraphrased Obama’s response.

“Unfortunately, everyone does have their own personal agendas,” Obama said, according to Young.

Soler and Young believe they will never forget their opportunity to have lunch with the president.

“It was one that I know I will never forget for the rest of my life,” Young said. “Just walking out of there, that feeling that it was such a significant mile mark in my life had just happened.”

September 23, 2012

Reporters

Stephanie Parra

Editor-in-chief

Lyssa Goldberg

Lyssa Goldberg is online editor of The Miami Hurricane. She is a senior majoring in journalism and political science with a minor in math. She has interned at Mashable and the Miami New Times, and her work has also been featured in The Huffington Post.


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

It's almost summer, time for college football players to wind down and chill out — every now an ...

More than a decade after former University of Miami football star Sean Taylor was murdered during a ...

Lonnie Walker excelled on the court during the NBA Combine in Chicago last week. The potential lotte ...

Athlon Sports released its projections for the 2018 college football season Monday. The predictions ...

Here is some impressive news for the University of Miami football program: All but one of the remain ...

Voters head to the polls in a historic election to choose the country’s next president. ...

From boathouse to marine research powerhouse, the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Scienc ...

A snapshot guide to the start of summer in and around UM. ...

Former investment banker Charmel Maynard leads UM’s investments and treasury functions. ...

Over his more than two decades at the U, the dean of students from 1976-1989 always put students fir ...

For the 16th year in a row, the Miami women's tennis team ended the season ranked in the top 20 ...

Ranked and seeded third, Estela Perez-Somarriba of the Miami women's tennis team tallied a 6-3, ...

The Hurricanes will be in action at the 2018 NCAA East Preliminary, scheduled for May 24-26 at the U ...

Hurricanes' programs post strong APR marks once again. ...

No. 7 seed Hurricanes staged a late comeback to win their opening game at the 2018 ACC Championship, ...

TMH Twitter
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.