Monday, August 15, 2011

Rural Bus Tour: President Obama Makes Pit Stop For Pie At Minnesota's Coffee Mill Restaurant

Between Minnesota & Iowa, a treat stop and a meet n' greet with school kids...
On Monday afternoon, after his first town hall of the day and lunch with veterans in Cannon Falls, MN, President Obama stopped his huge, black armored tour bus in the storybook town of Zumbrota, which has just a little more than 3,000 residents. Pie was required for the 114-mile drive to the day's second town hall, across state lines in Decorah, Iowa. The President, accompanied by bodyman Reggie Love, disembarked at the Coffee Mill Restaurant, a cafe in the tiny downtown, and ordered five different kinds of pie. The Eater in Chief is a pie fanatic: Pies are served at every White House holiday, and three kinds were on offer at his 50th birthday shindig, too. (Above: The President hands his coconut cream pie to Love for safekeeping)

The President approached the Coffee Mill's pie case, forefinger pressed to his lips, according to pool. He consulted with owner Carol Jackson, then ordered two slices each of apple, pumpkin, and German chocolate pies, as well as "something with Graham Crackers." These were handed off to Love, the President's official treat schlepper since Campaign 2008. Love was also charged with minding an entire coconut cream pie.

After, President Obama did "a hug line" outside of the Coffee Mill, and spent a few minutes bent down chatting with a five-year-old girl wearing a bathing suit covered with peace signs. Then he sprinted back into his big bus. (Above: The President disembarking from the bus for the pie stop)

Info: The Coffee Mill is located at 256 S Main St., Zumbrota, MN 55992-1542. Phone: (507) 732-5480.

Off the bus again...
After the pie pit stop, the President's motorcade stopped again in Chatfield, MN, for "what appeared to be a genuinely unplanned stop," pool noted.

Kids, grades K-7, were lined along the sidewalk in front of a school in colorful t-shirts that all said Valleyland Kids, the name of their summer program. The sign on the school's outdoor message board said, "Welcome Pres. Obama." (Above: The President takes a photo with the kids)

The kids appeared to have made their own colorful banners and were holding them. One said, "We (heart) Obama"; another said, "You're the best president ever."

The President jumped off the bus and worked the full line, shaking hands with all the kids and their teachers. When he got to the end, the President asked if they wanted to take a picture and the kids all yelled "yeah!" They sat on the school steps, and mission accomplished. On his way out, the President asked the kids when they go back to school (September) and remarked that they have plenty of summer left.

"You guys have a good summer," the President said, shaking hands as he headed back on the bus.

Pool queries locals on their response to the President's visit...
Wayne Gadient of Goodhue, MN, a realtor, was at the Coffee Mill when Obama arrived.

“He’s had a tough job. He’s doing the best that he can with what he had to work with right now… He’s got a tough job to do,” Gadient told pool, which noted that Minnesota's reaction "hasn't been entirely positive for Obama, despite the cheering clusters of well-wishers lining the route."

The President is in GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann's homestate, and voters are thinking of their local hero. Back in Cannon Falls, Kathy Taylor of Inver Grove Heights, MN, was standing with her grandchildren with other onlookers about a block or so from where Obama had lunch. She did not vote for Mr. Obama in 2008 and is still thinking about 2012, she told pool.

“I’m going to listen to what Bachmann has to say,” she said, adding she is concerned that Bachmann might want to cut spending too deeply and worries about how vulnerable people such as the handicapped would do if programs that help them were cut.

But, she said, “I’d still like to see a whole lot less government.” She said there is a lot she likes about Bachmann. “I love her energy, I love her convictions."

As for Obama: “He wanted change, change, change. We haven’t seen that kind of change,” Taylor said.

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