Monday, October 17, 2011

President Obama Stops At Countryside Barbecue On Day 1 Of American Jobs Act Bus Tour

President talks food safety regulations during BBQ pork pitstop...
Of course stopping for take-out is half the fun of tooling around the US in Ground Force One, the President's huge, $1.1 million armored, high-tech black bus. President Obama did just that on Monday as he surprised the lunchtime crowd at Countryside Barbecue in Marion, North Carolina. It is Day 1 of his three-day American Jobs Act Bus Tour, and the President had worked up an appetite from speaking at the Asheville Regional Airport. After snaking through the Blue Ridge Mountains along I 40, the President and his motorcade landed in the greeny enclave, population 8,075 at a little before noon. Marion's motto is "Where Main Street meets the Mountains." Today Marion got to meet the President.

"It is packed," Mr. Obama said as he surveyed the busy eatery. "There's not a seat open."

Countryside was ready for Halloween, according to pool, complete with pumpkins and a scarecrow. To a soundtrack of country music, the President, surrounded by delighted staff and patrons, stood at the counter and placed his order: A barbecue platter (slow smoked chopped pork, with two sides) and a large sweet tea.
Of course the visit was less about lunch than it was about face time with voters. The President began moving through the dining area to greet customers, and went from banquette to banquette. There were hugs and some baby whispering. (Above: Wrangling a young local)

Talking about fed regulations...
The lunchtime patrons might have been ordered from Central Casting: The President chatted with a group of uniformed paramedics; four women dressed in Native American garb, members of a senior citizen line dancing troupe; and a member of the City Council.

The President lingered at one table with three men, discussing US exports and regulations. One of the men, Dan Kuehnert, a lawyer, pressed the President to reduce government regulations.

"Now I got to tell you, there are some regulations that make sure our kids get safe food. So we got to balance that," the President said.

The deadly cantaloupe listeria outbreak and the massive Cargill ground turkey recall are cases in point.

35 minutes after he arrived, Mr. Obama emerged with a plastic bag holding styrofoam cartons, presumably his lunch to go. (The President waves to photographers as he departs)

He waved and boarded Ground Force One, and was back on the road, off to speak at a North Carolina high school. But first, there was a stop to stock the bus with candy, courtesy of a general store in Boone, NC.

During his maiden voyage on Ground Force One, a three-day bus tour through the midwest in August, the President managed to stop for pie, ice cream, popcorn, and more pie, among other duties, such as holding four town halls and a rural economic forum.

Information: Countryside Barbecue is at 2070 Rutherford Road, Marion, NC 28752-4822 Phone:
(828) 652-4885.

*AP photos

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