Tuesday, October 18, 2011

President Obama Visits Reid's House Restaurant During Bus Tour's Third Eat n' Greet Stop

"Don't tell Michelle," President says of his foodie outings while traveling through North Carolina on Ground Force One...
"Don't tell Michelle exactly what was on the menu," President Obama confided to an excited audience in a North Carolina high school this afternoon, as he described his Monday take-out luncheon platter of smoked pork barbecue, acquired during an eat n' greet stop at Countryside Barbecue in the town of Marion. (Above: The President poses for photos outside today's lunchtime eatery)

"We stopped for a little North Carolina barbecue and sweet tea along the way. We -- some hush puppies -- don't tell Michelle exactly what was on the menu," President Obama said, to laughter.

Rolling through the mountains of North Carolina aboard his armored, high-tech Ground Force One bus during his American Jobs Act Bus Tour, President Obama on Monday also stopped at a general store to stock up on candy. There were more menu items to be kept secret from his wife today: Before his speech, Mr. Obama stopped by Reid's House Restaurant in Reidsville, N.C., for more take out. He wowed excited locals both inside and outside the eatery.

The diner advertises homemade pies, banana pudding and rice pudding with a handwritten sign board above the counter where the President placed his order. Today's specials included Brunswick Stew and Roast Beef. The President was smiling, chatting, and shaking hands the entire time. A man told Mr. Obama that he and his wife, who was with him, have been married 59 years. (Above: The President and the couple)

"Fifty-nine!" Mr. Obama exclaimed, and said he has some catching up to do, with Mrs. Obama.

Another man told the President he was a funeral director.

"Oh, the funeral home business," Mr. Obama said excitedly. "Fantastic. That's important work."

The last man the President greeted was a man apparently named Reid (though its unclear if he was the restaurant's namesake).

"This is Reid himself!" Presidetn Obama said, and sat down beside Reid.

The President emerged from the restaurant carrying a plastic bag stuffed with styrofoam food containers and worked the ropeline. He dispensed hugs, hailed Panthers football, his shiny shoes -- and he talked to a grandma by phone.

President phones it in for grandma...
Laketta Hussain, a 33 year-old from Eden, N.C. was on her cell phone as the President approached her along the ropeline. Hussain told Obama she worked in weatherization and held up her phone.

"My grandma says hi, too," she told him.

"Hey grandma," President Obama said, taking the phone. He pulled it away from his ear and examined it.

"This is an old style phone, though," he said, holding it up for all to see. The pool report said the phone looked like a cordless, brought outdoors from a nearby house. "I haven't seen these in a while."

“Alright. Grandma?" the President said, with the phone back to his ear, and chatted away.

"I appreciate you. How you been doing? You doing good? … OK. I’m doing good too. Except your granddaughter needs a new cell phone. She’s got one of these big old ones," Mr. Obama said. "Ok. Alright. I’ll talk to you.”

He handed the phone back to Hussain, who told her Grandma "I had to do it."

"Oh my God!" One excited woman along the ropeline shouted at the President. "I love you!"

"Well, you get a hug for that," the President said.

A woman he had passed by earlier with a handshake said she wanted a hug, too. "What about my hug?" she asked. He obliged.
Carl Schmuhl, 36, told the President he works at Miller-Coors, a brewery in Eden.

"You got some samples?" the beer-loving President asked.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney overstated the obvious when later briefing reporters in the press pool van as they rolled away from the diner stop. The President is "clearly enjoying himself" during the Ground Force One tour, Carney said.

*AP photos

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