June 11, 2009

A hug from the President (and a picture to prove it)

Ten state community organizers representing Organizing for America in Wisconsin were invited to meet with the President prior to the Town Hall meeting today in Green Bay. Kelly Gallaher of Racine was one of the participants representing southeast Wisconsin and the 1st Congressional District.

Gallaher is a member and coordinator of Community for Change, an organization of volunteers and organizers from the Obama Presidential Campaign in Racine County. Community for Change is a partner of Organizing for America.

The President was in Green Bay to discuss the need for health care reform and took questions from the audience to explain his agenda.

We asked Gallaher for her impressions, and how it felt to get a hug from the President of the United States:
"We were asked to step downstairs and wait as a group in the weight room. They had set up a curtain and flags and let us know a White House photographer would take individual pictures of us with the President. A few minutes later the President came in with some staffers and Secret Service. He was very friendly and relaxed and we talked a few minutes and then he invited us to take some pictures.

"He greeted each of us, asked us who we were and where we were from. After the pictures, we stood around very casually for a few minutes. He thanked us for our hard work and let us know he really appreciated it. He talked about the importance of reforming the health care system and we talked about the work to be done this summer in order to be successful. He was very present in the moment and listened to each of us. Then he said he had some work to do upstairs and I wished him good luck with the speech. We laughed; after all, he's a pretty good speaker.

"We came upstairs and we were sitting in a section with Gov. Doyle, Lt. Gov. Barbara Lawton and many other officials. When we sat down, Gov. Doyle asked if we had met the President and we said we had. He then asked if we got pictures with him. I said yes and showed him my camera; he and the Lt. Governor passed my camera around to see the photos. That was pretty surreal.

"President Obama's speech was, of course, very good. Town Halls are always great because people get to actually ask questions and talk about what is on their mind. The one thing he said that really stuck with me is he is open to all good ideas. He doesn't care where they come from as long as they're good and help get the job done.

"It was a great honor and pleasure to be a special part of today's events. I think it will take a few days to get over the excitement. In the meantime, I've got a great picture to remember it!"
Community for Change is organizing a Community Health Care Community Forum and Expo later this summer. More information is here.


  1. Yawn................

  2. Are you kidding? I'd be pissing in my pants!

  3. What do Yes We Can, Community for Change and Racine Post have in common? The relationship is not unethical, but wouldn't a disclosure be appropriate when posting a story about Ms. Gallaher?

  4. our president is so handsome and so very smart. colt likes BO so very much.

  5. Anon 8:14: There is no "relationship" beyond that of a news site and a local organization / news source.

    If you ever meet the President, send us a picture...

  6. Wow, congratulations Kelly! I think it is great that Racine has some exposure. One of 10 organizers to meet with the President is really fantastic.

    Anytime Racine has citizens meeting with a sitting President, it is newsworthy.

    Keep up the good work!

  7. Pete said to anon 8:14 "Anon 8:14: There is no "relationship" beyond that of a news site and a local organization / news source.

    If you ever meet the President, send us a picture..."

    Would a picture of this guy do??

  8. Anon 4:49

    I went and looked at your link, there are 260 members (publicly listed-good for them) which does include Dustin. It also includes John Dickert, Jamie Charon and Kandy Meyers from the Racine Taxpayers.

    Really, get a life, mentor a child or plant a garden. Do something with your mind instead of invent conspiracies.

  9. Anon 9:54 thank for some common sense.

  10. anons 9:54 and 6:58. Point made. As is stated in my original post there is nothing unethical about the ties Dustin has to Gallaher or his involvement in Yes We Can. (Obviously other people and organizations have ties to Community for Change/Yes We Can). Good journalistic practices just mean it should be disclosed. Now you and others are aware, but not thanks to Pete.

  11. Kelly the great self promoter

  12. Anon 8:56: This is such a bogus argument. We sign up on mailing lists of many organizations, just to get their member notifications, so we can report on them when we believe their activities are newsworthy. Sometimes, I even use my real name, unlike you, Anonymous.

    Which is not to disavow the good work Community for Change is doing, or to attempt to speak for Dustin (who has enough sense to ignore Anonymous implications that mean nothing).

    I stand by my previous comment: If you ever get a hug from the President, or even the previous President, we'll print the picture. IF you tell us your real name at the time...

  13. Anonymous posters have posted on this site from day one, and have made valuable contributions. Many, including myself have been highly complimentary of Racine Post and its role in the community. I don't recall Pete or Dustin saying anything negative about such anonymous posts.

    Therefore it appears as though Pete does not have a problem with anonymous posters per se: just anonymous posters asking for more open disclosure. The Presidential hug story would have been fine if it stated "congratulations to our friend and political ally Kelly. She's done a bang up job and was honored by recognition from the President".

  14. I didn't think that a picture of the President could get any more liberal. I was wrong.

  15. This is pretty crazy. Since when does any news article start with some declaration of the source?

    I guess you want every article to start with the following:

    OK, get this. I was over at my cousin Joey's house for a hot dog and game of twister. After spinning red and falling down, Joey's girlfriend had an epiphany and told me about a concert downtown. I decided to check it out. Why is that important? I don't know, but I felt compelled to tell everyone in order to adequately establish my information source.

    With that out of the way, I'd finally like to talk about my impressions of said concert.