a brush with history


I would be remiss if I did not share my little brush with history today as the 44th President is inaugurated in Washington. This post is certainly not about political preference, but instead a couple of choice encounters with President Obama, before and after he stepped onto the national stage. As those close to me know, I spent some time living in Des Moines, which is the caucus capitol of the country. All the presidential hopefuls of both parties storm through the state stopping in small towns and trying to gain the favor with the local caucus goers over a year before the primaries begin.


On February 10th, 2007, Obama announced his candidacy for presidency in Chicago. The very next public appearance he made was the next day in Ames, Iowa. A friend of mine worked for the state senator that represents Ames, and because he could not go, he gave her the VIP tickets to the event. Apparently we were fortunate because they ran out of tickets and filled the Iowa State University arena. We arrived early and found standing spots right behind the press cage. I only brought my small point and shoot camera with me, but I did capture a few images from that day. Even more interesting for me is that I left these photos untouched and unedited for almost a year before I pulled them out of my digital storage.

This was not the first time I had heard Obama speak before. In 2006 my friend asked if I wanted to help out at event they were holding for Senator Tom Harkin. It was his annual steak fry, and the first term Senator Obama was going to come and address the attendees as the keynote speaker. I said "why not," I was willing to direct traffic in the parking lot and in return get a free steak lunch.


The then Senator Obama took the stage and delivered and eloquent speech, it was certainly obvious that he was a master of creating an imagery a crowd could relate too. He was relatively unknown having gained some notoriety for giving his "no red states or blue states, but the United States of America" speech at the Democratic National Committee Convention. I really knew very little about him and only happened to have my point-and-shoot camera with me.

Looking back at the day was beyond his speech, rather it is the more poignant point of the stark contract between 2006 and January 2009. With the flood of images in the last several months, I doubt there will ever be an image again where anyone can get so close to him. He greeted almost anyone in the audience who wanted to meet with him and shook their hands and thanked them for coming. There was absolutely no security around him, the only folks following along was a two person C-SPAN crew and a couple of staff members who were talking with other folks there and not even at his side.


This picture will always hold a special place for me, but upon closer inspection you may notice something strange.

Lets zoom in a little closer to the folks in the background and call them out with a bright pink arrow. If you recall, I spent the afternoon directing traffic into the county fairgrounds. Apparently my face was sunburned every place my sunglasses did not cover, and not having looked in a mirror I had no idea. If you look closely, the C-SPAN videographer and his assistant and holding back laugher at my ridiculous raccoon look, but to his credit, Obama does not even bat an eyelash. So to you I say, good job President Obama, if nothing else for not making me feel like a complete goofball. But to you C-SPAN, I have a bone to pick with you.



  1. Now that is Cool. Talk about a memory.

  2. Wow-that is awesome! I love that first shot. I once met (and sang for) John McCain-too bad he didn't get elected so I could feel cool! :)

  3. How cool is that? We'll get those C-SPAN friends for ya! :)

  4. Gahhhhh! That is so amazing!!! Kudos to you!

  5. Wow...oh I am so very jealous! You will cherish these for so many years.