**Written by Doug Powers
Media reports about President Obama’s stop at a restaurant after a speech to the VFW generally contain some variation of “unscheduled” to describe the stop, and “surprised” to characterize the patrons he sat with — such as this story:
Customers at a Northeast Portland restaurant were surprised to see President Barack Obama walk in Tuesday, and some even chatted with him over their morning coffee.
The President made an unscheduled stop at the Gateway Breakfast House on 114th and NE Halsey just after noon. The neighborhood greasy spoon is known for its huge portions and great service. He greeted diners and bantered aboutwhat he was going to eat and how everyone was doing, according to Jeff Mapes, an Oregonian political writer traveling with the president as part of the media pool.
President Obama sat at a table with three veterans, Dean Dilley of Portland, Mark Peterson of Portland and Thomas Foeller of Oak Grove. They appeared to talk about health care issues and expenses and at one point the president said emphatically with a smile, “That one we can do right away. You heard it from the Commander in Chief.”
According to the story, patrons were surprised, and as it turns out they might have been — all except the three Obama joined at their table.
The three veterans who had lunch with President Barack Obama Tuesday in outer Northeast Portland didn’t just happen to wander into the Gateway Breakfast House.
All have connections to the Obama reelection campaign and were presumably chosen for good political reasons.
After all, Obama had given a speech Monday at a convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Reno, so the Portland lunch reinforced the message that president cares about vets. In addition, the local vets — Thomas Foeller of Oak Grove and Mark Peterson and Dean Dilley, both of Portland — are retired white males, a demographic the Obama campaign would certainly like to do better with.
On Tuesday morning, all three met with a staffer and were driven to the restaurant and arrived shortly before Obama. The three said the restaurant workers and other patrons received notice only a few minutes before the president arrived.
It’s easy to understand why the White House would have wanted to keep the “unscheduled and surprise stop” anything but impromptu, and the selection of veterans to sit with anything but random:
New Rasmussen Reports polling finds that 59% of Likely U.S. Voters who have served in the military favor the Republican challenger, while 35% support the president.
They weren’t about to take any chances.
**Written by Doug Powers
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