The president’s day
10:18 a.m. Air Force One takes off from Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland carrying President Obama, U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison and St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman. Obama catches a bit of the World Cup match between the United States and Germany and groans as the U.S. team narrowly misses a goal.
1:09 p.m. The Obama caravan pulls into Matt’s Bar in Minneapolis, where the president grabs lunch with Rebekah Erler, who had written him a letter about her family’s economic travails. The president orders a Jucy Lucy, a cheese-filled hamburger, and an iced tea. A pool reporter notes: “The smell of grease hung in the air — in a delicious way.”
1:47 p.m. Coleman, upon arriving at the town-hall event at Minnehaha Park, said of flying on Air Force One: “Bucket list.” The best part, he said, was not getting seat belt instructions.
2:25 p.m. Obama arrives at the event, near Minnehaha Falls where an intimate crowd waited. “It is good to be back in Minnesota,” he said. “Last time I was here, it was colder.”
2:27 p.m. Obama says he may make unannounced stops in the Twin Cities. “I’m like a caged bear,” he said, “I might break loose.”
2:59 p.m. Armed with hot tea “to make sure I don’t lose my voice,” Obama takes questions on the dangers of students abroad in exchange programs, on gun control and even on how a school can get the president as a commencement speaker. He says asking is a good start and a cute mascot doesn’t hurt. He said he spoke at University of California, Irvine, after receiving more than 10,000 letters asking him to come. Someone from the crowd shouted, “We have the Gopher!” to which Obama responded: “Gophers are cool.”
3:34 p.m. After fielding questions on climate change, equal pay and the future of federal workers, Obama wraps up by telling the crowd: “You guys are the reason I ran ... And just because it’s not reported in the news, I don’t want you to think that I’m not fighting for you. And I’m not always going to get it done as fast as I want, because right now we’ve got a Congress that’s dysfunctional ... Despite all that, we’re making progress ... I don’t want you to be cynical. Cynicism is popular these days, but hope is better.”
5 p.m. Obama heads over to St. Paul to stroll on Grand Avenue. He stops at the Golden Fig, at the owner’s invitation, buying salted caramels, raspberry jam and Minnesalsa, then heads to Grand Ole Creamery for a waffle cone of Black Hills Gold ice cream, urging his staff to indulge. Obama is back on the road at 6 p.m. to prepare for an evening fundraiser.