On the campaign trail, an 'unscheduled' stop for a roundtable with veterans...
UPDATE: What the President ordered...
On the campaign trail on Tuesday afternoon, President Obama made an "unscheduled" stop at the Gateway Breakfast House in Portland, Oregon. He arrived at 12:03 PM at the 60s-era diner that's known for its large portions, located on NE Hasley Street. The President, sans jacket, with his shirtsleeves rolled up, gladhanded patrons before sitting down for what a campaign aide described as a "roundtable discussion" with local veterans Dean Dilley (Army) of Portland, Mark Peterson (Air Force) of Portland and Thomas Foeller (Navy) of Oak Grove.
The stop came one day after President Obama addressed the VFW Convention in Reno, Nevada. GOP rival Mitt Romney addressed the same group today. President Obama did not eat as he talked issues with his guests, seated at a booth in the back of the diner.
The President told the group about his speech at the VFW, and said he wanted to talk with them about their experiences interacting with the Veterans Administration, pool reported. At one point one of the participants referred to a rumor that the President assured him was false, but pool had no idea what the rumor was.
"So we can clear that one up right away. You're hearing that from your Commander in Chief," the President said.
There was also a discussion of access to care for veterans in rural areas, PTSD, and care for disabled veterans. At about 12:12 PM the pool was ushered out. "A somewhat surly waitress seemed happy to have us out of her way and encouraged press to do some dishes on our way out of the kitchen," pool reported.
Before the sit-down, pool chatted with patrons. One, who said her name was Susan Bailey, asked the President what he would get for breakfast. He said he'd already eaten but would get a cup of coffee. He chatted about landscaping with another patron, who was wearing a T-shirt for a local landscaper.
As he mingled, the President greeted a man named Marv. The President excitedly said, "I've got a Marv!" and pointed out aide Marvin Nicholson. The junk-food loving Nicholson starred in a dinner-time story the President entertained donors with during a fundraiser on Monday night in California. (Above: The President takes photos with patrons)
"See that tall guy? That's another Marv," the restaurant Marv responded.
Afterwards, he told pool it was "very pleasant" to meet President Obama.
"Who doesn't enjoy meeting the president?"
Asked if it was enough to win his vote, Marv laughed. "Not that easy!"
The President emerged from the diner at 12:39 PM to greet about two dozen locals who had gathered outside. Hands shaken and pictures snapped, he hopped in the idling Beast and was rolling by 12:42 PM, heading for the Oregon Convention Center for two campaign events, including a closed-press fundraising roundtable featuring 25 people who paid $30,000 per person.
*Today's pooler was Michael Memoli, of Los Angeles Times, Tribune Washington Bureau
Info: Gateway Breakfast House is located at 11411 NE Halsey St., Portland, OR, 97220. Phone: (503) 256-6280.
The roundtable participants, as provided by the campaign:
-Dean Dilley from Portland
Dean enlisted in the U.S. Army 1972 when he was 20 years old. He served for three years, from 1972-1975 as a supply specialist. He retired from American Honda Motor Company in 2009, where he worked as a stock and material handler and is currently a volunteer for Obama for America.
Dean says that health care is the issue that is most important to him, particularly as he is getting older. He is also focused on veterans-related issues and says he is grateful for the President’s commitment to supporting veterans like himself.
-Mark Peterson from Portland
Mark is a retired veteran. He served in the Air Force and Air National Guard for 27 years, from 1966 – 1993. In the Air Force, he was rated as a Navigator and flew B-52s as an Electronic Warfare Officer and in the Air National Guard he was a Weapons System Officer in F-4s and F-101s. Following his service he worked as a CPA, and retired around 2006.
Mark is focused on health care and foreign policy. He is thankful for his military benefits and Medicare coverage, but as the father of two disabled children, he knows a lot of people who have had problems with coverage, so he knows how important it is to have access to quality, affordable health care.
-Thomas Foeller from Oak Grove
Tom is a retired Vietnam War era veteran. He enlisted in the Navy Reserves in 1967 during his junior year at Portland State University because he wanted to serve his country. He left the Navy Reserves as a lieutenant in 1976. He served for a total of nine years; four of those were active duty. He was a member of the Inshore Undersea Warfare Unit and spent six months stationed in Japan, then six months in Guam while on call to deploy to Vietnam. His unit never received the call to deploy.
Tom retried from a career in the housing industry six years ago. At the time of his retirement, Tom was diagnosed with stage III rectal cancer, during a routine physical. He believes that had the Affordable Care Act – and the emphasis on preventative care – been in place a decade or two ago, he would have caught his cancer earlier and could have saved tens of thousands of dollars in healthcare costs.
Info on Gateway Breakfast House:
Gateway Breakfast House has been open since 1995. It is open every day of the week and has both a breakfast and lunch menu. Most customers love the 1,2,3,4 Country Breakfast; a meal of two eggs, hash browns, meat, and a breakfast bread choice. It always remains popular with a line around the corner at peak business hours. The large portions and friendly staff keep regulars as well as Portland visitors always coming back.