After a whirlwind sprint across the US on Wednesday for his America Forward! tour, President Obama slept aboard Air Force One as he flew overnight from Las vegas to Tampa, Florida. Landing at Tampa International Airport at 6:43 AM on Thursday, he arrived by motorcade at a nearby Krispy Kreme donut store ten minutes later. As he purchased 4 boxes of the legendary donuts--later delivered to local firefighters and offered to pool photographers--the President unveiled a theory that donuts are crucial to school reform. (Above: At the counter)
Fresh as a daisy despite a grueling campaign marathon that took him to four states on Wednesday, the President, clad in a dark suit, sang out "Good morning everybody, good to see you guys!" as he entered the donut store.
He shook hands, asked names and offered lots of "good to see yous" to about eight bleary-eyed patrons. At the counter, one customer told the President he was a teacher.
"I have been talking all about teachers, I hope you know that," President Obama said.
Yes, even in his Foreign Policy debate on Monday, the President talked about teachers. Then the President turned the towards the press pool and gave his own lesson.
"Trent is a math teacher, he is buying donuts for his kids," the President said of his new friend.
"That whole math and donut connection is the key to school reform because I know his kids are doing great."
Turning to the Krispy Kreme crew, the President met one woman named "Michelle."
"Love Michelles," he gushed.
He told he guy behind the counter that he had pre-ordered his donuts, and fishing some cash out of his pocket, asked "how much do I owe you guys?"
Aides said that President had pre-ordered three dozen assorted donuts, and he ordered another box, saying that though reporters typically declined his offer of food, it was fine for the photographers to take some.
The President then looked around the room and spoke to a man and two small kids who he saw when he entered the shop, and said "let the President buy you a jam donut."
The young boy told the President they would like two powdered donuts instead.
The President's work at Krispy Kreme done, he hopped into his motorcade and blasted up the closed-off streets to deliver his goodies to the heroes at Tampa's Fire Station 14. (Above: A photo tweeted by the Campaign)
As the fire fighters stood at attention in front of one of their trucks, the President, carrying his bag of donuts, told them they do "unbelievable work."
"Thank you for everything you guys do every day," he said.
The President then spoke to the firefighters, shook hands, much out of earshot of the pool.
Then the President said, grinning, "I don't want to embarrass you in front of the cameras."
The President then departed for a rally at Ybor State Museum Park in Tampa. Later in the morning, he will travel to Richmond, Virginia for a rally at Byrd Park. In the afternoon, he will sprint to Chicago, Illinois, to early vote for himself in his hometown.
In the evening, he will arrive in Cleveland, Ohio, for a tarmac rally at Cleveland Burke Lakefront Airport.
The President will at last return to the White House on Thursday night, but heads out on the campaign trail again on Saturday with a trip to New Hampshire.
*Top, second and fourth photos by Kevin Lamarque/Reuters; third by @JrPsaki