Tuesday, February 18, 2014

President Obama Has A 'Soft Spot' For Safeway

POTUS at a Safeway distribution center today in Maryland
The President fondly recalls his boyhood grocery excursions in Hawaii...
Upper Marlboro, MD - President Barack Obama professed his heart-felt love for the Safeway grocery chain on Tuesday morning during a visit to one of the company's distribution centers to unveil a fuel efficiency plan for heavy trucks.  

Safeway was his family's grocery store during his boyhood years in Hawaii, Mr. Obama told the crowd packed into a massive warehouse truck bay, saying that he often did the marketing for his Grandmother.

The company offers "everything from Doritos to diapers," Mr. Obama said.  "I have a little soft spot for Safeway in my heart."

"...our main grocery store was Safeway.  It was right down the way.  And so my grandmother would send me out to go shopping at Safeway, and everybody there always treated me very well."

Mr. Obama spent his childhood from the age of ten living with his maternal grandparents, Stanley and Madelyn Dunham, in Honolulu, Hawaii.  Safeway today has six outlets in Honolulu, and more than 1,600 stores across the US and Canada, according to the company.

Mr. Obama no longer runs grocery errands, needless to say.

A photo compilation of the President's Safeway visit: His limo in the parking lot, and during his remarks in the truckbay
The President's visit to the distribution center was to spotlight his efforts to battle climate change while boosting the economy to provide "opportunity for all," themes from his State of the Union address.  

Mr. Obama called for even stricter fuel standards for medium and heavy-duty vehicles, in order to reduce the nation's "dependence on foreign oil," bring down gas prices, and reduce planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions.

He spoke to a crowd of about 275, standing on a stage before an array of trucks that use clean energy to deliver their goods, including a Peterbilt semi and two other truck cabs, one with a Safeway logo and another with a Coca-Cola logo. 

The President has ordered the Environmental Protection Agency and Transportation Department's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to develop and issue new fuel-efficiency and greenhouse gas standards by March 31, 2016.

"The goal we are setting is ambitious," Mr. Obama said. "But these are areas where ambition has worked out really well for us so far."

He was accompanied by Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy as he announced the proposal.

"We're going to double the distance our cars and light trucks can go on a gallon of gas by 2025," Mr. Obama said.

Safeway was an "early leader" in the National Clean Fleets Partnership, the President said, which asks companies to use alternative energy--biofuel, electric, hybrid--for delivery trucks.

 "Safeway now encourages all the companies that ships its products to do the same," Mr. Obama said.

The partnership includes competing companies, Mr. Obama said, such as PepsiCo and Coca-Cola.  That gives him hope that Republicans and Democrats can work things out in Congress, he said, never missing an opportunity to jab reluctant lawmakers on the other side of the aisle.

"Anyone who said you can’t grow the economy while reducing carbon pollution has been proven wrong," Mr. Obama declared.

The President spoke at 11:30 AM, and was done ten minutes later.  He greeted store executives in the truck bay before heading back to the White House at 11:55 AM.

The Safeway Distribution Center the President visited is located at 16020 Leeland Road, Upper Marlboro, Maryland.

*Top photo by Alan Lerman/LMI; compilation by @StCrow