Okay, so here’s the breakdown of President Obama’s visit to Intel from a republican perspective. In short: I may not agree with the guy, but I can certainly respect the job.
On Monday morning, I got an email that President Obama was going to be visiting my workplace. I reread it a few times because I hadn’t yet consumed this morning’s coffee (side note: giving up caffeine is NOT going well- clearly). There was a raffle for employees to win tickets, but I figured that was going to be a cold shot in hell so I instead signed up to be one of the volunteers that was needed thinking that if I can’t get there I was at least going to get as close as I could.
Well, I was right. And as it turns out, all of the volunteers got tickets to the speech! All volunteering is done for selfish reasons, they just don’t always pay off as well as this one did.
So I show up at 9am in the Intel construction parking lot like I was told. I’m greeted by the head of the White House Events staff and am briefed on how the event is going to go down. I’m part of the team managing crowd control at the metal detectors to get into the event. Sounds cool enough.
We get bussed over to the event from the parking lot as soon as the secret service has completed their security sweep of the area. When I get there, I hop through the metal detectors and take a quick camera shot of the area before the estimated 6,000 people started showing up:
He's here to talk about job creation, thus the construction backdrop
And then I volunteer for 5 hours (there is no way to write about this and it not sound boring, so I’m going to spare you the details).
On the little down time we have, a few of us shoot the shit with the White House Events guy. When he comes to let us know that the final bus has brought the last of the guests, we are “dismissed” to go into the event. We go through security (which seems oddly less violating than airports), and then events guy tells us to follow him. Not entirely sure what else he has us signed up for, I go. What the hell, right? I’m not the BIGGEST supporter of the guy, it’s more of just being there because I could.
He wanted us to follow him because he dropped us in the designated fenced off path for the Secret Service. I can deal with this because 6,000 of my closest friends are currently behind me shoved around like a fat lady in spandex. Turns out there wasn’t any job, he was just helping us out so we got a better view.
So then I meet the CEO as his entourage walks him back and forth between his seat and meeting the president back stage.
The event gets under way. Excuse the quality of the photos, I was standing on a fence and trying not to drop another iPhone into broken oblivion…
Intel's CEO welcoming the crowd. Whatever, we get it, we aren't here to see you.
They just put out the Presidential Seal between speakers
President Obama talking about the heat in Arizona (it's only 70, you baby)
He must have just gotten word via ear piece that my auto registration is expired. Crap.
After standing for 6 hours waiting for this, his talk is only 30 minutes long and is a repeat of his State of the Union speech the night before. Like I said, not his biggest supporter, but I can respect who he is.
…And then I had to walk a mile back to my car and wait in traffic to get home. The experience was still totally worth it.