It's not every day that the president comes to town, let alone visits a friend of ours' family. Since Obama stopped at Steven and Dorothea Green's La Gorce home, Niteside decided to get with their daughter, Green Family Foundation president Kimberly Green.
Your folks hosted President Obama yesterday, what was that like? Wow. What goes into a visit such as his, logistics, advance work, security, etiquette, protocol... it's really inconceivable until it is actually happening. Unlike with former President Bill Clinton -- who we have hosted many times and with whom I've worked closely for many years -- we were unfamiliar with President Obama's likes and dislikes, so it was quite nerve-racking making sure everything went smoothly.
Still it must have been some honor though, no? Indeed. I was so proud to stand next to my family after they have worked so tirelessly for the Democratic Party for decades. President Obama was the first sitting Democratic President my father had not hosted yet (in my lifetime) so watching my father, Ambassador Steven Green, introduce him on stage, in our own back yard, looking out on the same South Florida waters my father swam in as a child, was a wonderful moment for our family.
What did he say when you two met? We spoke briefly of Haiti and America's commitment to work with the new government in Haiti TOGETHER to strengthen productive policy not only for Haitians living abroad, but also stronger and more productive ways to build back better after the earthquake. I was also able to present him with the Alan Lomax Haiti Box set, which captures some of the many ways the country is culturally important.
Didn't he also speak to the guests? His words were clear, to the point, and need I say, inspiring. President Obama's recognition of all the younger, and newer voters was critical, as he reminded us of the energy and excitement his campaign inspired, the HOPE posters and the new media used to galvanize the country. He reminded us that change takes time and hard work, and I couldn't help but think of the instant gratification the current climate provides with Twitter and Youtube. He reminded us all about long term commitments to our beliefs, in him and in our country, and that no matter how advanced our technology is, it cannot speed up time.
All in all, what was your perception of the World's Most Powerful Man? I found the president to be very charming and personable, with a confident yet compassionate air about him. He took his time to speak with children and the elderly in a very authentic voice, while commenting on the Miami Heat and golf... a little bit for everyone, without lacking in substance. A true statesman along with a comfortable conversational vibe and a good listener. He is elegant and strong in stance, and never strayed off message, reinforcing everyone's hope and expectations. I would have to say, he is a pretty cool guy!