The Obama Live Blog / Open Thread

President’s Day has come early to Decatur!  Let’s not pretend that mcuh else will get discussed today.

We’ve created this live blog and open thread to serve as the catch-all post today.  I’ll be adding to it throughout the day with traffic reports, closings, openings, etc…so feel free to email your pics in to [email protected] and also use the comments section to report your experiences and sightings surrounding President Barack Obama’s visit to Decatur.

P.S.  It seems you need to click on this post to see the live blog updates.  They can’t be viewed from the homepage.

95 thoughts on “The Obama Live Blog / Open Thread”

  1. Drop off at College Heights was easier than going to the airport, security-wise. Most of the Secret Service people we encountered were smiling and pleasant, but we definitely saw some that were All Serious Business (as they should be!). I’m jealous of my kid, to be honest, but excited about the experience she’ll have today! (And for whatever it’s worth, there has been a pre-K camp in session at the school all week, so we were taking her to “school” every day anyway.)

    1. You beat me to it. We had the same experience, and were pleasantly surprised about how smoothly the entire operation ran and how friendly the secret service agents were. We were worried it was going to take an hour to drop off the young’uns. Maybe it was just me, but College Heights seemed to have a cool energy or aura or whatever you want to call it, and there was excitement in the air.

      1. Not to jump on the CoD vs. DeKalb Co. bandwagon, but I have to admit that I did find it amusing that the AJC story reported him as being “in Atlanta”, when he is flying into Marietta and coming to Decatur, and could conceivably not be “in Atlanta” at all! 🙂

    1. I don’t think you’ll get in without a ticket. My wife scored one in the CSD lottery and was told to be there at 10:30.

        1. CSD sent out emails yesterday to employees saying that they had 250 tickets for certified teachers in the system. They drew the names and winners had to rsvp by 5pm. Then they redrew names for the leftover tickets.

          Not open to the public.

  2. This may have been covered, but is there anywhere folks can stand and watch the motorcade go by or anything?

  3. I’ve been out there and they are saying that no pedestrians will be allowed along the route. Secret Service is not allowing any of the apartment dwellers on N. Candler to stand out on their decks.

    I think you may be able to stand across Sycamore from the front of the Rec Center in the parking lot behind the fence, but the cops are all saying that you won’t see him anyway. I think they are taking him in and out the back downstairs.

  4. People are gathering at the Depot but you have to stand at least 100 ft away from the route. This is just to see the motorcade as it goes from College Heights to Rec Center.

  5. AJC reports POTUS running 15 minutes behind schedule and expected to land at Dobbins at 11:45. The route to Decatur has not been disclosed, but authorities are prepared to close I-75 inside and outside the Perimeter and I-285 East.

  6. Live feed on WXIA ( says wheels down landing at Dobbins at 11:30. Couldn’t possibly be into Decatur before 12:30.

  7. So, anyone know how tickets for the Rec Center event were disseminated? I was unable to obtain a pre-schooler to get into the College Heights thing…

  8. It was a rock star event. Even police had their cellphone cameras out.

    Everything Mr. Obama said was… great, but there was nothing new. It was a pep rally for teachers, and that alone is a good thing. They deserve it.

    I’m just glad I got to see him up close-ish.

  9. It was amazing to watch the live stream and see the stand full of our fabulous teachers. Probably never again will I see a sitting president surrounded by lots of people I KNOW.

  10. Was tax payer money used to buy the “We ‘Heart’ the President” signs? Because I don’t “heart” the president. I mean, yes i know, he is our “lord and savior” and all, but…..

    1. Walrus – I do heart this president, but I have to say I was taken aback to see those particular signs with the COD logo on it. I is Valentines Day, so I get that linkage to the the love/heart thing. Just not sure it was a prudent decision, knowing that many of my Decatur-loving friends and neighbors (and taxpayers) don’t love this president. I think we could celebrate this day – and even warmly welcomed him, without hearting him, and thereby not possibly rubbing 25% of Decatur voters the wrong way.

    2. The amount of free publicity Decatur is getting from the president’s visit is incalcualble, and you’re concerned about a few $5 signs?

        1. OK, Walrus. Looking back at the photo, I notice it says “Welcome Mr. President.” Inside the heart is the City of Decatur. I think we can all agree we DO heart the COD, amirite? And the heart designs on the sign are entirely appropos the day of his arrival. Next issue, please…

          1. The photo above is not the one I’m referencing. The one I’m referencing read exactly how I said it did. Get your facts straight before commenting next time, Champ. Next….

            1. That’s cool, Walrus. I didn’t see the photo you were referencing. Always nice to speak with you about cabbages and kings…

              1. Dammit, Mike! Just when we were starting to get along. Cabbages and Kings?!! I’m much more of a Quinoa and Queens kind of guy.

    3. A little respect is in order, don’t you think? Your comment is a bit snarky and clearly aimed at starting some sort of political debate.

      Even if he wasn’t your pick, he’s still your President. The least you can do is show some respect. If you don’t like him, move.

        1. He wasn’t my pick, but he was my President. And I respected him as the leader of the country.

          For some reason, the Walrus thinks that’s funny. I think somebody peed in his Cheerios yesterday morning. That’s why he’s so bent out of shape about a holiday-themed sign for a visiting President.

          1. I’m still laughing at that post!

            “If you don’t like him, move.”
            “show some respect”

            That’s some good stuff!

  11. So happy to see now that Decatur has had visits from the First Lady and now President Obama. I guess they had to come to Decatur since so few places are actually Blue in this state. Let’s hope Gov. Nathan Deal gets the message – no more cuts to Pre-K ever!

    1. Georgia went for Romney 54-46, just an 8 point margin with absolutely no money spent on it. Pennsylvania was hotly contested and considered a swing state with a margin over 5 pts.
      The state is no longer quite as red as most people think it is. A Democrat with the right accent could put this state in play.
      It would not surprise me if that calculus entered into the question of where to do this event.

      1. Yeah, Georgia was near the bottom of percentage victory margins among red states last year. A little effort could push it the other way.

  12. Hello,
    Just wanted to say alittle something about the crowd that gathered to watch the POTUS arrive at College heights this morning and that gathered on my lawn directly across. I unexpectedly had 100+ people and news media camping out on my lawn to watch the President arrive. I believe I was generous to allow everyone all over my lawn and landscaping with their strollers/lawn chairs and dogs for 3+ hours. Only two people approached my door and asked permission to stand on my property. After the President arrived, the secret service approached me and told me that it made them very nervous to have this many people direcly across the street and would like for me to ask the police to tell everyone to move down the street and off my lawn. I was happy to oblige because if the SS want everyone moved who am I to stand in their way (plus I was starting to get a bit concerned about my landscaping). Unbelieveably, I had a few folks call me names and yell at me. However, I appraciate the fact that no one left trash on the lawn. Just wanted to get that out in case anyone was blaming me to asking them to move.

      1. Oh, sure…on the biggest news day our little burg has had in forever. I think a conspiracy theory is in order!

    1. From the pictures on it look like Cakes & Ale prepared lunch for the Secret Service – I assume he had something from there as well.

    1. Yes Marty, because I’m sure you would have had no problem with COD having a sign made like that for Bush, right? Is it a huge deal? No. But it’s not one that you all would have stayed silent about if the shoe had been on the other foot. Give me a break…

      1. Oh, Walrus, don’t be a grump! This was an exciting day for our swell little town. We will never know for sure what might have happened with another visiting prez. And who cares? There hasn’t been one! Today was a great day in Decatur. I am happy and proud I got to volunteer even in a small way.

        1. +1 Walrus what a weak gripe that is a sign? I have never been more proud of Decatur, CSOD, and our teachers that I was yesterday….great day all around…

          1. If Bush had come to town and COD made these signs for him, and you would not have been bothered, then all the respect to you. However, I’ve been in this city long enough to know that there would have been an outrage over these signs. Outrage.

        2. For those who are OG Decatur residents, we remember when Bill Clinton visited Decatur in 1992. I was standing on our old football field watching him speak. So, yeah, it’s happened before.

          1. That was a campaign event, right? Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Just that, having this visit be to praise something we’re doing, is extra-double good.

      2. Not only would they not have stayed silent, the signs would have been removed. How long did the average Romney sign last in a Decatur yard last year? And that is assuming you were lucky and your yard, home or car weren’t vandalized.

        1. I’m on record as a Pres. Obama supporter who thinks the signs were dubious at best. However, Dawg, I absolutely want your proof for your Romney vandalism suggestions. I think you are making that up, in the same way that Rubio was making stuff up in his Tuesday speech. You want that to be true, but it just isn’t. I remember thinking in Oct and Nov that I was surprised by the number of Romney signs around town and thought they were about equal to the number of Obama signs – particularly on the northside. I never once heard of any vandalism issues.

          1. Same here (solid Obama supporter who thinks the signs in question represented a significant error in judgment — and would think so if same were displayed for a Bush visit). Also had same impressions & thoughts as Warren re. yard signs on display last fall, so I also would like some specifics, please. Dawg, do you have personal, direct knowledge of one or more Romney signs being removed and/or vandalism on property where Romney signs were displayed, in the city of Decatur?

            1. I have to look no further than my own front yard for a political sign that mysteriously disappeared. STG and Mr. Buffett, do you honestly believe that a few people wouldn’t be in uproar over a “CoD hearts Bush” sign? Not you and not most, but I honestly believe that more than one person would be making the Walrus’ point if the tables were turned.

              FWIW, I saw the signs and thought the heart theme was due to the fact that is was Valentine’s Day. Would a “CoD welcomes Obama” been better? Absolutely. And, if it wasn’t VD, I might have a different take on it, but I doubt I would have brought it up.

              1. Yes – people would be in an uproar over Decatur hearting Bush, which is why I don’t like using the official city logo hearting Pres. Obama. But Dawg, you danced on the other question. You lost a sign. But your anecdote doesn’t mean that Decatur as a whole is so unaccepting of Rep views that no signs would last here and that we are so mean that a Rep sign in your yard would get you vandalized. That’s not the Decatur in know, and that was not the reality of what actually happened – and you know that too. You should retract your statement.

                1. I absolutely agree that isn’t Decatur as a whole, and I didn’t mean to imply that was the case. But, there are some individuals who think that behavior is entirely appropriate (just like some dumb rednecks in outlying counties think it is appropriate to deface Obama signs). Given the number of Bush haters in CoD, I think any “CoD hearts Bush signs” wouldn’t last a second. I also think they never would have been made, but that is a different conversation.

                  1. OK, so you never did come up with anything specific to support your comment about Obama signs eliciting vandalism. How ’bout it?

        2. I call Shenanigans on that assertion Dawg.

          The only vandalism that occurred was when some whippersnapper switched our Obama sign with our neighbor’s Romney sign.
          I had to laugh at that one – my neighbor was not as pleased.

          1. My favorite Romney sign spotting was when a down the street neighbor put one up right on his property line, kinda “claiming” both yards. I thought to myself, “Oooh, I don’t think that’s gonna fly.” Sure enough, the very next day that sign was squarely planted in the middle of that neighbor’s yard and there was a brand new Obama sign was in the middle of the yard next door! Tickled me every time I walked by! :0)

    2. +1. It is true – I would have been extremely angry had I seen a sign that Decatur Hearts Bush Jr. But would have blown off a Decatur Hearts Bush Sr. sign.

      I am still angry over the reference to Obama being referred to as “lord and savior”. What is at the root of sarcasm? Is it necessary?

  13. It was such a thrill to be in the rec center and be among friends! Everywhere you looked you knew people–so exciting to have Obama single out our incredible teachers and support staff!

    1. So true! Such a thrill! I was trying to remember the playlist while we were waiting. It was classic Motown followed by some John Phillip Sousa.
      Here’s what I remember:

      Mercy, Mercy, Me
      Heard It Through the Grapevine
      Change is Gonna Come

      Stars and Stripes Forever

      There was one more Sousa but several more Motown, all classics. Can anyone help me remember?

  14. I’m still buzzing with excitement about The President’s visit yesterday. The combination of a US president that I deeply admire, coupled with him visiting my town, highlighting the hard work of my colleagues was the most awesome experience of my professional career. Being able to share this experience with CSD students, teachers and parents in such an intimate setting is a moment I’ll cherish forever.

    The energy and vibe in the Rec. Center was absolutely electric. The unfiltered joy and pride that was on every teacher’s face gave me chills. One of my favorite moments of the event was when the teachers received a boisterous standing ovation as they were led to their position behind the podium prior to Obama taking the stage.

    Thank you Suzanne, Zeke and the staff of College Heights for allowing us to ride your most awesome coattails for the day. I also want to thank Dr. Edwards for her vision and Heather and Courtney for earning their paychecks this week, putting this together on very short notice.

    I am one very proud Decatur resident, CSD parent, and CSD employee.

    Greg Wiseman
    Principal, Winnona Park

  15. I was a little disappointed that the Rec was redone to look like any other generic stage/venue for a speech. When I heard the Prez was going to make remarks there, I was looking forward to the new Rec being showcased across the country. But I was relieved to see that they put down protective cover on that beautiful new gym floor.

  16. This thread has reaffirmed my belief that people, especially those with privilege, will complain about absolutely anything. I love people who are happy, feel sorry for those who aren’t, and show indifference to hate and anger.

  17. I tried to pick up a large order at Chick-Fil-A yesterday morning and was told there was an hour wait due to the large order pending for Obama staff….I told the manager I was happy they were so busy and came back an hour later for my order.

  18. Walrus’s point is moot because Bush wouldn’t have come to a district that he lost 70-30 (or whatever the margin was). The same event would have been taken place in a field of signs that said Alpharetta *hearts* Bush. O-man came here because we DO love him, and that’s an election day fact.

    1. The majority of “people” do here, but our city GOVT. shouldn’t be speaking for everyone like that. If I lived in Alpharetta, I would be unhappy if they did that for Bush, or anyone else.

  19. Walrus – Why don’t you stop complaining here and call the City, if you haven’t done it already? Stop being such a Debbie Downer.

    1. Furthermore, I am not continuing to complain. I’m just responding to people. If you don’t like it, maybe you should move to another blog….

        1. Considering the fact that it is usually 10 on 1 when I express an opinion on this blog and am called name after name, I find your statement to be utterly ridiculous.

  20. I am familiar with the separation of church and state, less so with the separation of state and state. Explain.

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