|At Gateway Breakfast House With Veterans/ Press Pool Photo|
As all sentient beings know, this was not an unscheduled trip and he didn't just happen to come across the Veterans. The whole thing was a set up, of course, providing the President Vet cred optics that he so desperately needed on a day that his opponent, Mitt Romney, gave a very Presidential address to the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
But who were those Veterans? "Not regulars," said the waitress who waited on them. Hear my interview with her after the jump.
Me: Did you know he was coming?
Mary the Waitress: No not until about ten minutes before he got here.
Me: And how did you find out he was coming?
MtW: His aides come in a ahead of time and told us. They'd come in a few days before and checked us out and of course we didn't know who they were."
Me: Were you freaked out you were serving the President?
MtW: I waited on him and I wasn't freaked out cuz he was the President.
Me: Did he leave you a good tip
MtW: Of course he did!
Me: How much did he leave you?
MtW: He left me a reasonable tip, honey. It was on the high side but it wasn't over the top.
Me: Was it 18% 15% 20%?
MtW: It was 20%, honey. Yeah, it was a very nice tip.
Me: Are those veterans still hanging around?
Me: And they were regular customers, right?
MtW: No. I've, I've not waited on them before.
Then apparently realizing she might have outed the game she hastily added she might have waited on one of them before.
The White House ID'd the Vets as, "Dean Dilley (Army) of Portland, Mark Peterson (Air Force) of Portland and Thomas Foeller (Navy) of Oak Grove."
From the pool report,
"The President told the group about his speech at the VFW, and said he wanted to talk with them about their experiences interacting with the Veterans Administration, pool reported. At one point one of the participants referred to a rumor that the President assured him was false, but pool had no idea what the rumor was. "So we can clear that one up right away. You're hearing that from your Commander in Chief," the President said."Eventually reporters were ushered out of the small diner.
The pool reporter said, "'A somewhat surly waitress seemed happy to have us out of her way and encouraged press to do some dishes on our way out of the kitchen,' pool reported."Uh, that probably would be Mary. Listen to my interview with Mary the Waitress at 29:00 HERE.
Here's an interesting blog I came across while looking for the Vets's names. It's all about what the President eats and the White House food "initiatives." This blog quotes the LATimes pool reporter as saying the President didn't eat. Hmmm...yesterday the local press claimed he'd had grilled cheese and split pea soup. Maybe he just ordered it without eating it.
Here are the bios of the Vets with whom the President met yesterday.
The roundtable participants, as provided by the campaign:
-Dean Dilley from Portland
Dean enlisted in the U.S. Army 1972 when he was 20 years old. He served for three years, from 1972-1975 as a supply specialist. He retired from American Honda Motor Company in 2009, where he worked as a stock and material handler and is currently a volunteer for Obama for America.
Dean says that health care is the issue that is most important to him, particularly as he is getting older. He is also focused on veterans-related issues and says he is grateful for the President’s commitment to supporting veterans like himself.
-Mark Peterson from Portland
Mark is a retired veteran. He served in the Air Force and Air National Guard for 27 years, from 1966 – 1993. In the Air Force, he was rated as a Navigator and flew B-52s as an Electronic Warfare Officer and in the Air National Guard he was a Weapons System Officer in F-4s and F-101s. Following his service he worked as a CPA, and retired around 2006.
Mark is focused on health care and foreign policy. He is thankful for his military benefits and Medicare coverage, but as the father of two disabled children, he knows a lot of people who have had problems with coverage, so he knows how important it is to have access to quality, affordable health care.
-Thomas Foeller from Oak Grove
Tom is a retired Vietnam War era veteran. He enlisted in the Navy Reserves in 1967 during his junior year at Portland State University because he wanted to serve his country. He left the Navy Reserves as a lieutenant in 1976. He served for a total of nine years; four of those were active duty. He was a member of the Inshore Undersea Warfare Unit and spent six months stationed in Japan, then six months in Guam while on call to deploy to Vietnam. His unit never received the call to deploy.
Tom retried from a career in the housing industry six years ago. At the time of his retirement, Tom was diagnosed with stage III rectal cancer, during a routine physical. He believes that had the Affordable Care Act – and the emphasis on preventative care – been in place a decade or two ago, he would have caught his cancer earlier and could have saved tens of thousands of dollars in healthcare costs.