Tuesday, March 3, 2009

DC's Ultimate Celebrity Sighting: President Obama

In places like New York or LA, celebrity sightings are common. Or, at least that's that those folks would lead you to believe. In just a short time living in New York, my brother saw Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke (though not together, of course, this was when the divorce was going through). My friends who have lived in LA casually throw out the name of this or that celeb they saw at this or that club.

Those are "real" celebrities--TV and movie stars. The kind of people most of us would recognize on the street.

In Washington, DC, we have our own celebrities. And, trust me, most people wouldn't recognize them if their lives depended on it. That's because they are generally dark-suited, gray-haired, completely unglamorous white men.

That's right: In Washington, DC, the celebrities are the politicians.

Sure, Capitol Hill staffers occasionally get to see a "real" celebrity when the stars come to town to lobby or testify for their pet causes. I know a few people who have seen Bono or Susan Sarandon walking the halls or Congress. And of course, during the inauguration, celebrities were swarming around town. But, that's not the norm for Washington, DC.

Here are a few examples of celebrity sightings DC-style.

•My husband and I ran into Michael Steele in Macy's a few weekends ago. Who, you ask? Steele is the former Lieutenant Governor of Maryland and was recently elected to serve as chair of the Republican National Committee. We recognized him and offered our congratulations on his new gig.

•A friend of mine lives in the same building as John Paul Stevens. Drawing a blank? That's Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens. Every time I visit her, I imagine what I will say if he happens to step into the elevator with me.
But the ultimate celebrity sighting in Washington, DC is, of course, the President or First Lady.

I never saw President Clinton in person on the street (though I did get to formally meet him twice!) but I have friends who saw him on a jog or out at dinner. George W. and Laura didn't venture out too often but their twin daughters were common sights around town (especially late at night in Georgetown bars!).

Just over one month into the Obama presidency, on Friday night, my husband and I hit the DC celebrity jackpot: we saw President Barack Obama!

Earlier in the month, we attended our parish school's Casino Night fundraiser and auction. My husband bid on and won two tickets to the Washington Wizards v. Chicago Bulls basketball game. We were psyched that he snagged them for a great deal, less than the face value of one ticket. Neither of us are big basketball fans, but it was a great excuse for a date night.

Friday night, as we approached the arena, we noticed lines out the doors. When we entered, we realized the Secret Service was there checking all bags and sending everyone through magnetometers. We excitedly realized that could only mean one thing: President Obama might be attending the game! It made sense, didn't it? We all know he loves to play basketball and the Bulls are his hometown team.

After we got to our seats, I started scanning the boxes for any sign that the President might be in one of them. When the players were announced, I expected some sort of acknowledgment that the President was there too. With no mention and no buzz of excitement I figured he had a last-minute change of plans. After all, he's got a few things on his plate these days. Then, just a few minutes into the game, the crowd erupted. It wasn't for a fancy dunk; the President of the United States had entered the arena!

He took a seat court side near an exit and sat back to enjoy the game like any other fan. My husband and I--not really hard core basketball fans to begin with--kept our eyes on him more than the game. I just kept thinking that I hoped he was truly relaxing and enjoying the game, he certainly deserved at least four quarters of a break from the realities and pressures of his job.

In just the past few weeks the Obama family has been out and about around town a great deal. If this keeps up over the next four eight years many DC area residents will enjoy the thrill my husband and I had on Friday.

And now that I've seen President Obama, I'm desperately hoping to see Michelle!

Original post to DC Metro Moms. When Aimee isn't celebrity-sighting DC-style, she's trying to balance life and writing about it on her personal blog at www.smilingmama.blogspot.com


Becky said...
Funny. My 6-year-old was saying today that he wants to take a vacation to Washington, D.C., so we can see President Obama.
Reply March 01, 2009 at 06:03 PM Leticia- Tech Savvy Mama said...
That's so exciting! I'm hoping for a President Obama/Michelle/Sasha/Melia sighting during his presidency too!

amy m said...
Awesome!! I'm crossing my fingers, too, for a few sightings in the next few years!!

KC said...
How fun! For the first time, I feel like we do have a true celebrity inside the Beltway.

Ladybug Crossing said...
I think it's fascinating that he gets to take a break. Our nation is in crisis. If GW had taken a break and gone to a game the press would have been all over him and called him a slacker.

The other thing that gripes me - my tax dollar is paying for his security at that game. He should stay home, tuck his kids into bed, and while he finishes his work for the night, then he can watch the game on TV. You know, like the rest of us have to live...

Ames T. Philips said in reply to Ladybug Crossing...
Ease up Ladybug Crossing. After all bush took 499 days of vacation...MY tax dollars hard at work, heh! Besides, I would rather Obama take several several hours for down time in DC then fly hundreds or thousands of miles away like bush. Do you think bush lived a life like you or me...absolutely not. Why? Because he was the President of the United States! At least Obama was willing to go out in public...without having to establish "free speach zones"...thank you very much bush. Mission Accomplished? I think so.

pat said in reply to Ladybug Crossing...
As of march 2008 Bush had spent 879 days at his Crawford Ranch. Wonder how much money the security cost for those days? Be careful what you complain about.

Claire Jess said in reply to Ladybug Crossing...
Two recent fascinating pieces in the Washington
Post about what he does on a daily basis:


and also how he's connecting both in and outside of DC in ways his predecessors didn't come close to in their first 30 days in office:


Gunfighter said...
Remind me to tell the story of how I was almost killed by Tip O'Neil's limo about 22 years ago.

Aimee Olivo said in reply to Gunfighter...
I'm sure it's quite a story!! Thanks for your comment!
:) Aimee

Sue @ Laundry for Six said...
Oooh! So exciting! My 3rd grader wants to transfer to Sidwell Friends so she can have a celebrity friend. Ha.

Claire Jess said...
How great for you!

The other night I said I was going over to my friend Michelle's house and my son asked if Barack Obama (her assumed husband) was going to be there. He's watched that inaugural ball couple dance video clip a few too many times, methinks.

My celebrity sightings have included only George Stephanapoulos (on K St. after a lactation consultant appt. at the Breastfeeding Center). Apparently my son and I narrowly missed Condi Rice at my gym last week.

Original post by Smiling Mama. Thanks for reading!

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