A presidential visit to Kansas City is a big deal, especially for those who managed to get a ticket to see President Obama in person Wednesday at the Uptown Theatre. SM East senior Mike Thibodeau didn’t have a ticket, but he was in good position for the president’s speech: situated with the press corps.
Thibodeau is a journalist for the Harbinger, SM East’s award-winning school newspaper. He managed to get set up with press credentials by email on Monday. When he showed up at the theatre, Thibodeau said, he wasn’t sure where to go and a huge line was waiting to get in. He noticed someone headed for a table to the side and followed to the press table where he picked up his pass and then went through security.
The student journalist ended up with the 20 to 30 photographers on bleachers about 40 feet from the president with the reporting pool of 50 or so behind him, he said. A CNN correspondent was “right behind me.” The whole experience was “pretty cool,” Thibodeau said. He estimates being the youngest person in the press group by at least 10 years. It was his best experience to date in his young journalism career, he relates. He will be writing a story about the speech and the day for the school newspaper.
As for the speech, Thibodeau found it “absolutely amazing.” It was “just a strong speech,” Thibodeau said: “The president said, ‘Hey I’ve been working with Congress and the just won’t work with me. I’ve been trying my best.’”