Source: Sherman Publications

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Worth the wait?

October 19, 2011

Unless it's a roller coaster, I'm not a big fan of waiting.

I guess I should have stayed in bed last Friday, for I seemed to wait a lot that day.

The fun started at 7:30 a.m. at the Verizon Store on Lapeer Road. I joined about 20 people waiting outside as a light mist feel, all of us hoping for the opportunity to buy the brand new iPhone 4s smart phone. It was not for me, but for my daughter's birthday. (What's so smart about that?)

I ended up getting to work about 9 a.m., already spent from the whole iPhone experience. A couple of hours later, we were off to the GM Orion Assembly Plant to see President Obama. He was visiting Lake Orion with the President of South Korea to extol the virtues of the countries' new free trade agreement and take credit for the reopening of Orion Assembly earlier this year.

It was a chance to see the President of the United States the leader of the free world right down the road. There was a catch, however. For security reasons, we had to check-in and be corralled in the official press area by noon, with the event starting at 2 p.m. More waiting.

I killed a few minutes by touching base with county and township officials. They seemed as anxious to get the show going as me. A couple were ticked that Obama's team did not officially notify them about the visit, but made sure all the players from Wayne County were there. Partisan politics at its best, I guess. Hard to blame the local folks for being irked.

We made a couple postings on Facebook about the President's visit while waiting. (Surprisingly, people were more concerned about potential traffic delays than the fact Obama was in town.) I sent Gabe to scout out the best place to shoot photos of the Commander in Chief for our front page, while I convinced a perky, hyper White House staffer to email me the official news release on the event as soon as possible. I guess this "green" administration refrains from making paper copies of stuff like that.

If they are that worried about the environment, I wonder how much fuel it cost to fly the three huge military helicopters that landed at the plant to bring the President and his entourage to Lake Orion. How about driving him in an Escalade from the airport? Probably save gas.

A buzz filled the area when the hum of the helicopters flew over the plant. Surely the gig would be starting soon, right? Wrong, the presidents of both countries received a private tour of the Sonic assembly line before speaking to the crowd. (I think the President of South Korea, the former head of Hyundai, knows a lot more about building cars than Obama and appreciated the tour more.)

All of the sudden, the photographers with their fancy, oversized lenses from the big, important media outlets started scurrying to get their coveted places along the railing. Undaunted, our photographer from The Review, the plant's hometown paper, found a decent place to stand, too. The big shot reporters from the Washington Press Corps ran from their private lunch to their seats.

Patriotic music, pom poms and cheers kicked off the event. The comments from both the Presidents were a bit underwhelming. Was anybody else surprised the South Korean president did not know a lick of English? Obama did draw a laugh when he acknowledged the Lions kicked his Bears' behinds earlier in the week. The President basically plugged the auto industry for its determination to survive the recession, along with his decision to bailout GM and save jobs.

There was plenty of rah-rah cheering from the pro-Obama crowd. Personally, I think he also should have acknowledged the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Oakland County and Orion Township for their generous tax incentives to keep the plant open and make this day possible.

Alas, it was all over in 25 minutes. We were ready to get out of there once we saw the President whisked out the door. There was work to do, plus get ready for the big Lake Orion football game against Harrison a few hours later. But we had to wait some more. In the meantime, somebody on Facebook posted that the President should stick around for the game.

But, I guess he could not wait that long. That's too bad , for the Dragons know how to put on a good show, too.