Obama Was Boston’s President
The world met Barack Obama in Boston. You know the story: a young upstart politician takes the stage at the Democratic National Convention in 2004, wows everyone with his calls for unity, and a few years later, he’s the president.
A Harvard alum who knows the streets of this town well, Obama’s been back here during his two terms for some of our darkest and brightest moments. He eulogized Ted Kennedy and grieved with us after the 2013 Boston Marathon. He shared a brew with Skip Gates and posed for post-World Series selfies with Big Papi.
Even if you disagree with him, and even if he can’t quite spit out the name of the Commonwealth (he says it like “mass-a-too-sets”), it’s clear Obama has been, at some critical moments in Boston, an inspiring, and at times pretty chill, president.
On his final day as POTUS, let’s take a minute to stroll down memory lane.
“I hope that one day in the streets of Boston, children will look up at a statue built not only to Bill Russell the player, but Bill Russell the man,” Obama said of Russell when he gave him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011.
He left a hefty tip at Charlie’s Sandwich Shoppe in the South End.
En route to an Ed Markey rally. “He had a cheeseburger with lettuce, and tomato, and mustard,” according to co-owner Arthur Manjourides. “He had French fries, too…He left a good tip.”
He invited a Newtonian to the White House for coming up with the term “Thanksgivukkah.”
Newton’s Dana Gitell was “amazed” when she got the invite.
At a speech in Austin bemoaning John Boehner’s lawsuit about his health law, he dropped this zinger from the Boston classic:
I mean, think about that. You’re going to use taxpayer money to sue me for doing my job—while you don’t do your job. There’s a great movie called The Departed—a little violent for kids. But there’s a scene in the movie where Mark Wahlberg—they’re on a stakeout and somehow the guy loses the guy that they’re tracking. And Wahlberg is all upset and yelling at the guy. And the guy looks up and he says, ‘Well, who are you?’ And Wahlberg says, ‘I’m the guy doing my job. You must be the other guy.’ Sometimes, I feel like saying to these guys, ‘I’m the guy doing my job. You must be the other guy.’
He had that ‘Beer Summit’ in the Rose Garden with Harvard’s Henry Louis Gates and Sergeant James Crowley.
He took a (Samsung-sponsored) selfie with David Ortiz.
OK, maybe this wasn’t great, authenticity-wise. But even if it was for a cellphone company, the local Sox hero did manage to produce one of the most popular selfies ever with the Commander-in-Chief.
— Samsung Mobile US (@SamsungMobileUS) April 1, 2014
He called in to Boston Public Radio to wish Deval Patrick luck on his way out.
“Deval,” he said. “You’ve done good, man.”
He made fun of Bill Belichick for wearing sleeves.
“I’m particularly grateful that Coach decided to dress up today. We had some scissors if he wanted to cut the sleeves off. Formal hoodies are allowed.”
He also got the thumb’s down for his obligatory Deflategate joke, which, considering the quality of Deflategate jokes, wasn’t actually half bad. “I usually tell a bunch of jokes at these events, but with the Patriots in town, I was worried that 11 out of 12 of them would fall flat.”
Tom Brady did not attend.
While not the friendliest of presidents to the press, generally, Obama sure did love Spotlight. Who didn’t?
He liked David Ortiz’s expletive-laden speech at Fenway, too.
“One of my proudest moments as president was watching Boston respond after the marathon [attack] and when Ortiz went out and said—probably the only time that America didn’t have a problem with cursing on live TV—when he talked about how strong Boston was and was not going to be intimidated. And that is the kind of resilience and the kind of strength that we have to continually show in the face of these terrorists.”
And he gave a hell of a speech of his own.
At the Cathedral of the Holy Cross:
On Monday morning, the sun rose over Boston. The sunlight glistened off the State House dome, in the Common, and the Public Garden. Spring was in bloom. On Patriots Day…fans jumped onto the T to see the Sox at Fenway. In Hopkinton, runners laced up their shoes and set up on a 26.2 mile test of dedication and grit. … Then, in an instant, the day’s beauty was shattered. A celebration became a tragedy. So we come together to pray—and mourn—and measure our loss. But we also came together today to reclaim that state of grace and reaffirm the spirit of this city is undaunted.