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September 9, 2015 - President Obama at Macomb Community College - Macomb, MI

There was a long line, four hours before the doors opened, for those lucky ticket holders who were anticipating getting a front row position to see President Obama at Macomb Community College (MCC). The tickets to this event were hard to come by and the media pool was very small. Detroit Metro Mashup was honored to have been chosen to attend this event. The time in line went by quickly while waiting, fortunately. A Heads Up video was shown, which gave the crowd a real ‘heads up,’ letting us in on a preview of what the President would be addressing. The video feed also showed us when Air Force One landed at Selfridge.

Scott Muck, a college employee also an alumnus of the college and a veteran led us into the Pledge of Allegiance. After this we were honored to have a beautiful young lady, Claire Toupin, sing the national anthem which, even on this hot day, gave me goose bumps. Her voice was amazing! Clair had attended MCC for two years, and was a ‘Macomber’ (the college’s show choir). She is currently attending Oakland University, studying music education.

Up next was Dr. Jill Biden, a community college professor and wife of Vice President Joe Biden. She has been a professor for twenty years and noted she was reading and grading essays on the trip over. She called it Macomb, but pronounced it like the city in Georgia rather than the local pronunciation. The crowd got a murmuring chill over it, so Dr. Biden said, “Oh is it Ma comb,” still not getting it right and extending the chill, followed by, “Macomb; ok so you are correcting the teacher now!” Dr. Biden said she was reading essay papers on the way over to the college, she said, “If you are a teacher you know what I mean.” The crowd cheered because, unsurprisingly at a college, there were many professors in the audience. The speeches were signed for the hearing impaired and there was a special section for dignitaries such as Macomb County’s Sheriff Hackel, U.S. Representative Brenda Lawrence, Senator Levin, and the handicapped.

President Obama’s visit to Warren was to to help push for rebuilding the U. S. workforce and to make the announcement that he supports making the first two years of community college free for responsible students, via This program will help nine million students a year if they keep their grades up. The President’s plan for free community college nationally is being held up in the Republican Congress, so he is making a push for the program at the state and local levels. Interestingly, Macomb Community College was the first place President Obama visited after taking office in July 2009. This is Mr. Obama’s 17th trip to Michigan since taking office and the first since January of the current year.

Mr. Obama started out by telling the crowd back that he loved them to and said it was great to be back at “Macomb,” and he did say it right! No chill this time. Obama stated that he bailed out the auto industry and that was a good thing for the economy in Detroit, despite being looked down upon by many for having done this. He said he agrees with President Reagan, even though they are of different parties, that same opportunity for every one should exist. He quoted the following from Reagan:

“Since when do we in America believe that our society is made up of two diametrically opposed classes—one rich, one poor—both in a permanent state of conflict and neither able to get ahead except at the expense of the other? Since when do we in America accept this alien and discredited theory of social and class warfare? Since when do we in America endorse the politics of envy and division?”
—Ronald Reagan, “The Agenda is Victory.”

Obama joked that the last time he was here he barely had any gray hair and now all he has is gray but, “I still look good, don’t I?” He also said that Jill Biden wasn’t kidding when she said she was grading papers on the way over.

The Heads Up America program will cut out the middle man, and get funded by corporate tax loop holes. Germany has such a program and President Obama joked that if the Germans can do it, why can’t we?

“Michigan’s coming back, American’s coming back…Detroit’s coming back, too,” said President Barack Obama, to a loud round of applause. “But I don’t know about the Detroit Lions.”

The President noted that people should not be punished for their economic status; why should a college graduate be starting off in debt? The key to that path to economic recovery, the president said, is higher education, “I was a child of a single mom, and we weren’t rich, and I turned out OK!”

After the talk President Obama went around shaking hands of the students behind him and the crowd, which looked like a pyramid pileup of people with their phones, trying to take selfies with the President. Upon leaving I was lucky enough to stumble into the motorcade and took a quick video of it.

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