Once the President's motorcade left the airport, they sped down M-553, stopping traffic all along the way. There were some spectators along the road, but not many due to the fact that it was very cold outside. All told, it took about 20 minutes for the President to get from Sawyer to Downtown Marquette, and that's where we saw the surprise stop of the day. It was at Donckers Candy store and restaurant. The most powerful man in the world stopped there for a club sandwich and a box of chocolates for Sasha and Malia.
"That club sandwich looks pretty good," said President Obama.
"That is fabulous, and that's in honor of a young gentleman who worked for us and is one of our best, dearest friends," said store owner, Jen Ray.
"Well, let me try one of those then," the President answered. Of course the reason for the trip was because of the WiMax network. The President got to see a live demonstration of it while he was at N.M.U. which enabled him to communicate live with some lucky students from Negaunee and Powell Township.Watch Video - Air Force One lands Video - Obama's speech After learning about the WiMax technology, President Obama spoke to a packed crowd at Vandament Arena, a crowd consisting of N.M.U. students, administration and local elected officials. The President referred to the WiMax network as a modern day transcontinental railroad, which connected our country in its earliest years of development, helping it grow to the superpower it is today.
"Overnight the transcontinental railroad laid the way for a nationwide economy, not a bunch of local economies, but a nationwide economy. So this is a new century and we can't expect tomorrow's economy to take root using yesterday's infrastructure. We got to think about what's the next thing? High speed wireless service, that's the next train station, that's the next off ramp, that's how we'll spark new innovation, new investment, new jobs and you know this here in Northern Michigan. That's why I showed up," Mr. Obama explained to the audience.
The President went on to say that the WiMax network would not only encourage growth within our nation, but also internationally. His whirlwind visit to the U.P. ended just before 3 p.m. Thursday. He boarded Air Force One, along with his staff and the national media. He waved to small crowd and then, right on time, after his three-and-a-half hour stay, he was in the air again, but this time bound for Washington, D.C.
Although the President's trip was quick, 1,000 people had the opportunity to see him speak and a select few were able to catch a glimpse of him in Downtown Marquette. With a positive message regarding the U.P.'s technological advances, let's face it...a three-hour Presidential visit is certainly better than no visit at all.