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Hail to the chief

Talk about a life-changing experience. When President Obama came to Pittsburgh last month to address the AFL-CIO convention at the David L. Lawrence Convention center, RMU senior Tyler Punteteri not only met the president backstage, he even got to drive in the presidential motorcade.

Thanks to an uncle who is active in Democratic politics, Tyler and his grandfather ferried members of the White House press corps from the airport to the convention center to cover Obama’s speech. Tyler shook the president’s hand, though he admits he was too nervous to strike up much of a conversation with the commander-in-chief.

“I didn’t know what to say to him. I was just so excited,” says Tyler, a finance major from Wampum, Pa.

As for Obama, he was grascious and friendly, even organizing a picture with Tyler and the other volunteers. The picture was snapped, by the way, by Pittsburgh Penguin Tyler Kennedy, and Tyler Punteteri also got to meet another Penguin that day — a guy by the name of Mario Lemieux.

“It was fantastic. It was very exciting,” says Tyler.

Tyler was so fascinated with the mechanics of a presidential appearance that he’s now interested in doing political advance work himself. Maybe someday you’ll see him, zipping by in a limousine bearing the presidential seal.
–Jonathan Potts
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