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Hours before Air Force One even departed from Washington, D.C., a crowd was gathered on East Main Street in downtown Louisville on Thursday eagerly awaiting the arrival of President Obama.

Some were on a lunch break. Others had made the trip downtown specifically to see the president of the United States make a visit to the downtown Louisville-based tech company Indatus.

Heavy rains on Thursday afternoon drove many people away or indoors. But before the rain fell I got a chance to speak with some people waiting for the president and ask them a question: If you had a moment with the president, what would you say? Here is what I heard.


“I’d tell him to take a stronger stance on race, he just needs to come out and be, like, stronger for equal rights,” Marisol Childs.

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Marisol Childs (right) and her friend.

 “I would say, for the sake of all of the children, collectively all over the planet, that he needs to stop the Keystone Pipeline,” Virginia Bush.

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Virginia Bush (center) manages signs in windy weather with other representatives of 350.org.

“I would just let him know that he is a really hard-working president and I appreciate all the work he’s done so far,” Brittney Harrison.

“I’d tell him he is doing a great job,” Keith Winstead.

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Keith Winstead

“I would tell him that he has done an awesome job and I love him for being our president,” Verna Varlow.

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Verna Varlow (left), Latrisha Neely (center), Georgette Peterson (right)

“I would tell him that I’m praying for him. Everything doesn’t lay at his feet even though it seems as it does, he is blamed for everything and receives credit for nothing,” Patrice Johnson.

“One thing I would as him is would be about the homeless. Is there anything that can be done here in America? It’s sad that we’ve got people sleeping on the streets,” Charlene Bussey.

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Charlene Bussey

“I’d ask what he has planned for the rest of his tenure of president, what are his plans. That would be it,” Terras Tolliver.

Jacob Ryan is a reporter for the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting.