Posts Tagged 'Barack Obama'

Following in the President’s Footsteps to Asheville

We are planning a trip to Asheville, North Carolina, which is supposed to be charming and picturesque.

But our family isn’t the only one to be aware of the allure of the city: the Obamas are heading there this weekend. We were wondering why we couldn’t find an available hotel room….

Our trip there will mark our first family road trip, which is long overdue by American standards. People I meet in Atlanta regularly take five hour — even ten! — hour long drives, with young children.

My vivid memories of getting carsick in our weekly one hour drives to visit my grandmother in Westchester are only part of what has precluded us from taking to the roads.

We have taken the kids on the nine hour flight from London to Atlanta several times, but somehow, flying with two toddlers seems easier than to me driving.

You can walk around; raid the snack/drinks cart; climb over seats; and play with the tray on the seat in front of you (not advisable on an overnight flight at 2 AM).

But since we have a car, we might as well use it. Asheville is a mere three or three and a half hour drive from Atlanta, depending on whom you ask.

And it looks like the perfect artsy, kid-friendly beauty spot we’d like to visit. Plus, I hear that there is a J. Crew outlet.

We will have to ask the Obamas how they like the Grove Park Inn….


President Obama gave a classy speech when he accepted the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo on Friday. I think he did well to address the controversey surrounding his award, with an aknowledgement that “my accomplishments are slight.”

And of course, the U.S. is in the midst of two wars. But he eloquently desribed how force is sometimes necessary, and concludes, “We can understand that there will be war, and still strive for peace.”

In other acceptance news, I’m glad that Atlanta finally has a new mayor-elect. After two trips to the polls, it’s about time….

Going for the Gold

What a race: the Obamas and Oprah, together again, pushing for Chicago’s 2016 Olympic bid. I was impressed to hear that Michelle was traveling to Copenhagen for the International Olympic Committee’s final vote between Chicago, Madrid, Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo. Then the President decides to come too? AND Oprah?! Their key weapon in the early days of election campaign? With that power trio behind the city, how could Chicago lose?!

It’s true that Rio’s bid also looks attractive: they’ve never hosted before, and PelĂ© is making the rounds in Denmark. An actual Olympian!

And I’ve learned that these IOC votes are full of suspense, and surprises. Back in 2005, when London and Paris were vying for the honor of hosting the 2012 summer games, the public and the media in France and in Britain seemed convinced that Paris would seal to deal.

But London really worked it. Tony Blair mingled and schmoozed the IOC members, Ken Livingstone, London’s mayor at the time, made the bid a priority, and a hard-core lobby group, including a former Olympian (Sebastian Coe) and an impressive American (Barbara Cassani).

So London won, even as sceptics questioned whether the aging transport system could handle the influx of visitors, and whether the planned sporting complexes in East London would be ready (and paid for) in time.

At least the Obamas’ push comes at a time when Chicago needs some positive publicity, after the horrific killing of the honor student this week.