Obama's Minnesota visit was far less "loose" than it seemed, PiPress photog says [PHOTOS]

Categories: Media, Obama
garvinobama3.jpg
Photos by Ben Garvin and used with his permission.
Just like regular people, Obama enjoys ice cream outings.
Not too long after he arrived in town last Thursday, President Barack Obama said he was feeling "super loose." The implication was that he's just a guy who happened to be in the Twin Cities on a pleasant summer night, playing it by ear, looking for a good time.

But that was far from the case, says Ben Garvin, a Pioneer Press photographer who was one of just two local photographers to be granted access as part of the president's "traveling pool."

See also:
Ben Garvin, PiPress photographer, posts amazing 'Magic Beard' video

"Every move he made was planned out," Garvin tells us. "Every 'spontaneous' walk he does down Grand Avenue, from my perspective, I was very clearly informed which direction he would walk in and how to get in position to shoot him. I almost think the White House made an effort to make him seem spontaneous, like he was just checking out the city and having a good time, when in reality he's the president and anything he does has to be planned."

For Garvin, it was political theater -- nothing more, nothing less.

"Politically speaking, that was the intention of his trip, to connect with regular people," he says. "Like his speech -- 'I'm feeling loose, you don't know what I'm going to do'... But I know the media, me included and the pool press, we're delighted to get him in different positions. Him not just giving a speech -- [it] definitely makes for more interesting photos when he's walking around."

See also:
Obama stayed at Bloomington Sheraton, employee at neighboring business tells us

We asked Garvin whether, to his knowledge, the patrons who were at Matt's Bar when Obama walked in were screened somehow.

"I don't know if the people in the restaurant were vetted or not, but they all seem surprised that POTUS walked in," he responds. "I know that there was an advance team on site before the motorcade walked up, and the Secret Service was everywhere. But [the patrons] seemed -- 'Oh my God' -- and [Obama] went around the entire bar and greeted everybody."

Garvin characterizes the memorable image of Obama sitting at Matt's with a local woman who wrote him a letter as "such a planned photo." "You could tell, visually speaking, they really planned out that moment and it's almost exactly what the White House wanted," Garvin says. "But I was aware of not just being a tool for the White House."

In each and every enclosed space Obama visited that day, "There was little room to move," Garvin says.

"In every place we stopped there was one specific locale where the media could stay, one specific side of the room," he continues. "It was very clear where we could and couldn't go. [The Secret Service] walked into that bar a couple weeks ago and thought, What would be the best way to see this?" (Garvin later clarified that he doesn't know about the Secret Service's preparations for certain, but inferred some things from his experience photographing the president over the course of Thursday and Friday.)

Garvin says he never actually spoke with the president, though, as he puts it, "I had an opportunity which I failed to seize upon."

(For more, click to page two.)


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67 comments
Chad Lee Terhaar
Chad Lee Terhaar

Ill spontaneous his ass with a 45 auto compliments of s&w right to the head! Im surprised someone didnt snyper his ass yet!!

Gloria Seay McCarty
Gloria Seay McCarty

Glad the original post was deleted and replaced with a more reasonable comment!

Aubrey Virakone
Aubrey Virakone

Uh. The secret service doesn't plan what's a good view of the president. They plan for what is the safest location for him.

Deb Enger
Deb Enger

Who gives a shit if he came here.

Stephen Almeida
Stephen Almeida

Ummm . . . who cares? spontaneity is a benchmark here of, what?

Dave Kjellberg
Dave Kjellberg

You mean his whole trip to Minneapolis was as fake as he is? I'm shocked.

Kaykabiker
Kaykabiker

Did he cut firewood like Bush? That was spontaneous, right?

Habibi Art
Habibi Art

This is so amateurish of both Garvin and City Pages Minneapolis. Sorry you guys were so surprised. I recommend you get out of your small town and realize how the big world really works and stop insulting your readers by suggesting that they wouldn't know that the Pres's public life is portrayed as spontaneous but really isn't. Thumbs down dudes!

helmmatthews
helmmatthews

I'm trying to figure out how this is news. This has been the MO of presidencies ever since Kennedy.

John Zellie
John Zellie

I am sure he would rather have fried Carp, rib, and chitterlings

jfzellie
jfzellie

He should be returned to Kenya, where he can be open about his Muslim lifestyle, but will still need to be quite about his homosexuality, that would fly better in Minnesota.


They had horrible weather in Minneapolis, yesterday, I suspect it was God disapproving of Buckwheat s contamination of such an unspoiled naive area, 



Full disclosure, I live in California, but my home is Minneapolis.  I welcome Buckwheat to return around January 20. Good time for some skinny dipping,


ajlalk3
ajlalk3 topcommenter

This story filed to the "no shit, Sherlock" department.

Chris Peden
Chris Peden

Our tax dollars well spent on burgers & ice cream cones.

Todd Ray
Todd Ray

I worked at a hotel and when a VP came for a visit, secret service was there 1 week before visit. And 1 week after visit. This was for a fund raiser dinner, less than 6 hour stop.

MicheleBachmann
MicheleBachmann topcommenter

The President stages photo ops?  If this is news to you, you are a complete idiot.       Really says a lot about the quality of the Pioneer Press they hire a dumbass like this who thinks this is news.  What is his next scoop?   That kids like candy?  

Michelle Trombetta
Michelle Trombetta

I used to work scheduling and advance to a governor. There is no room for spontaneity. Every second, every move, every stop is scripted and rehearsed by a team for a variety of reasons, first and foremost safety.

Bella DiLorenzo
Bella DiLorenzo

Of course it was. Think of what would happen if he was late to a conference because he decided to go to a place with a long wait. Security had to be planned out. His entire route was blocked off, and it was planned, but kept private. His trip was managed by the minute, to make sure he left an impression of spontaneity, while he was able to visit local businesses.

Kim Diane Awadallah
Kim Diane Awadallah

They have to protect the president so not a surprise that it is all planed out for his safety.

Mary Karius
Mary Karius

ooh, I think he may actually be hurt by that

theoko
theoko

What??? The president's visit was just a photo-op meticulously planned to look spontaneous???  This is completely unprecedented!!!  Add it to the articles of impeachment!

- The Tea Party

Mitch Tague
Mitch Tague

The guy sitting in the booth behind him at Matts snapchatted a "selfie" with the back of Obama's head. lol

Luke Rohde
Luke Rohde

Somebody please tell me why the president is so concerned about public perception? It's not like he can campaign again. Just do the job, please.

Len Schmid
Len Schmid

I am shocked by this article. The Pioneer Press is still in business?

Lucinda Smith
Lucinda Smith

ack! I heard about his visit but how cool would that have been? the man knows good ice cream though!

misterrosewater
misterrosewater

So when the President visits, people moan and wail about the lack of media coverage about the scriptedness or lack of spontaneity, or get all "it was planned!  where's the media!?".


Then when the media does run a story about it, people get all "pshh...we knew that all along!  what a waste of time!".


Jesus Christ, people.  

Erik Felix
Erik Felix

Thanks for this hard hitting article, I found it difficult to masturbate to.

moffitt
moffitt

I spoke to the owner of the Grand Old Creamery about this yesterday. The head of the Secret Service detail stopped by and asked "if he minded" if the President visited his shop that day. He said the next hours were a whirl of activity. He was so busy watching the Secret Service and press corps do their thing, he almost forgot about POTUS.


Some other tidbits he offered:


1) Obama seems very nice and "real" in person.

2) The head of his Secret Security detail is a knockout (she's female).

3) Sales of Black Hills Gold ice cream have shot up since Obama bought that cone.

Dan Geschke
Dan Geschke

So why guise it in spontaneity? Are we dumb enough to believe the bullshit we are fed? Of course he doesn't just walk around the streets. The gobberment seems to be more propagandists than representatives of the people. We need more government so we can receive more lies? Clean up your shitty parties or register independent.

Jonathan David
Jonathan David

President Truman liked to leave the White House and walk to a diner down the street for lunch, alone and unannounced. Since the JFK assassination, no President has done anything of the sort, or is likely to.

debpias
debpias

No kidding everything was planned! He's the president of the United States. They're not going to let him wander off like a toddler. I'm sorry, but this really isn't very newsworthy.

Yankee Doodle Pablo
Yankee Doodle Pablo

That pretty much has been the M.O. of his whole presidency. Wander around aimlessly with no real direction or plan.

DOWNTOWNTODAY
DOWNTOWNTODAY

i feel like CP put it out there to show insane the pi press is 

jfzellie
jfzellie

@MicheleBachmann hey give those people a break, I am from Minneapolis, no one ever said we have really smart people up there, but they are nice and can make great pies, and oh did I tell you about the walleyes, no where on earth are there better walleyes than Minnesota,



But Buckwheat is a carp eater, you know those bottom dwellers, White people don't like them, but buckwheat would jig all night for fried carp. 

MNjoe
MNjoe topcommenter

Hope the FBI pays your ass a visit for that comment. 

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