A Cedar Rapids family got a big surprise Tuesday when President Barack Obama decided to campaign in their neighborhood. Becky Riedesel and her family moved to Cedar Rapids from Sioux City this spring after her husband got a new job there.
The Secret Service showed up Tuesday and told her the president would be visiting a neighbor’s home later in the day and asked to bring an explosive-sniffing dog through her house.
“And so they did that with all of the houses adjacent across the street and next door. And so we had the bomb-sniffing dog go through our house along with a couple of Secret Service agents. That in itself was kind of an experience,” Riedesel said.
The agents told the family to stay inside during the president’s visit. “We did ask if we could go out like on our front steps and they said ‘no we’d like you to say inside the house.” They did say too that if we needed anything, we were supposed to yell through the window to the Secret Service agent, not come out and yell at him or open the door and yell. We were supposed to yell through the closed door or the window,” according to Riedesel.
Riedesel said she had to keep her 9th grade son home from baseball practice. President Obama spent around 25 minutes at her neighbors, but as he left she said he saw the family looking out their window.
“He paused for a second and then he started walking across the street towards the house and started motioning for us to come outside. We all kind of hesitated I think for a brief second and then there was kind of a rush for the door,” Riedesel said. “But we came outside and he shook hands and talked with each of us individually, asked our names, he even took photographs with everybody.”
The president chatted with the family and a few neighbors before leaving. Riedesel said it was a chance of a lifetime to personally meet the president and it made up for the inconvenience the neighborhood went through prior to his visit.
By Woody Gottburg, KSCJ, Sioux City