Obama Meets, Eats With Veterans

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CANNON FALLS, Minn., Aug. 15 (UPI) — President Obama lunched with five recent military veterans while he was in Cannon Falls, Minn., on a bus tour to rural America.

Obama emerged from his bus, parked in front of the Old Market Deli, waving and smiling to onlookers, some chanting “Obama, Obama.”

The lunch provided Obama a chance to hear directly from veterans from rural areas about their experiences and discuss what his administration has done to ensure veterans have the support needed when the leave the military, the White House said.

A disproportionate share of veterans after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States are from rural America and make up about 39 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan vets enrolled into the VA healthcare system, the White House said.

One woman at the diner, Suzie Stachowski, 41, said she thought Obama was a “very personable and friendly man who understands the people of Cannon Falls. He has one of the toughest jobs in the world, and I wouldn’t want to be him.”

Stachowski said she didn’t vote for Obama in 2008 and hasn’t decided who she’ll support in 2012, saying it depends on how well the candidate does his or her job.

After dining, Obama greeted onlookers on the sidewalk, including a middle-aged woman who told the President her son had just returned from Afghanistan, The president embraced her, asking, “Is he okay?”

The woman said her son was fine and got emotional when Obama hugged her again, adding, “We are so grateful.”

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