Notebook: Smaller moments in the news events of a presidential visit - The Buffalo News
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Notebook: Smaller moments in the news events of a presidential visit

The three daughters of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo wore knee-length dresses in navy, white and cobalt.

Mayor Byron W. Brown wore a red tie.

And throughout the crowd waiting to enter UB’s Alumni Arena Thursday for President Obama’s speech on higher education, area residents could be seen in suits and ties, dresses and skirts.

People turned out pretty nicely for this big event.

The president, while nattily attired, was on the casual side. Obama wore khakis and a blue shirt, paired with a navy blazer. No tie.

Sharp observers may have noticed that some of Obama’s security – including what appeared to be some Secret Service agents – also went tie-less.

Somebody must have gotten the memo to Brian Higgins. The congressman showed up at the airport to greet the president wearing a tan jacket and teal button-down shirt – open at the collar.


One lucky attendee had an up-close encounter with the president at Alumni Arena.

You can ask her about it – you’ll just have to wait until she learns to talk.

Five-month-old Colleen Bucki was passed to President Obama as he was leaving the stage and shaking hands with audience members. Photographs show the president cradling the perplexed baby as excited onlookers snapped cellphone photos.

Proud father Craig Bucki said his daughter wound up in the president’s arms thanks in part to lucky seating and her father’s long arms. “I held her up high, as high as I could,” he said. That’s saying something, given that he is 6 feet, 5 inches tall.


At UB North, crowds on the lawn next to Coventry Road – where people were hoping to glimpse the president getting off his bus – were distracted by loud woofing from inside a State Police vehicle parked nearby. The K-9 occupant was addressing a white Scottie, strolling on the sidewalk. The Scottie, probably unaware of the potential consequences of barking back at authority, responded in kind.

No arrests were made.


There was buzz that Obama might pay a surprise visit to Charlie the Butcher on Wehrle Drive for a quick repast. Hope remained alive until the president’s motorcade passed through the Williamsville toll barrier on its way to Rochester.

“I was taking a shot that he might stop by,” said Charles V. Roesch, owner of the restaurant. “Even if he would have stopped anywhere (else) in Buffalo, it would have been good for him to have lunch and sample some of the culinary fare that we have here.”


At the airport, Margo Dawn Downey, a Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority commissioner, had her guide dog, a Labrador named Arrow, with her when she shook hands with Obama. Downey said she let the president pet Arrow briefly, even though generally others are not allowed to pet guide dogs when they’re in a harness.

“Bo and Sunny say hi,” the president told Downey.


Obama apparently doesn’t think much of the UB football team’s chances in its season opener.

“I also know that everybody here must be fearless because the football team kicks off against No. 2 Ohio State next weekend. Good luck, guys,” Obama said, drawing laughs. After the crowd laughed some more, Obama observed, “It could be an upset.”

Ohio State is a 37-point favorite.

UB athletics officials aren’t taking the president’s expectations to heart. “He’s right: It’s a big-time opportunity for our student-athletes to compete at Ohio State and show the nation what we are made of,” Athletic Director Danny White said in an email.

Compiled by Charity Vogel, with contributions from Harold McNeil, Hans Glick, Melinda Miller, Aaron Besecker and Stephen T. Watson.

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