Obama in Atlanta: Many delighted to meet the president

Kimberly Naccarato and her sons, Luca and David, after the boys got to shake the hand of President Barack Obama. CRAIG SCHNEIDER / AJC

Kimberly Naccarato and her sons Luca and David after the boys got to shake the hand of President Barack Obama.

The owners of Manuel’s received notice Thursday that the HBO show “Vice” would be working with President Obama at the restaurant. The U.S. Secret Service asked for staff names and Social Security numbers to check for security. In the end there were only three representatives of the pub there, including owner Brian Maloof.

Virtually all the chairs and tables in the two main dining rooms were removed, said pub spokesman Angelo Fuster. Obama came in and he was very friendly and accessible.

He commented on Manuel’s storied history as a Democratic gathering place for decades. He also praised Manuel Maloof as a powerful political leader and a longtime business owner who passed the business on to his son, Brian.

He didn’t eat anything but he drank some water and sweet tea, said Fuster, who was there.

He did about a 40-minute interview with Vice on a range of topics. It is scheduled to air Monday.

After the interview, Obama conducted a 40-minute roundtable discussion with several students from Georgia Tech and Georgia State. Obama talked about his efforts to make college more affordable.

Fuster said he had a nice personal moment with Obama. Fuster, who is Cuban-American, said to the President, “Thank you for what you’ve done with the policy on Cuba. I’m Cuban-American and I’ve been here 50 years. I think it’s way overdue.”

Obama said the change will be good for Cuba.

Then Fuster said, “And please don’t listen to Marco Rubio. ”

Outside Manuel’s, Kimberly Naccarato  said her twin 9-year-olds, Luca and David, were picked to meet the president.
“It was amazing,” she said. “He walked up to my boys and shook their hands. He was genuine. It was historic.”

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