As a budding journalist and intern at a Peoria, Ill. newspaper, I often spent my down time scouring emails and Web sites of government agencies looking for interesting stories to cover.
I came across a bill in late 2003 signed by then governor and future federal corrections inmate number 40892-424 Rod Blagojevich. The recently signed bill required all police agencies in Illinois to record the race of every driver stopped by a police officer. The bill angered police chiefs and police union officials statewide because it meant a lot more paperwork for officers and deputies.
The purpose of the bill was to create enough data to study whether police around the state were practicing profiling.
Its sponsor: A then little-known state senator named Barack Obama.
I remember leaving a message at his Chicago home. I spent the day waiting for him to call back. I knew it might be foolish since this guy I’d never heard of was busy campaigning for the U.S. Senate.
I had already met his then opponent in this senate bid: Jack Ryan. Ryan withdrew from the race in 2004 after divorce papers revealed that he asked his ex-wife (former Star Trek and Boston Legal actress Jeri Ryan) to perform sexual acts with him in New York sex clubs.
I waited, and I waited for Mr. Obama to call me back. Finally, after speaking with one angry police chief after another, he called.
“Yes, this is Kris.”
“His, this is Barack Obama.”
I explained why I called. I wanted to talk about the legislation. But Mr. Obama had something else in mind.
“Kris. I hate to do this, but can you please hold for one second. I’ve been campaigning all day and I haven’t eaten a thing.”
I could hear him place his hand over the phone.
“Michelle. Where are you ordering from? Subway? OK, I’ll have a footlong roast beef on French bread…”
The rest of the conversation isn’t important. Fast forward a few years to the day that Obama accepted the nomination for Democratic presidential candidate in the 2008 campaign.
I lobbied heavily against Mr. Obama. Not because of his record. Not because I thought he would be a horrible leader of the Free World. I lobbied against Obama because WHO IN THE HELL ORDERS A ROAST BEEF SANDWICH FROM SUBWAY?
Card carrying Kenya-born Muslims, that’s who.
I was too stunned to recall what condiments he ordered on the sandwich. Did I black out? I don’t recall waking up in a hospital surrounded by loved ones or on the floor surrounded by shoulder-shrugging co-workers.
The harder and more frequently that I think about it, I do have a faint memory of Mr. Obama requesting spicy mustard on his sandwich…liberally distributed among the entire mass of French bread of course.