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Macomb residents attend barbe-Q and A with Obama
8/24/2007

By CHELSEA MCDOUGALL

Eagle Assistant Editor

MACOMB - What would Illinois Sen. and presidential hopeful Barack Obama bring to a barbeque? As current and former area residents will tell you - he would bring sweet corn and watermelon.

On Saturday, Aug. 18, Macomb High graduate Gretchen (McKee) Lawyer and her husband Nick Lawyer, an Industry High graduate, both WIU graduates, were chosen as hosts for a day of “Grilling with Barack” at their Marion, Iowa backyard. Obama’s campaign held a contest in which Iowans submitted questions they would like to ask the senator and the reason why it was important to them. Ten Iowa voters were chosen to ask their questions directly to Obama at the barbeque.

Gretchen and Nick were chosen to host the event in addition to the 10 Iowa questioners and Obama, several Secret Service agents and a swarm of national and local media outlets. Despite all the people and media,

Gretchen said the day was very laid-back and informal.

Gretchen said she and Nick spent the week doing house and yard work in preparation for the event.

Gretchen invited her parents Gary and Ronda McKee, Macomb, and hyper-political aunt and uncle Jack and Margaret Harn, Macomb, to join the festivities.

Although Margaret said they were forced to wait inside for 45 minutes when the media was present, they joined the senator for informal discussions when the media left.

Margaret said Obama gets a bad rap for being arrogant but she said he was the opposite. And she was impressed with his magnetism.

“He’s not arrogant,” she said. “But he’s sure of himself and poised.”

Gretchen agreed.

“There is a sense of humility with him, yet very self-assured. He is down-to-earth and very easy to talk to,” Gretchen said.

That, Margaret said, is what she looks for in a candidate. Prior to the event,

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