BLOG: Chasing the President out of the starting block

Andy Ouriel
Feb 7, 2012


The likely outcome of any challenge is failure.

But how can someone make himself a better, more well-rounded person without at least trying to conquer a daunting task?

Well, my most demanding task ever was just assigned to me.

And I’m up for it.

I’ve been assigned to land an in-person interview with possibly the most popular person in the entire galaxy.

My editors want me to have a conversation with President Barack Obama.

Just writing that sentence gives me goose bumps.

Regardless of my political stance, it would be an amazing feat to one day say I had a dialogue with a U.S. president.

Today marks the beginning of a year-long Register series called Chasing the President.

Reporter Emil Whitis, my co-host on Five Points with Emil & Andy, has set out on a similar path.  He’s aiming to land an interview with the eventual Republican candidate, likely Mitt Romney.   

Emil and I will nag press secretaries and bug other high-ranking officials in hopes of landing interviews with the two presidential candidates.

I’ve never talked to Obama before, but he did come within a few feet of me one time.

In summer 2009, Obama visited Shaker Heights High School in Cleveland, where he delivered a speech about the economy.

When Air Force One — which could cover an entire football field — landed at Cleveland Hopkins Airport, I waited by the runway with dozens of others to catch a glimpse of the commander in chief.

I was a Bowling Green State University student at the time, covering the event as a reporter for The BG News.

When Obama emerged from the plane, he meandered over and shook hands with a BG News photographer who was with me.

I wanted that handshake and I’m still a little envious of him bypassing my hand.

But now I want more than a handshake.

I want a sit-down and a Q&A session.

I’ve already set forth and asked several people how I can get that all-inclusive interview.

I first called Obama’s re-election campaign in Chicago and spoke to volunteer Kim Thornton, who provided me with the all-important first step in landing the interview.

“Your best bet is to go to the press office,” Thornton said. “I can give you the email. Good luck.”

I then sent an email to Obama’s press secretary to inform his supporters of my venture.

So far, I haven’t secured the interview.

But at least a few people know what I’m attempting to achieve.

Do you have ideas on how Andy Ouriel and Emil Whitis can reach the president and his Republican challenger? Who should they talk to?

Call Ouriel at 419-609-5827 or email him at
Call Whitis at 419-609-5852 or email him at