President Barack Obama was on the ground in Dallas for all of four hours on Wednesday. It would have been closer to five, but his departure from D.C. was delayed by an hour after bomb-sniffing dog reacted to what turned out to be anti-freeze in a vehicle parked near the White House.
From Love Field, where Air Force One arrived just before 5 p.m., the presidential motorcade made its way to Temple Emanu-El, where he was greeted by a few dozen protesters calling for Obama's impeachment over Benghazi and Obamacare, among other offenses.
Inside the temple, as announced, he defended the law and its rollout:
I just want all of you to remember, as challenging as this may seem sometimes, as frustrating as healthcare.gov may be sometimes, we are going to get this done. When we do, you're going to have families all across this great state of Texas who are going to have the security and the well-being of high-quality, affordable health insurance, and that's going to be good for business.
Encouraged the navigators who are helping some of the million or so Dallas-area residents who are uninsured sign up for Obamacare:
I know that sometimes this task is especially challenging here in the great Lone Star State...[but] this looks like a pretty motivated group... I'm going to be right there with you the entire way
And took some not-so-veiled shots at Governor Rick Perry, pointing out that Arkansas' decision to expand Medicaid dropped the state's rate of uninsured residents by 14 percent:
All of you understand that there's no state that actually needs this more than Texas. ...Your neighboring states have made that decision [to expand Medicaid], because they look at it and say, 'This is a no brainer, why would we not want to take advantage of this?' There's no reason why this state can't do the same.
Perry had his rebuttal ready.
"President Obama deceived the American people by promising that anyone who liked their health care plan could keep it, but millions of Americans are now discovering that simply isn't true," he said. "Now, he's coming to Texas in a desperate attempt to salvage his ill-conceived and unpopular program from a Titanic fate by preaching expansion of the same Medicaid system he himself admits is broken."
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the Observer's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Dallas's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
From the Temple, Obama made a couple of whirlwind fundraising stops, the first a $15,000-per-person reception at Bluffview home of attorney Peter Kraus, the second a $32,400 dinner at the Highland Park manse of attorney Russell Budd. By 9 p.m., Obama was back on Air Force One and headed back to D.C.
Karen Mitchell, a worker at Planet Smoothie across from Temple Emanu-El, must have been crushed.
"I've just made a Merry Berry Cherry," Mitchell told WFAA in the lead-up to Obama's arrival. "We're all hoping he comes in for a smoothie today."
Alas, he did not.