Chattanooga Mayor reflects on second meeting with POTUS - WSMV Channel 4

Chattanooga Mayor reflects on second meeting with POTUS

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Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke (left) meets President Obama Tuesday. AP photo Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke (left) meets President Obama Tuesday. AP photo
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

While protestors and supporters hoped President Barack Obama would notice them along the Tuesday's motorcade route, it was Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke who had the President's ear on the ride from the airport to Amazon.

Berke was the first to welcome President Obama to the Scenic City.

"I simply welcomed him to Chattanooga," Berke told Channel 3.

"I also let him know that I had met him years before when I was in law school and he was a professor there, but I hadn't taken his class," Berke laughed. "So we talked through that a little bit."

That talk happened on the short ride to the Amazon Fulfillment Center in the presidential state car, known as "The Beast".

Two American flags marked the armor-plated limo that has bulletproof windows, kevlar-reinforced run flats, and other James Bond- style options.

But it wasn't the fancy ride keeping Berke's attention.

"You could see him looking out and seeing the people," Berke explained.

"I think it was even more surreal when we got to Amazon," said Berke.

"I was standing there looking at the crowd and I was thinking the President is here," he continued, "the feelings of patriotism are hard to beat."

Channel 3 asked Berke if he sent the President back to the White House with any gifts. Maybe a Moon Pie or other Chattanooga-made favor?

"One of the things that you're told is that you don't hand the President anything for obvious security reasons," he chuckled.

"So I had wondered about if I should take something to him and I think in the long run the best decision was don't do that," he smiled.

Parting gifts aside, Berke says President Obama did leave with a better understanding of what Chattanooga is all about.

"It's fine that people disagree with him, I know that he understands that," said Berke,  "but ultimately he's the President of the United States."

"This is a fantastic opportunity to show what Chattanooga is all about."

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