The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

October 1, 2012

Sharing the stage with the president

Kent student introduces Obama at rally

By Tom Davidson
Herald Staff Writer

WEST MIDDLESEX — Although he’s the leader of the free world, President Barack Obama’s “just a regular guy” when you meet him face-to-face, Bryan J. Staul said.

The 22-year-old West Middlesex native is a senior at Kent State University in Ohio. A political science major, Staul is president of Kent State Democrats, and as such he had the honor of introducing the president during a campaign stop Wednesday in Kent.

“It was incredible,” Staul said.

Staul drew cheers during his introduction of Obama at the Memorial Athletic and Convocation Center.

“Kent State ... Kent State ... the American dream is still alive when a kid from Nowhere, Pennsylvania, can stand up and introduce the most powerful man in the world,” Staul said.

His parents, Bryan and Brenda Staul, also got the chance to meet Obama and watch their son’s brush with presidential politics.

“We were just bursting at the seams,” Brenda Staul said. “We couldn’t be more proud. He’s made a lot of his own opportunities.”

Her son said he enjoyed “hanging with the president.”

He was nervous at first, but Obama put him at ease.

“He has a very Zen personality,” he said of Obama. “We discussed Stafford student loans and Pell grants.”

Mostly, he listened, Staul said.

“I figured the less I said, the less I’d screw it up,” he said. “We talked about football.”

Before going out to introduce him, Obama told him to hitch up his pants, which was “kind of hilarious,” Staul said.

He’s been an Obama supporter since he was 17, he said.

He volunteered during Obama’s 2008 run and was able to cast his first vote for Obama then, Staul said.

“I think top to bottom we’ve had a successful presidency,” he said. “We’ve still got a lot of work to do, but I say, let’s keep the guy we’ve got.”

Watch Staul’s introduction of Obama on by searching key words “Staul” and “Obama.”