Do President Barack Obama’s post-presidency plans include Asheville, North Carolina? White House officials are loath to discuss Obama’s plans past January 2017, but he may have just dropped a hint.
“I love coming to Asheville,” Obama said at a Linamar factory plant, where he stumped today on his post-State of the Union tour. He told the crowd that “after this whole presidency thing,” he and Michelle Obama will be “looking for a little spot, you know, to come on down, play a little golf, do a little hiking, fishing, eat barbecue.”
Obama lost North Carolina to Republican Mitt Romney in November, but he’s still feeling the love.
Since his travels in the 2008 campaign, Obama has regularly visited the state. He played basketball with the University of North Carolina Tar Heels, held his party’s 2012 convention in Charlotte and makes a point of stopping for barbecue every chance he gets.
“There are two things that keep bringing me back here: Number one is I really like the people, and number two is 12 Bones, which I will be stopping on the way back to the airport,” Obama said to cheers.
12 Bones Smokehouse was a restaurant stop for the first family on its short vacation to Asheville in April 2010. The town’s website has a page dedicated to the Obama vacation, proudly listing his itinerary and inviting visitors to “vacation like a president.”
Obama also spent a week in Asheville during the 2008 campaign preparing for a debate against then-Republican rival Sen. John McCain of Arizona.
When the first family took its 2010 vacation, the White House issued the following statement:
“The president first visited the Asheville area during the campaign, and he liked it so much that he vowed to take his family there. The president and first lady are planning to spend a quiet weekend enjoying some of the many things this beautiful part of the country has to offer.”