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Soldiers, Spouses React to Obama's Impending Visit

Fort Stewart spouses share their thoughts on Obama's scheduled visit, and what they'd like to tell the president.

With President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama , a few Army spouses gave Fort Stewart Patch their thoughts on the visit, the administration and what they'd say to Obama if they could.

Some were glad Obama was coming. Others disagreed with the president's proposed defense cuts. All had opinions.

"I think he's cool," said Kristin Harris. "I personally have nothing against him like everyone seems to. I'd love meet him. He seems really down to earth and nice."

"I have no bad feelings. I mean, he is president of our country and people should respect him no matter what," agreed Taryn Giumento Thomas. "Plus he is our husbands' boss. Anyway, I personally like Obama so I'm excited."

April Stubbs felt less positive about the visit. "There are a lot of things I would like to say to him," she said. "First, he was never in the military, and I don't think he has an appreciation for military lifestyle. For example he increased (insurance) co-pays, and changed the pensions to a 401(k) plan. Secondly, his health care plan blew up in his face."

Bianca Ritchey agreed. "I don't like Obama," she said. "He tried to take away their pay last year. Doesn't he think the soldiers will be angry about that?"

Actually, Obama's 2011 budget, approved by Congress, gave soldiers a 1.4-percent pay increase. However, in 2010 a bipartisan fiscal reform commission had suggested implementing a pay freeze as part of a strategy to reduce spending. The suggestion was rejected, but led to a popular misconception that Obama planned to freeze military pay.

Evelyn Lopez said she was excited by Obama's visit -- but she had a few questions she'd like to ask, too.

"I think that it's great that Obama is coming to Fort Stewart," Lopez said. "I wish I had the chance to meet him. Luckily, my husband will get to go see him speak. I don't think he's as excited as I would be if I were in his shoes. Of course, I don't have to march forever and practice for a dog-and-pony show."

Lopez said she was worried about the strategy behind the Army's planned .

"If I had the chance to ask Obama a question, I would ask him about the troop reductions. I want to know why they're kicking out perfectly good soldiers," she said. "To me that is one of the most important issues going on right now. I know that he really wouldn't do anything about that, but I think he should know the crisis that lots of soldiers and their families are going through."

The planned force reduction includes new rules that make it -- something Lopez disagreed with.

"Many of my friends have no idea what will be happening in the next year, because they don't know if their husbands will be able to re-enlist," she said. "People are scared to death and worried about their futures. People that wanted to be career soldiers are being kicked out for silly reasons. We should be getting rid of the soldiers that do not want to be here first, then the shammers."

As for the soldiers who talked to us, they saw the pragmatic side of the visit.

"I'm sure (the visit) is going to make the Friday commute crappy," said Spc. Chris Pettibone, 3rd Infantry Division.

"We've had some extra work to do while preparing for his arrival," added fellow 3rd ID soldier Pfc. Scott Harris.

Got something to say about this story? Tell us in the comments!

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Eenkling April 27, 2012 at 10:11 PM
I watched his speech and the words of the First Lady. He was there to talk about the bill he is signing that will help vets and service members understand and get better support when they are trying to enroll in colleges and select classes. Everyone in attendance was very supportive of the President and the First Lady, and they were very supportive of all of the military and the service they provide and their families. That is the message that I have always heard from President Obama, support of the troops. I'm a Vet, and my spouse is active duty and has been so for 29 years. We both support President Obama and all that he has been trying to do for this country after the destructive policies of the last President in office.
Eenkling April 27, 2012 at 10:12 PM
One has nothing to do with the other. If you really expect an answer to that question ask your Congress. They are the ones that approve their own pay raises.
Eenkling April 27, 2012 at 10:13 PM
Looks like you're going to have a long wait. OBAMA 4 MORE YEARS!!!
Eenkling April 27, 2012 at 10:18 PM
ALL Presidents have ALWAYS visited bases. (They ARE the Commander-in-Chief, after all...and those are HIS troops).Bush came all the way to Hawaii to visit the bases when he was President, (and he didn't pay for it either). Why should the standards be any different for THIS President? At least THIS President isn't wasting our money taking Air Force One to Texas every other week like the last President did.
rose Curtis April 28, 2012 at 01:26 PM
All I can say is that Obama has been a good President, and i am voying for him again in 2012!

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