When President Obama took questions from residents after about 30 minutes of prepared remarks, he joked that he wanted to be fair, so he alternated calling on male and female audience members.
He did so casually and with a commanding stage presence -- calling on "the guy in the cap," and "you right there."
The last person to ask a question before Obama left around 1:10 p.m. was a freshman at Edison State College named Julio Osegueda. The 19-year-old student from Cape Coral -- who spoke in a booming broadcast voice (he's studying communications) -- said he's worked part-time at McDonald's for more than four years and asked the president if any plans are in place to help increase worker benefits.
"The fact that you are working as hard as you're working at a job that I know doesn't always pay as well as some other jobs, I think that's a source of pride for you that shows you're doing the right thing," Obama said, adding that Osegueda will be able to benefit from the tax breaks offered in the stimulus plan.
Another audience participant, an emotional woman named Henrietta Hughes, told the president her story of economic hardship and, with no question to ask, simply said: "Please help us."
Obama said he would, and told Hughes he would have his staff contact her after the event. Then he leaned in to hug her -- sending his Secret Service agents into high alert. No harm done.