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Obama delivers Settebello pizzas to campaign workers in Henderson

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AP / Pablo Martinez Monsivais

President Barack Obama greets supporters during a visit to a local campaign office Monday, Oct. 1, 2012, in Henderson.

Updated Monday, Oct. 1, 2012 | 5:56 p.m.

Obama visits local campaign office

President Barack Obama visits a Las Vegas campaign office on Monday, Oct. 1, 2012.

Obama Visits Henderson Campaign Office

President Barack Obama, right, sits down with volunteers to make phone calls to supporters during a visit to a local campaign office, Monday, Oct. 1, 2012 in Henderson, Nev. Launch slideshow »

He didn’t look like the average pizza deliveryman.

Wearing tan slacks and a dress shirt — sleeves rolled up, of course — President Barack Obama sauntered into a Henderson field office for his campaign Monday afternoon, clutching six boxes of Settebello pizza.

It was a low-key entrance, much like the excursion itself. The president’s motorcade, in a change from the norm, stopped at traffic lights along the way and wound up mixing with regular traffic.

The commander-in-chief’s security detail arrived minutes before him, sweeping the office located in a nondescript plaza at the corner of Valle Verde Drive and Horizon Ridge Parkway. Obama entered at 2:06 p.m.

“My jaw dropped,” said 73-year-old Ellen Merill, a campaign volunteer.

The room erupted in applause. Obama discarded the pizza and began making the rounds, shaking every hand and dispensing hugs to the approximately 20 campaign staff members and volunteers on hand for his surprise visit.

Well, almost surprise visit. The group had about 20 minutes to prepare, tipped off by a higher-up staff member.

“They said, ‘Clean up the room! Obama is coming to visit,’” said Denise Walker, a retired teacher who now volunteers for the Democratic incumbent’s campaign.

The president’s entranced almost reduced Walker to tears. She said Obama seemed “so natural, so genuine” during his 27-minute visit, even singing “Happy Birthday” to a fellow volunteer.

“He said, ‘Give me a hug,’ and I just melted,” Walker said. “It’s like meeting a rock star, only better.”

Obama thanked the group for its hard work and asked for continued support in the next 36 days, a time marked by presidential debates and fierce boots-on-the-ground campaigning.

“I don’t mean to put too much on your shoulders,” he joked.

It’s a safe bet Henderson resident Marcy Ramirez is up for the challenge. The campaign volunteer endured a car wreck two days ago while out registering voters. Then someone stole an Obama-Biden sign from her front yard.

“You just wake up and go, ‘Where am I going (today)?’” she said.

Last month, Ramirez met Obama during a rally at Cashman Center. This time was more serendipitous: She stopped by the Henderson field office to drop off some campaign labels.

And, as luck would have it, Ramirez even had a large photo of Obama with her — perfect for the president’s John Hancock.

“I said, ‘You’re going to sign my picture, right?’” she said. “He said, ‘Yes, yes, of course I am.’”

Two-and-a-half miles away, the phone began ringing at Settebello. It was a reporter, inquiring about six pizzas ordered by the president’s party.

That’s when Dana Olsen, a manager at Settebello, connected the dots. The order of two Margherita with finocchiona salami, two Capricciosa and two Margherita pizzas would be forever memorialized in photos with the president.

“It’s funny,” Olsen said. “One of the girls who works here yesterday asked what we would do if he came in.”

Olsen, who said she was not an Obama supporter, wished he had stopped by the pizzeria, but she was excited about the possible boon to business.

“I think it’ll help people be curious and want to try what he tried,” she said.

Back at the field office, the pizza boxes remained untouched until after the president bid farewell. Then the group dug in, fueling up for the road ahead.

“It’s going to take me a long time to think about it and take it all in,” said a beaming Merill, donning several Obama campaign buttons. “But I’ve got to get back to work. Now I’m really motivated.”

This is Obama's second day in the Las Vegas Valley. He arrived Sunday afternoon and gave a 25-minute speech that night to about 11,000 supporters at Desert Pines High School. He is spending Monday and Tuesday at Lake Las Vegas, preparing for the first of three debates against GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney on Wednesday night in Denver.

Sun reporter Pashtana Usufzy contributed to this report.

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  1. They might have been happy but I'm sure the people in traffic weren't.

  2. Robert, Just stop whining for one day about this. The President made a very nice gesture that brought smiles to many faces and shows he is genuine.

  3. I don't like Obama, but I'm glad his people did some homework. That's the best pizza in Henderson.

  4. Yes, Robert, like Mark said, stop whining! On any given day, the traffic out here is horrendous, and the Prez is nowhere around! @PaulSeven: yes! Settebello is THE best, but he should have ordered at least one Settebello, that one is great! Those lucky OFA volunteers! (both for the pizza, and for meeting President Obama!)

  5. Those hipster pizzas are NOT good in comparison to actual pizza. If I wanted a salad on my pizza I would order a salad.

  6. Scratch the surface of someone who doesn't like President Obama and you never know what off kilter things they believe.

  7. Isn't this what all politicians do? PR PR PR? Same ol same ol. Nothing really that novel or new about it. Additionally, I would say the same thing about Romney for anyone thinking that I'm being unfair.

  8. Settbello offers the only certified pizzeria Napoletana in southern Nevada. It is exceptional pizza the way the Italians eat it (and there is no "salad" on it as another commenter has said). That said, it should never, ever be delivered, or taken out. It must be eaten immediately from the oven or it loses all consistency.

  9. Comment removed by moderator. Off Topic

  10. Comment removed by moderator. Off Topic

  11. "That said, it should never, ever be delivered, or taken out. It must be eaten immediately from the oven or it loses all consistency."

    Darn it! It lost all of it's consistency...

  12. "Darn it! It lost all of it's consistency..."

    Were you referring to the pizza or the President? :)

  13. brianlv,
    The story indicates that the motorcade did not stop traffic...

  14. Happy Mr. Obama has finally realized a job he can handle...

  15. Aw, you sour grapes folks don't know a good story when you see it! Enjoy the great write-up in the R-J tomorrow, and please come to our fabulous victory party for President Obama on Nov. 6th! See you there!

  16. The unions deliver millions to him for services rendered and he delivers pizza to the people spreading his lies... Fair Deal I guess...

  17. <<After the election you will never find Obama in any pizza joint. He will be dining at the five star joints that he loves>>

    Nice try, NVFisherman. When Obama is back home in Chicago, he visits restaurants that are NOT 5-star, but basically great restuarants with good food (Chicago has an abundance of those) and a homey atmosphere. I've been to one place where he has been known to visit and it's a fun place with great food. And not expensive.

  18. <<And when you think Chicago's Barry "Soetoro" Obama and his pizza skills

    think Chicago pizza - or better yet

    think Chicago corruption.

    Read the recent SUN article for yourself, here (you might not want to call Barry "Soetoro" Obama for pizza delivery after this):

    http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2012/sep......>>

    @Wizard of Oz:

    Give up grabbing at straws already. Some of your posts are lame, at best.

    And "Know It All" - you wouldn't know a "Chicago- pizza" if it hit you in your ...

  19. Osama is DEAD and that's good enough for me.

    Just for thought I wonder what the percentile of persons killed in the World Trade Center were in the 47% or better yet how many of the first responders were also in the 47%? Would the answer be 99%.