Who’s that tall gawky guy with Lincoln Restler?
Barack Obama got a chance to mingle with Williamsburg District Leader Lincoln Restler last month at a White House Christmas Party — and all we got was one of the greatest political pictures since a young Bill Clinton was snapped shaking hands with then-President Kennedy in 1963.
Restler, a former Obama campaign volunteer, piqued the attention of the White House political office after he won a dramatic, razor-thin victory last September, defeating a candidate backed by the Brooklyn Democratic machine.
So on Dec. 14, Restler, joined by his campaign manager and co-founder of the New Kings Democrats, Sarah Baker, took the bus to Washington for the house party — and got to mingle with guests such as Rev. Al Sharpton, Gen. Wesley Clark, and administration staffers Valerie Jarrett and Pete Rouse.
Security to get into the White House was understandably tight — after two unwanted guests blitzed through several checkpoints at a state dinner last year — and both Restler and Baker were scanned and surveyed with a metal wand several times.
Once inside, Baker and Restler checked out the spread, which included several meat and potato small plates and champagne.
“They had everything,” said Baker. “But I was too excited to eat. There were blue carrots. That was really cool.”
After Restler schmoozed with other young, up-and-coming politicos from throughout the country, Baker corralled the state committeeman to stand in the photo line to meet the president.
“Military officers introduce you and you get to talk with him and the first lady for a little bit and they take a photograph,” said Baker.
Restler never knew that the resulting picture would make him look like the president, and Michelle and Barack Obama appear to be visiting him.
“The president and First Lady smiled as I respectively told them, ‘You have inspired us to build a progressive Brooklyn Democratic Party and to dismantle the Brooklyn Machine once and for all!’ ” he said.
Restler also described the cherry cobbler as “ridiculous” (well, if you’re not going to get good cobbler at the White House, where are you going to get it?).
Before they returned for Brooklyn, Baker took multiple pictures of Restler next to Abraham Lincoln memorabilia in the White House’s East Room.
“We wanted pictures because his name is Lincoln,” said Baker. “But I don’t think Lincoln has presidential ambitions.”
But he might want to save those pictures in case he does. Just like Bill Clinton did.
©2011 Community Newspaper Group
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