Kearney - sans luggage - tells Ohioans a personal Obama story

Sep 4, 2012

Ohio Senate Minority Leader Eric Kearney of North Avondale had a personal story about Barack and Michelle Obama to tell the Ohio Democratic delegation at its morning breakfast Tuesday.

Kearney told of reading newspaper story in 2003 about a young state senator from Illinois who was planning on making a long-shot run at a U.S. Senate seat in 2004.

"I went home to my wife, showed her the story, and said you have to read this,'' Kearney said.

His wife, Jan Michelle Kearney, an attorney, looked at the newspaper clipping and matter-of-factly said, "Oh, that's Barack."

You know him, Kearney asked his wife. Yes, she said; he was one of her classmates at Harvard Law School.

"You know him too,'' his wife told Kearney. "We went to his wedding in Chicago."

"Then I remembered the wedding in Chicago and it was a pretty nice time,'' Kearney said.

That led to Eric and Jan Michelle Kearney inviting Obama to Cincinnati in 2004 for a fundraising event at a downtown hotel - one of the first of Obama's fundraisers outside Illinois for the Senate race that he ultimately won.

Kearney was speaking to the delegates Tuesday morning in the same suit jacket and pants he wore Monday when he flew to Charlotte from Cincinnati.

He told reporters his Delta flight to Charlotte was canceled due to mechanical problems; and Delta put him on a U.S. Airways flight instead.

When he arrived at Charlotte Douglas Airport Monday afternoon, he waited and waited at the luggage carrousel and his baggage never arrived.

"They said they would deliver it to the hotel last night, but it never showed up,'' Kearney said. "And when I got up this morning, it wasn't there either."

Luckily, he said, he had a clean, red polo shirt in his carry-on bag and wore that to the delegation breakfast Tuesday.