The Ticket

Ladies of Florida retirement village pucker up for the president

Chris Moody
The Ticket

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Obama greets residents of Century Village in West Palm Beach, Fla. (AP/Susan Walsh)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- The next time President Barack Obama needs to feel some love, the lips of the ladies from the Century Village retirement community in South Florida will be ready to greet him.

The president was met by about 700 mostly elderly and excited supporters here Thursday, where a row of grannies near the front puckered up and landed one on the leader of the free world. As Obama made his initial rounds around the lectern before his speech, several added bits of lipstick to his cheeks.

"I just want to say, that's the most kisses I've gotten at any campaign event," Obama said over the music and the crowd. "And that's just half the crew. I might get some more on my way around here. I like that! I like that! I like that!"

Despite the average age of the audience--the place isn't called Century Village for nothing--the crowd was hyped: Grandmothers with seats beyond kissing range fought for space to snap pictures of the president, and one woman shouted "Fight the power!" during his speech. When Obama gave a shout-out to the local mayor, referring to her as "Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio," a man off to the side corrected him. "That's WEST Palm Beach," he yelled. (There's a difference.)

Obama stuck mostly to the regular stump speech, but incorporated some South Florida flavor for the audience: He knocked Republican challenger Mitt Romney for supporting a plan to overhaul the nation's Medicare system, emphasized the country's relationship with Israel and promoted his health care law.

A few moments into Obama's speech, which he delivered from notes at the lectern instead of a teleprompter, a supporter's cellphone rang behind him.

"Who's calling?" Obama said, turning toward the noise. He suggested it might be his wife, Michelle. "She heard all those women were kissing me. She got a little nervous."

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