A presidential pizza party is 'So Hendo'

President Barack Obama left the Westin hotel at Lake Las Vegas on Monday afternoon for a quick visit to the Obama for America office in Henderson.

There, about 20 campaign volunteers, young and old, beamed as the president walked in with a half-dozen fresh pizzas from the nearby Settebello Pizzeria Napoletana.

"I've been told this is the most outstanding pizza in the area," he said, wearing a light blue button-down shirt with the sleeves rolled up.

Obama walked down the line of awestruck volunteers, asking their names and offering handshakes and hugs.

"Obviously Nevada is going to be critical to this election. It's going to be close like it's going to be close all across the country," he told them. "You are the ones who are going to make the difference."

Obama also posed for group photos with mostly young supporters who convinced him to say "So Hendo" instead of "Cheese."

Hendo is a local nickname for Henderson.

After photos, Obama sat down to call and thank a few supporters.

"The work you are doing is making all the difference, and we just need you to keep it up," he told Donna Hodges.

He then called Schelia Shinno, who nearly missed her chance when she didn't answer. Obama started to leave a message when a volunteer got her on the phone and handed it to the president.

He thanked her and asked about her little dog, Phoenix.

"He's also willing to do a little canvassing?" the president asked. "I need him to talk to Bo because Bo is loafing around, and I'm out here hustling for votes."

On the next call supporter Andrea Stinger told Obama she loved him.

"Well, I love you back," he replied as the room filled with laughs.

Stinger apparently asked the president how preparation for his upcoming debate was going.

"Basically they're keeping me indoors all the time. It's a drag. They're making me do my homework," he said.

A few minutes later, Obama's 25-minute visit was over, and he was headed back to his hotel, where he is scheduled to stay until he leaves Wednesday for Denver, site of his first debate with Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

Not long after the impromptu pizza party, reporters started calling Settebello asking about the presidential pizza pies, employee Kendra Sides said.

That was the first time employees had any idea the pizzas - two margheritas, two margheritas with peppered salami and two with only vegetables - were for Obama, she said.

"We kind of put two and two together," she said.

Sides said the presidential pick was a "huge compliment" to the pizzeria.

"And it shows that he has good taste," she said.

Contact reporter Brian Haynes at bhaynes@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0281.


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