Erik Foss, Head of Seattle's Most Average Family, Hosts President Obama

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Meet Erik Foss. That's him to the right, wearing the Viking helmet. Erik was once an average Seattle family man. In fact, he was so average that he made for the perfect presidential party host. Which, depending on how you look at it, is either deeply insulting or deeply flattering.

The Times story on how Foss and his family came to host President Barack Obama yesterday during his one-hour backyard chat is revealing. There were the logistical considerations -- Foss' backyard doesn't have alley access, the better to discourage potential assassination attempts, and is only blocks away from Hec Pavilion, where Obama stumped for Patty Murray. And then there were the political considerations.

Foss runs his own construction company and recently remodeled his family's two-story craftsman. A professional background that nicely dovetails into two of this, and almost every year's biggest campaign issues. (Housing! The economy!) And even though he's friends with some local Democratic heavies, the small scale and scope of Foss' political donations -- $50 to Obama in 2008 -- makes him appear appealingly apolitical and, well, average.

But the best detail to come out of the Times story has nothing to do with how the presidential handlers prepared for Foss. It's for how Foss and his friends prepared to handle the president.

Friends and family descended last weekend to help mow and trim the lawn, till the garden and power-wash the front steps, so the president wouldn't slip on the moss. As they worked, a Secret Service helicopter circled overhead.
Your number one concern when the world's most powerful man walks up to your door: making sure he doesn't blow out his knee on the way there.
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