Gov. Pete Ricketts credited his staff with shifting his schedule and freeing the time needed to greet President Barack Obama when he arrived at Offutt Air Force Base this week.
Ricketts first said he didn’t have time to meet the president during his visit to the University of Nebraska-Omaha. He later relented and greeted the president after Air Force One landed at Offutt Air Force Base.
“Really, I just have a great team that was able to work around the schedule,” Ricketts told reporters during a news conference after his State of the State address. “As I mentioned earlier, it’s a big deal when the president comes to Nebraska. We felt it was important to make that change. So, we were able to get that done and make it happen.”
The president’s visit did come during a busy week for the governor.
Ricketts earlier had defended his initial decision not to greet the president, saying that his schedule was too busy in preparation for his State of the State address to the Unicameral to take time to meet with the president. That changed later and Ricketts led the team of Nebraskans who greeted the president on the tarmac of Offutt Air Force Base.
Ricketts said he had a few moments to speak with President Obama.
“The conversation was very brief as the president came off the plane,” according to Ricketts. “We talked briefly about trade, about the importance of Offutt Air Force Base. Also, I thanked him for his support of charter schools.”
Ricketts said the two also engaged in small talk about the president’s daughters growing older.
Ricketts returned to the Capitol after greeting the president. He held a budget briefing with reporters that afternoon on the eve of his State of the State speech.
Lt. Governor Mike Foley attended the event at Baxter Arena on the campus of the University of Nebraska-Omaha.