Charlene Strong met with President Obama on Tuesday afternoon at the White House, prior to the President's annual Pride speech. Her wife Kate's mother joined her.
I spoke with Charlene shortly after her meeting with the President. She was incredibly impressed by her visit with Obama, "I looked the President in the eye and could tell he was sincere. I'm not one to be star struck, so I wasn't just caught up in the moment," Charlene said, "This man means what he says and understands how important it is to move quickly."
Charlene was equally serious, "You can tell anyone that does not believe Obama is our ally to call me personally. I will tell them what's up. He is on our side."
"They were taking notes, they were listening, they were engaged," Charlene explained.
Coming from anyone else, I would be suspicious. But I know Charlene and I know her style. She is not one to repeat talking points or spin. She is as sincere as it gets. If Charlene believes the President "gets it," then I do too.
Rahm Emanual arranged the meeting with the President, "Rahm Emanual took me aside and told me he knew my story," Charlene said, "he told me that's the reason I was here. He wanted the President to meet me."
I asked Charlene if this was a one time opportunity, or if she thought there would be future meetings. "I have everyone's business card and I intend to make it clear to them that I am eager to help move us forward. If they want more meetings, I am willing to continue the conversation," Charlene said.
The President acknowledged Charlene Strong, Kate's mother, and Janice Langbehn during his speech at the White House on Tuesday.
Notably, the President referred to Charlene's wife as "her wife, Kate Fleming."
Charlene Strong released a documentary about the tragic loss of her wife, called "For My Wife." There are scheduled screenings in Washington DC and Philadelphia this week.