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Posted on Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 11:26 a.m.

Obama in Ann Arbor: Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson gets shout-out from president

By Kyle Meinke


Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson responds after his shout-out from President Obama.

Melanie Maxwell |

(Related: Mega guide to the president's visit)

Denard Robinson is a rock star. There's just no other way to put it.

The Michigan football team's senior-to-be quarterback met LeBron James earlier in the week. Then, he got a shout-out this morning from, of all people, the commander in chief.

"Denard Robinson's in the house!" President Barack Obama said during his visit to the Ann Arbor campus on Friday. "I hear you're coming back, man! That is a good deal for Michigan!"


Melanie Maxwell I

Robinson filed paperwork after the regular season to have his pro stock evaluated by the NFL draft advisory board. He elected to return for his senior season.

His president approves.

Later, someone in the crowd yelled to Obama, "Denard for president!"

From the Big House to the White House?

"They're trying to draft you for president," Obama quipped. "He's gotta graduate before he runs for President."

Obama’s references to Robinson and Michigan athletics might be viewed as sly or off the cuff, but one political expert said it’s strategy.

“He wants the audience to know that he’s not just dropping in without any knowledge about the local venues,” said Michael Traugott, a University of Michigan political scientist. “They use these kinds of references to make clear they know something about the local culture and the local atmosphere.”

Obama was at the University of Michigan to speak about higher education funding. And, as he was sure to note for the audience, his blueprint is blue.

His speech was at the Al Glick Fieldhouse, which is an indoor football facility near Schembechler Hall. It is named after Al Glick, a prominent donor to the athletic program.

Kyle Meinke covers Michigan football for He can be reached at 734-623-2588, by email at and followed on Twitter @kmeinke.



Sat, Jan 28, 2012 : 10 p.m.

Outstanding comment Hailmary, the politicians of today are horrible and self-serving. how about you do your job Mr Prez and quit doing speeches with all your snide remarks that don't get anything done. Take care of my beloved country, not your party. Both parties are not doing their jobs, makes me sad to see it. That's why I'm independent cause I think independently, not how I'm told.


Sat, Jan 28, 2012 : 2:35 p.m.

The shout out and subsequent typical Denard smile was nice but there is a far greater concern than just the President trying to endear himself to Michigan Wolverine fans. We are a country in need of greatness and I don't mean just the type of greatness that Coach Brady Hoke has displayed. I feel far more secure in the type of stability that Brady Hoke has displayed than I do the leaders of this country.


Sat, Jan 28, 2012 : 2:21 p.m.

Sorry, but who made DRob? Yes, Our King. 2012 Top Ten 1. Oregon 2. Arizona 3. Baylor 4. Florida St 5. Florida Atlantic 6. Ole Miss 7. Oregon 8. Southern Miss 9. Washington 10. TCU (All teams where even the linemen run sub-4.0 40s. Let's keep it real in 2012 with an anti-Borges, and, as such, an anti-BO campaign. Long live the good, gracious, conservative values our great country was founded on!)


Sat, Jan 28, 2012 : 9:50 p.m.

Hey Burton, you're panning his conservative values and not his top ten? If you're too liberal or too conservative, I find both scary. Beliefs can be dogmatic and scary, ideas are wonderful and flexible. Theo, you're top ten is comical, are you really an M Fan or the WCIMFH Fan?


Sat, Jan 28, 2012 : 3:32 p.m.

"good, gracious, conservative values" ??? What planet do you live on? Name one thing that conservative politicians have been promoting that fits any of those descriptions.

Annie Nonmus

Sat, Jan 28, 2012 : 2:26 a.m.

Give me a break. Obama gets some flunky to find out a few tidbits about UM so he can sound "on top" of things local. Doubtful he had any knowledge of Denard assessing his stock in the NFL draft. Just looking for votes.


Sat, Jan 28, 2012 : 2:10 a.m.

Kudos to Denard, but big friggin' deal to the pres.


Sat, Jan 28, 2012 : 12:47 a.m.

Denard is priceless. I'm worried for him thou. Once one starts hanging around politicians and NBA mega millionaires he'll have countless opportunities "grow up". I hope he never loses his humble nature.


Sat, Jan 28, 2012 : 2:44 a.m.

Not to mention the ncaa is watching and um is still on probation. How did he pay for those courtside seats in Detroit?


Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 9:55 p.m.


Wally the Wolverine

Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 9:42 p.m.

Obama's presence in town can only mean one thing. A taxpayer funded solar panel boondoggle is on the horizon for Ann Arbor.

Terry Star21

Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 9:31 p.m.

Nice tribute to DROB...would have rather heard explaining for why our country is in the worst financial shape in 80 years, why we sent one billion to Bangladesh when some American's are starving, why starting this year Pensions are being taxed (for second time), why no we don't know where he was born, etc., etc. all day long.


Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 8:07 p.m.

The comments by Michael Traugott add _nothing_ to the article. Do you really think we need a political scientist to figure out why a visiting politician or musician or coach makes references to local culture? yAWn.


Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 8:06 p.m.

I for one am outraged and take umbrage that the president would take time out of his tax-payer-funded outing to point out that a football player is in attendance when he should have been prepping for war with Iran. whaaargaarbl.

Are you serious?

Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 8:14 p.m.

Maybe you have inside knowledge, but these types of campaign trips are usually paid for by the president's party.


Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 7:30 p.m.

Denard coming back is a good deal for Michigan. They don't have to pay the star of the football team that grosses hundreds of millions


Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 7:16 p.m.

I halfway agree with you, mr54. I campaigned and voted for Obama in '08, and will do so again. However, I'm not sure that DR deserves so much praise and recognition. He's not a very good quarterback. His passing accuracy is, well, not the greatest. I hope he does better next season, but I'm not holding my breath!


Sat, Jan 28, 2012 : 3:31 a.m.

Poor comment and lacking any football IQ. Denard is a very good college quarterback and is committed to develop every day until its over for him at Michigan. We are lucky that he takes the praise that WE heap on him and just lets it roll of his back. In a day and age where athletes actually believe the press they get...Denard keeps his head on strait and keeps working. You sound like all those weak fans in Indianapolis that complain about Payton Manning. Don't hold your breath breath, just go be a state fan, you don't need any football IQ in that group.


Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 11:50 p.m.

I like Denard's performance way better than Barack's, so there's that


Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 6:33 p.m.

what a great photo----impossible NOT to smile while enjoying it----look at the faces of those surrounding #16.


Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 6:28 p.m.

NObama shouts out DR is in the house!!! WhOOOOOOOOOOOP DEE DOOOOO!!!!


Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 11:48 p.m.

exactly, lots of speeches but no action Also, Denard is awesome and Go Blue!


Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 6:15 p.m.

google obama's 32 month report card by rich carroll. . . there are always two sides to politics! GO DR and always GO BLUE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jello Biafra

Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 6:12 p.m.

Denard Robinson is a class act. The University of Michigan is lucky to have such a friendly and talented quarterback to represent the university. Go Blue!


Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 5:57 p.m.

The first sentence syas it all. The rest of the article is a fun gotta love it. I also heard Denard met or chatted briefly with La Bron James at the recent Pistons-Heat game. He was also a judge at AA Pioneer's talent event this past Sunday. So, more power to him. If Denard can play more like a senior for the road games this coming season, he'll be great. He'll need more confidence and poise in the more hostile environments. No better challenge than against Alabama in Dallas as in early September. Meanwhile, enjoy the ride. If there where ever a Big Man on Campus...he wears the M Letter Jacket proudly and represents all things Michigan.


Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 5:49 p.m.

who is denard voting for now?


Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 5:29 p.m.

Who does not love Denard! He is a rock star, and it transcends his football skills, he's just very likable, not that I know him but that's the persona he projects. Appears humble despite his talent and all the acclaim. We all love that about him! This "shout out" was a no-brainer for the prez.


Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 8:55 p.m.

andy----to your 'rockstar' comment----have you noticed that our qb has now become a one-namer. he IS 'denard'-----almost like an 'elvis'.


Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 5:24 p.m.

Did the President mention the HEISMAN!!! We should recruit Obama as a wide receiver.....DRob back to pass....he throws into the end zone.....TOUCHDOWN BAAAARAK!! DRob rushes into the end zone and does a bump jump to celebrate. Then they both light up for a victory cigarette on the sideline!! MEEEEEEEEEANchigan football is back from the ash!! As they light up on the sideline for a celebration bash!!!


Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 5:18 p.m.

Denard Robinson took a picture of himself?? I think the credit is wrong. That's a great picture.

Rich Rezler

Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 5:24 p.m.

True, heartbreakM. Denard is a multiple-threat ... but not a photographer, as far as I know. That's been fixed. Thanks for pointing it out.