ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Jim Harbaugh was modest in explaining his proximity to outgoing U.S. President Barack Obama.
“I was in the vicinity, with about 10,000 other Michigan people,” Michigan’s football coach said Monday night on the Inside Michigan Football Coaches radio show on Ann Arbor’s WTKA-AM.
Harbaugh was only a few rows behind the person he calls “the leader of the free world” but the photos don’t lie: Harbaugh had pretty good seating for President Obama’s visit Monday afternoon to Ann Arbor.
“What a big thrill,” Harbaugh said. “A student that attends a speech with the president of the United States, the leader of the free world, that’s got to be a signature moment in their college career.”
Obama was in Ann Arbor on Monday to campaign for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. His appearance delayed and then canceled media availability with Harbaugh and the Michigan football team Monday afternoon.
“Having the president of the United States was a priority, and rightfully so,” Harbaugh said. “I am deferring to the University of Michigan and what they thought was a priority. And I agree with them. The leader of the free world on campus is a pretty big deal. Pretty important.”
Obama gave a shout-out to the football team during his speech.
“When the president of the United States mentions the football team that you’re part of, that’s pretty neat,” Harbaugh said.
Also among the crowd inside Michigan’s baseball stadium was WR Jehu Chesson and Harbaugh’s son, James, who is a student at Michigan.
James Harbaugh, his father said, arrived at the baseball stadium at 5:30 Monday morning and texted his father upon his arrival.
“I didn’t see him,” Harbaugh said.
Harbaugh has not publicly endorsed a presidential candidate, but radio show host Jim Brandstatter encouraged listeners and the audience inside Pizza House in Ann Arbor to vote Tuesday.