CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Air Force One has departed from the N.C. Air National Guard Base near the Charlotte Douglas International Airport.
President Obama and the First Lady boarded Air Force One after greeting and hugging Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx and his family.
As the Obama’s motorcade pulled up to Air Force One on the tarmac, Foxx, his wife Samara and their two children, Hillary and Zachary, were waiting. The President and First Lady spent several minutes exchanging hugs, last-minute remarks and goodbyes before jogging up the stairs to the plane.
Once at the top of the staircase, the couple turned and waved.
The President is flying to New Hampshire as part of his campaign.
Air Force Two, reportedly with Vice President Joe Biden aboard, departed a few minutes earlier.
The President’s motorcade had departed the Ballantyne Hotel & Lodge around 9:45 a.m. as a crowd of nearly 100 people gathered with cameras to capture the moment.
People waved their arms and American flags as the motorcade, lead by a dozen police motorcycles, passed by the intersection of Ballantyne Commons Parkway and Johnston Road..
“I’ve been waiting all my life for something like this,” said Jeremy Loosemore, 35, who arrived in Charlotte from Asheville this week to enjoy the festivities surrounding the Democratic National Convention, which wrapped up Thursday night.
“I love this,” he said as he waited to catch a glimpse of the motorcade.
Said his mom, Renee Thomas, 51, of Pineville: “We get to show this someday to the grandkids.”
Liz Karpiel, 35, had been jogging Thursday when she caught a glimpse of the First Lady’s motorcade leaving. She was running again Friday morning, pushing her daughter, Amelia, 1, in a stroller when she saw the flashing blue lights on the police cars parked at the intersection of Ballantyne Commons Parkway and Johnston Road, which has been closed to the public. She decided to wait and watch.
“This is history in the making,” Karpiel said. “I am so excited to be able to tell (Amelia) about this down the road. ‘Guess what? You got to see our President and First Lady while mama was running,’” she said.
Karpiel said she’d gotten married at the hotel and for the President to be staying there “was really cool.”