Associated Press
Wednesday, April 2, 2014

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) - President Barack Obama has had a taste of Ann Arbor, ordering a Reuben sandwich at the campus town’s Zingerman’s Deli on Wednesday and then sitting down with three restaurant workers to talk about the need for a higher minimum wage.

After landing at Willow Run Airport, his motorcade headed west, making a stop at Zingerman’s before an address at the University of Michigan to promote an increase in the federal minimum wage.

With his suit coat off, Obama entered the deli with U.S. Rep. Gary Peters, D-Bloomfield Township, and the two asked for Reubens. The sandwich combines corned beef, sauerkraut and Swiss cheese on rye bread.

“I’m going to take a Reuben. The president’s buying,” said Peters.

Obama met with Mira Friedlander, 22, a senior at the University of Michigan; Aisha Thurman, a 36-year-old mother of three; and Graham Kovich, 31, of Warren. The three are servers at Detroit-area restaurants and advocates for an increase in the minimum wage.

Obama told them that the reason they were at Zingerman’s was that owner Paul Saginaw paid his workers above minimum wage.

“If workers are being paid well, they are spending more money and businesses have more money,” Obama said.

He talked up the meal later to 1,400 people at the university’s Intramural Sports Building.

“The Reuben is killer, so I ordered the small, and it didn’t look that small,” Obama said. He said he gave half the sandwich to adviser Valerie Jarrett. “After she finished the half, I wanted the half back.”

“The second reason is Zingerman’s is a business that treats its workers well,” Obama said.

Obama backs legislation to gradually raise the national minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 by 2016.

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