Reggie Love, Obama's former "body man" says his bag's still packed for the prez
It sits on the couch of his Washington, D.C. apartment: A black bag, still filled with supplies that could help President Barack Obama in a pinch: Tide stain remover, newspapers, papers, medicine. And even though thirty-year-old Reggie Love is Obama's former "body man," not his current minder, he could be ready at a moment's notice if the phone rang.
"It's always good because you're going to get an e-mail from someone asking, 'Hey man, where is that thing?'" says Love by phone this morning
After speaking with about a hundred CU students in Boulder last night, and more than three months after he announced he was leaving the White House, Love -- officially known as a "personal aide" and unofficially known as the guy who taught the Commander-in-Chief how to fist bump -- is still working for Obama.
Love says he was flown out to CU-Boulder by the university to talk about his life around the president -- from his Chicago-based Senate office to the 2008 campaign trail to the White House -- and share his early success with students who will be heading out into the real world soon.
"I think people who come out of college are interested to hear about what was the trajectory of someone who was sitting in the seat they were in just six years ago," Love says. "I think they found it to be interesting, but things are hard: On paper things looked great, but it wasn't like going skiing on Saturday afternoon. You miss a lot of holidays, vacation time, trips with your friends."
That's the cost of getting a new generation of general-election voters fired up for Obama.
"Even after last night's victory for Romney (in the Michigan Republican primary),  is going to be huge opportunity for folks to go out and have a chance for their voice to be heard," Love says about this new election season.
As "body man," Love was dubbed "iReggie" by the President. As Obama's personal aide, Love was often photographed carrying presidential supplies on his six-feet-four-inch frame. But now, Love is concentrating on earning his MBA at the Wharton School of Business in Philadelphia, commuting there from D.C. every other weekend for classes. He's scheduled to graduate in May 2013.
Having spent most of his adult life working for Obama, Love is just now coming out of the the all-consuming vortex that is working for the president.
"I'm not as young as i used to be," says Love, who notes he will be 31 in April. "I'm not stressed about it. Thirty is the new twenty, right? One of the things you think about actually is, how do you prepare for your future? There are so many personal things I would have done otherwise if I hadn't put them on hold."
While Love worked in the White House for the president -- famously spending downtime shooting hoops with Obama on the campaign trail and later throwing a Super Bowl-used football in the Rose Garden (no big deal, right?) -- it sounds like he had more in common with over-worked recent graduates, and he tried to relay that to students last night in Boulder:
"When you're young and smart and intelligent, and you come out of a university like a Boulder or a Duke, you're ready to take on the world," Love says. "It can be a little bit of shell-shock when you want to change the world and you work for a campaign, and you're not writing policy, you're not the spokesperson for communications. Some people are little taken back aback by that."
And while that black bag is still on his couch, he offers this advice to the next body man, who hasn't been hired yet (the job has reportedly been divided among a few different aides):
"I strongly believe three really important things: It's really weird to say this, but it's like a military attitude. No excuses. If something's wrong, you can't look over your shoulder to someone behind you. You have to figure it out and make the adjustment, that's the biggest thing," says Love, whose "adjustment" comment makes him sound like the former Duke basketball and football player he is.
Another nugget of truth that should be shares with recent or soon-to-be college graduates: Their first job will not allow for as much free time to spend with friends or family:
"I think the people who are doing my former job, I would tell them that to make sure they manage expectations with their family. The conversation with your mother about missing Thanksgiving or Christmas is never a easy one."
Now that's he's out of the White House, Love is taking in a few more recreational activities. He'll be at tonight's Nuggets-Trailblazers game, he's set up a still-dormant Twitter account and a bit obviously, he's picked fourth-ranked Duke to win the NCAA tournament.
"That's a no-brainer: My Blue Devils of course," Love says. "I pick them every year, and every five years I'm right."
More from our Politics archive: "Barack Obama draws protests and cheers during speech at Auraria (PHOTOS)."
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