"I was the first one President Obama greeted when he came in—he greeted me by name and shook my hand. It felt like I was being reintroduced to an old friend. He has that easy smile and such a warm personality, so he really makes you feel right at home. After saying hello to each of us, he sat right down and said, 'Let's eat! Let's have some fun.' So that's what we did.
"Once we placed our order, he started asking each one of us about our lives. He asked me about my father, who is a Tuskegee Airman, and told me how much he appreciated what they contribute to our country. He was genuinely concerned about my husband and his health issues, he asked me about my grandchildren—and when I told him they're all singers and dancers, he invited himself over to our house to see them perform. Later on, when I told them what the President said, they were so excited—I think they're going to hold me to inviting the First Family to come on over."
One part of the experience particularly stood out to Janet:
"The one thing I didn't expect was the way he communicated with us as though we were just old friends. We already respected him as a leader, but we really admired and appreciated the friendship—for those 60 minutes, we were his friends. It was just a very warm, informal engagement, and he let us lead but made sure we each had equal time to talk. There's just such a sincerity that extends into all the issues we listened to him talk about."
Janet says talking to friends and family about the election is "absolutely different" than it was before her meal with the President:
"My family and friends really appreciate a different side of understanding him now. I can share with them from firsthand experience, as though I'm talking about a family member. We realize that, as supporters, we're sort of like the village that has helped raise this person to become President.
"So going in to vote for him is something I'm very much looking forward to. My birthday is November 6th, so it's going to be a birthday present to myself, to contribute to the extension of his presidency."
Thinking of entering Dinner with Barack? Janet has this advice for you going into tonight's deadline:
"Go for it—I wish I could do it again!"
No purchase, payment, or contribution necessary to enter or win. Contributing will not improve chances of winning. Void where prohibited. Entries must be received by June 26, 2012. You may enter by contributing to Obama Victory Fund 2012 here or click here to enter without contributing. Three winners will each receive the following prize package: round-trip tickets for winner and a guest from within the fifty U.S. States, DC, or Puerto Rico to a destination to be determined by the Sponsor; hotel accommodations; and dinner with President Obama on a date to be determined by the Sponsor (approximate retail value of all prizes $4,800). Odds of winning depend on number of entries received. Promotion open only to U.S. citizens, or lawful permanent U.S. residents who are legal residents of 50 United States, District of Columbia and Puerto Rico and 18 or older (or age of majority under applicable law). Promotion subject to Official Rules and additional restrictions on eligibility. Sponsor: Obama for America, 130 E. Randolph St., Chicago, IL 60601.