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Lunch of a lifetime

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Trying to catch a glimpse of the president is tough when you don't have a ticket.

With the Secret Service and police presence everywhere, there was no chance of getting close to the commander in chief, but it didn't stop some from trying.

"He said, 'what can I help you with?' I said, 'I'm turning around.' He said ok," said Dennis Sparling, an artist that turned up, hoping to give the president a Leonardo da Vinci sculpture on a trailer.

But people with the cash did meet the commander in chief at a fundraising lunch in the Emerald Grand Ballroom at the Sheraton. WCAX News was not allowed on the property until the President left.

"I was so star struck I was mumbling. I had planned things to say. It was just really amazing meeting the President," said 15 year-old Sera Richards-Gerngross, who came with her mom, a long-time Obama supporter. "I'm at an age now where I'm interested in politics."

"I wouldn't spend 75-hundred on lunch, but I would on him," said Karen Guzowski, one of those who ponied up the cash for the ticket.

So, what does 75-hundred dollars get you?  We tried to find out the menu from the President's press office, but had to find out from donating diners and Sheraton staff.

"Nice filet wrapped in bacon, salmon option and the vegetarian," said one server.

Servers were not allowed into the room at the same time as the President and White House officials didn't want them talking to the press, so we are concealing their identities.
"I go into the kitchen so many times and every time I had to be wanded down," said another worker.

Was the food good?  "Ehh -- adequate," said luncheon-goer Lydia Spitzer. "The chocolate cake was delicious."

But the President didn't eat it.  We've learned his plate of food was securely shipped in to the event. Before lunch guests were allowed to take their photo with President Obama, they got to chat with him briefly before going into the ballroom, where they were instructed not to take any photos.

Guests were allowed to ask questions. He spoke about health care and climate change. Diners described him as chatty and articulate. "He gave very thoughtful answers. Very long answers -- very long term," said George Russell, another attendee.

"One hardly noticed the plate -- to be in the presence..." said Gregory Maguire.

And -- what could be a once-in-a-lifetime lunch.

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