President Barack Obama has joined the litany of voices expressing sadness, admiration and respect for Leonard Nimoy on Friday, telling the world: "I loved Spock."
"Long before being nerdy was cool, there was Leonard Nimoy," Obama said in a statement released hours after the actor's death at 83. "Leonard was a lifelong lover of the arts and humanities, a supporter of the sciences, generous with his talent and his time. And of course, Leonard was Spock. Cool, logical, big-eared and level-headed, the center of Star Trek's optimistic, inclusive vision of humanity's future."
Obama said he had the chance to meet Nimoy in person in 2007, just ahead of his first run for the presidency. Obama is a self-proclaimed Star Trek fan, who Salon a few years later would call a real-life Spock.
"It was only logical to greet him with the Vulcan salute, the universal sign for 'Live long and prosper,'" Obama said. "And after 83 years on this planet — and on his visits to many others — it's clear Leonard Nimoy did just that.
"Michelle and I join his family, friends and countless fans who miss him so dearly today."
A year after meeting the then-senator, Nimoy would recall the encounter at a small political fundraiser in California.
"A small crowd of 75 people were there, and some of us were standing on an outdoor patio," Nimoy told an audience at a convention in 2008 in a video posted at the time by Kubrickrules. "This candidate came through the crowd and saw me, and said, 'I heard you were here,' and did this," displaying the Vulcan split-finger salute.
Nimoy then quizzed the crowd on who they thought he was talking about. When he first mentioned U.S. Sen. John McCain, the crowd snickered. When he mentioned then U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton, he received some applause. But when he said Obama, Nimoy received thunderous applause, forcing the actor to concede.
"That's who it was," Nimoy said, with a smile. "It was Barack Obama."
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Michael Hinman is the founder and editor-in-chief for 1701News, Airlock Alpha and the entire GenreNexus. He owns Nexus Media Group Inc., the parent corporation of the GenreNexus, and a co-founder of 1701News. He lives in Tampa, Fla.Email author