I had the honor and privilege back on July 16th to see the President of the United States, Barack Obama speak live at the PNC Bank Arts Center at a rally for New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine.
It was hot, it was humid, but the crowd was alive and well. I got to the Arts Center with a ticket for the overflow area, but had obvious intentions to move into the main area. So my first job was to get normal tickets.
So I talked to 5 security guards, the last of which told me to go to the box office. And lo and behold, there was a guy handing out tickets at the box office. I was in.
My next step was to get onto the security line, which was about 25 minutes long. It was hot, it was humid, and a lot of people who were overdressed were having issues. But they trudged on. Once we got to the front of the security line it was airport-like security, with the exception that you didn’t have to take off your shoes. I got through that and I was officially in.
I needed to buy a new water (they took mine at security) so I bought one and staked out my spot on the left side of the lawn. Making friends with the people around me helped pass the time, and soon enough we had our first speaker — some campaign worker who started the rally off yelling and screaming to get the crowd applauding. Actually, before then, a DJ, named DJ Rainbow, spun old and new tunes to keep us happy and excited during the heat and the wait.
Next a choir sung, a wait ensued, and soon Governor Corzine trotted out….and it soon sounded like the 2008 campaign again. Linking New Jersey’s problems with President Bush he ranted and ranted and ranted…and no one really listened. That isn’t surprising considering his approval ratings and recent poll numbers. They were all here to see one man, President Obama.
He came out to thunderous applause and a prolonged standing ovation. The heat soon resulted in a call to Reggie Love and a removal of the suit jacket. The speech focused on health care, the topic of the week. But my getting some food in me soon became my focus.
Before the speech, during the waiting period, I had gone to get Carvel ice cream and was told “No, I can’t sell right now…Secret Service regulation.” I responded by saying it’s 90 degrees and you can’t serve ice cream? “Secret Service regulation.” Whatever the real reason might have been, I had my first occurrence of an odd Secret Service directive in my life.
So halfway through Obama’s speech I went, got my ice cream, walked back to the back of the lawn and took the whole scene in. The President did what made him so popular — getting the crowd going nuts and getting people excited for what he was talking about. The speech soon ended, people soon cooled off and became comfortable again, but no matter what your political views are, everyone went home home saying they saw the President of the United States of America.