Obama supporters battle rain for tickets

Dan Mackenzie

More than 200 people were lined up in the rain Saturday at the Story County Democratic headquarters in Ames for tickets to see President Barack Obama up close during his visit to Iowa State’s campus next week.

The crowd moved rather quickly though the small building, with the help of many volunteers. A handful of volunteers were also moving through the lines with clipboards helping people register to vote and encouraging them to vote early.

Some of the excited supporters were on the scene hours before the doors were even set to open at noon, including several ISU students at the head of the line.

Kun Qian, junior in computer science, said he was excited for a chance to hear the president speak even though he will be unable to vote in the election. He also said hearing the president was cutting into his schedule, so he may have to skip class.

“Meeting the president is more attractive to me than class at this point” Qian said. He is hoping to get a photo op with the president if he can manage it.

Kelsie Miller, senior in kinesiology and health; Lydia Levinson, graduate student in community and regional planning; and Kate Moore, senior in art and design were lined up by 8:30 a.m. to make sure they got a ticket. All three said that they were Obama supporters, and two of them had seen him speak before.

Levinson said she had seen the president speak on several occasions, and heard the same message each time. She said this time she was really hoping he would change up his speech a bit, or at least touch on energy policy and ethanol. Moore said she just wants to hear Obama rip on the Hawkeyes.

Many people in the crowd were Ames citizens, just hoping for a chance to hear Obama. Ames resident Irving Melcer, 80, said he was hoping to hear Obama touch on Medicare and health insurance. He said Obama is being too soft on his opponent, “He needs to stop being a nice guy and lower the boom,” Melcer said.

Obama is scheduled to speak at noon Tuesday. People will have access to Central Campus — where he will be speaking — at 10:30 a.m.

Tickets were also available in the Memorial Union.