I Met The PRESIDENT of the United States of America! (WA) “DAY 109” – 10/21/10

October 22, 2010- 11:44 am - (WA) “DAY 109”

If you read yesterday, you would know that I got up early this morning and headed down to the University’s of Washington’s campus in order to get a chance to see President Barack Obama speak to the expected crowd of over 20,000.

But... let’s start at the beginning.  I woke up at 3:15 am (by chance, no alarm) and sat on casey’s couch while I decided if it was worth it to go.  I’m not very political and don’t care one way or the other who’s in office.

Bush, Reagan, Clinton, Obama... really... what’s the difference!  Maybe there is but I can’t tell.  They just seem to do whatever and in the end... can anybody really tell the difference of who did what, for real?  I know I can’t.

Anyway, by 3:45 am I had actually woken up (got up out of bed).  So I got dressed in warm cloths (it was 38 degrees out) and decided I was gonna go.

F.Y.I. - The reason I was on the fence was because the news last night said over 20,000 people had signed up for only 10,000 seats and that people were camping out overnight to make sure they got in (first come first serve).

So, If it was to packed and I couldn’t get in or I couldn’t find a parking spot... I would just bounce and go back to Casey’s.  All I would lose in either of those scenarios would be a few hours of my time, I can live with that.

So I hoped in my car and headed to the Hec Edmundson Pavilion (next to Husky Stadium on U. of W. campus, it’s the basketball arena).

Arriving At The Stadium
The ride was less than a half hour as I arrived at the stadium around 4:20 am.  The problem... I wasn’t sure I was in the right place because there was nobody around!  I mean nobody!

Casey told me it was right next to Husky Stadium (which I was at last Saturday), so I was thought I was in the right place but maybe he was being a little facetious and it’s like 2 blocks away and not right next door.

Regardless, I thought I was close so I went to main parking lot next the stadium and parked my car.  I parked for free even though it was $7 per car.  I had gotten there so early, no parking attendants were even there yet, so I just drove in and found a spot. 🙂

Walking/Finding The Line For The Event
I got out of my car and started walking toward Husky Stadium. I was hoping that it was really right next to football stadium as Casey told me.  I walked for almost 1/2 mile when I arrived at the line that we saw on the news last night.

Damn media liars!  Yes... there were people camping out all night but it was like 50 people!  Ahhh... I didn’t have to be here this early, I only had to be one of the first 10,000 !  Damn media looking for a story!

Anyway... I was there now.  Sitting next to me in line was a bunch of cool guys (Brian, Matt, and Trevor).

Trevor, Matt, Brian

We spoke for few minutes and then they agreed to hold my spot while I walked back to my car.  (I was planning on getting us some breakfast.) 🙂

Heck, we had almost 5 hours until they would start to let us in (9 am) and even longer before the actual rally began (11 am).  So, I needed some food, drinks, or whatever I could get to help pass the time.

Parking Lot / Breakfast
I walked back to my car so I could go get us (me and the guys) some food but when I got to my car, I noticed people were starting to come in and there were parking attendants now. 🙁

I approached a parking attendant (Phillis) and asked her if I could leave for free and come back but she said.”No.”.  She said since I got there early, I was fine to stay (I wouldn’t get towed or ticketed) but if I left I would have to pay the $7.

Needless to say... my car wasn’t going anywhere. 😉  She then told there was food with-in walking distance and even gave me good parking advice.  She told me where to park so I could get out of the lot after the event easily.  Thanks Phillis!

I took her advice, parked my car near the exit, and started walking into town somewhere.?  About 10 minutes into my walk, I saw a Safeway (supermarket) and walked in.

I wanted some hot food (it was cold out) and realized that there was nothing hot in the whole store for me.  Ahhh!  Then, as I was leaving I saw huge pumpkins outside for $5.  I wanted to get Brooklyn (Lisa’s daughter) a pumpkin for being so cool to me but didn’t want to spend $5.

So, I walked in and negotiated with the late night attendant on the price.  I told him I wanted it for free but he said he couldn’t do that.  Then, I offered $2 and he said OK, take the pumpkin... Happy Halloween!

I didn’t realize then but the pumpkin was heavy!  It had to be at least 50 lbs and I had over a 1/2 mile walk ahead of me!  Ahhhh!  Why didn’t I get the pumpkin later! 😉

Getting Back Into Line
On my walk back to where I was in line, I able to see how many people had arrived during my pumpkin fiasco.  There were A LOT of people now.  I don’t know how many but it had be over 5,000 or so.  Nice... I did get here at the right time! 🙂

Oh yeah... the sun was just starting to come up and I got a good picture of it, so I had to write this line in order to make a spot for it in my post! 😉  Enjoy a Seattle sunrise overlooking U-Dwub’s campus! 🙂

Channel 4 0r 5? News
Anyway, It was about 5:30 am by now and I had made my way back into line with the guys.  They did hold it for me, no problem.  At this point, there were a lot of cameras and news people around getting stories and interviews.

We (Brain, Matt, Trevor, Me) were all talking and as I was telling the guys what I have accomplished on just $2007 when a news crew walked by and started filming us.  They were just getting B-roll (term for footage without words while somebody else narrates, kinda).

After the camera guy and news lady (Theresa) got their shot of us, I approached her and asked if she would take a picture with me.  She was super friendly and obliged with no questions asked.

Theresa News

Thanks Theresa!  (Theresa also the took the pic of the 4 of us above. :))

Writing “DAY 108”
Oh yeah, when I went back to my car, I grabbed my Mac so I could kill two birds with one stone.  I had to wait here doing nothing anyway, so I figured I’d start writing “DAY 108”.

I wrote until about 7:45 am (didn’t finish) and walked back to my car again to put my laptop away.  We were suppose to be getting in at 9 am so I didn’t want to cut it close and miss getting in after being here since 4 am. 😉

On my walk back from the car again... I could now see how long the line was behind me.  There had to be well over 10-15 thousand people waiting.  The line wrapped around the whole street and kept going... I couldn’t even see where it ended and I wasn’t gonna walk out of my way any further to find out. 😉

Getting My Ticket & Signing In
While I walking back to my place in line (around number 100), I found out that some volunteers had already walked to our spot in line and gave everybody their tickets to get in.  Noooooo!

I calmed down after a second and found a guy who was signing people in as well as giving out tickets.  Nice!

You would have thought the signing in for was security reasons (being the President was there) but it was just to get information so Patty Murray’s volunteers could call you to get you to vote for her.  Politics...

Finally Getting In - Security

Everything was running on schedule as at 9 am sharp, they started to let everybody in.  For the amount of people there and how long people they had waited... I thought it would be a mob scene rushing to the entrance but it was orderly as everybody waited patiently to enter.

The security you had to pass through was similar to being at the airport.  You had to pass through the white arched metal detector after emptying the contents of your pockets.

Then after you passed through that... you even got wanded whether it beeped or not.  I know because my didn’t beep at all (no metal) and I was still wanded throughly.  They even asked me to cough as I was bent over... LOL JK 🙂

Since I was one of the first 100 people there and there was about 10 security lines you could enter from... I was about one of the first 50 people in the building.

Like I said earlier, everybody was patient getting in and I rushed a little (meaning walked fast) so I was ahead of many people who were there before me.  It wasn’t cutting, I just got to the security line first because you had a choice of which one to go to.

Anyway, as I walked in a volunteer said to me, “ You can sit in any seat or you can stand on the floor but if you choose the floor... you have be able to stand for 4 hours.” I looked at her firmly and said... “Yes I Can!” and walked down to the floor!  🙂

F.Y.I.- Hec Edmundson Pavilion is a basketball arena so it holds about 15-20,000 people with the added standing room only on the floor.  The place is relatively small so every seat looks like a good one.

The First Row or So I Thought...
I choose the floor instead of a front row seat or any seat for that matter because I wanted to be as close to the President as possible...  Maybe if I’m lucky... I’ll be able to get a picture with the President.  That would be awesome! 🙂

Anyway, since I was one of the first people in, I was on the rail in the first row of floor seating.  I couldn’t be any closer to the where the President would be speaking... or so I thought...

It was only 9:05 am... I still had a long wait until this rally began.  As I stood there taking pictures of the empty arena and podium... I noticed people going into an area just ahead of where I was standing.  Huh?  I thought I was in the front row.?

F.Y.I. - The way it was set up was: Under where one basket was where the stage and podium was.  Right in front of the stage was a barricade of about 10 feet (for the Secret Service) and then in front of that, was another 10 feet of space (barricaded) before you got to where I was standing.

This second area right in front of me is what was being filled up before my eyes (VIP Section, red ticket).  Noooo!  I’m 5’9, if there are 12 rows of people standing in front of me, I’m not going to be able to see shit!

I stood there for a second and then decided I have to get a red VIP ticket!  But how... It’s a long confusing story of how I got into the VIP section... but I did!  🙂  All I can say is... where there is a will... there is a way!

Standing On The Rail Of The Real Front Row!
It was 9:30 am and there I was standing as close to where the President will be as possible!  The only people who will be closer than I am to the President is the Secret Service.

Around that time, I looked behind me and saw the guys from outside standing along the rail I was just at 10 minutes earlier.  They looked at me with a how did you get there???  I just smiled and gave them a thumbs up! 🙂

Standing right next to me was real nice (and pretty) lady named Anne.  She was there with her son and friend of her family’s. (They got passes because they knew the lady who organized the whole event, Patty Murray Campaign.)

Pimped Out Dude
We stood there and chatted for awhile as the arena filled up with people.  I was there so early that I literally saw every single seat fill up before my eyes.  It went from empty with just a pimped out dude in the seats, to a full venue in about an hour!

F.Y.I. - I don’t know who the dude was in the “White Outfit” with all the gold and the white glove but... I can rule out Michael Jackson because he passed away a year ago.  So who can it be... Huh? 🙂  I hope I just didn’t piss off some underworld pimp now!

My bad if I did... Sharp outfit... real inconspicuous, I could barely notice you ever there... 🙂  And.. where’d you get that glove at?  I almost bought one yesterday... 🙂

Singing The National Anthem & More
The first person to step up to the podium (11 am) was a young lady who introduced a local choir.  They sang a few songs headed by “Lean On Me” and finished with the the National Anthem.

They were good and the place went nuts for them.  The crowd was so loud when they were singing, that at times you could only hear the crowd singing over them.

After the event ended... I even got a picture with them.  You knew I would! 🙂  But that happens later so I’ll get back to that later in the post.

Patty Murray

Speakers Leading Up To Patty Murray & Barack Obama
As I became aware during my time waiting for the event to start (7 hours), this was a rally to gain support for Democratic candidate Patty Murray.  She currently holds the Senate seat but is in for a tough fight against her Republican counterpart in the upcoming election.


Anyway, the first 4 or so speakers were all there to drum up support for Patty as well as in some cases... a little support for themselves.

Norm.. Something?
One speaker, Norm (something?) was a Democratic House of Representatives member who was their on Patty’s behalf but slung out a little self promotion as well. 😉  I only remembered his name because it was Norm and he looked like “Norm” from “Cheers”!

Doesn’t he??? 🙂  I wonder if that name and face recognition is what got him elected in the first place.  It sounds stupid... but people were yelling “Norm!” as he was speaking, just like they did in “Cheers”. 😉  Who knows...

Other Speakers
I don’t remember anybody elses name who spoke before the Pres. and Patty because I was so stoked to be this close to a President of the United States that I wasn’t really paying attention.

Mostly, I was just taking a lot pictures so when the President did get on stage I would have all the shots down as well as which setting my camera should be on to get the best picture.  (I’m still bad with cameras and technology! :()

Student Body Pres.

F.Y.I. - On the day I took over 330 pictures that I had to load, file, name, and choose from for this post.  It’s a lot of work!  I’m not complaining... just letting you in. 😉

Out of the other speakers, the best one was actually the student body President here at the University of Washington.  She was sharp, well spoken, enthusiastic, and easy on the eyes! 😉

She spoke for a while about the youth in America... and how our vote (well.. their vote ;)), can, has, and will shape elections for this generation and the next.  She was really good.  I wouldn’t be surprised if I hear about her in politics in a decade or two.

Oh yeah... after the event.. I got a picture with her as well! 🙂  Again.. you knew I would! 🙂  (I still don’t know her name though, Casey’s internet doesn’t work for me so I can find a speaker list until later and by then this will be written.)

A Small Break Before Patty Murray & The President Came Out
The Secret Service

During this brief intermission (5 minutes), the Secret Service approached everybody in the my section (it’s mine now LOL) and told us that after the President finishes speaking he might come down and shake a few hands but if there is pushing or shoving he will not come over.

They said the President doesn’t want anybody to get hurt trying to meet him or even a worse... somebody getting crushed by the crowd.  You could tell the Secret Service meant business because the whole time I was there, not one of them smiled for a second!

Patty Murray & The President... Barack Obama!
When Patty Murray and the President got on stage the place went nuts!  It was like a rock concert except with political minded people.  They were going so crazy, I was almost embarrassed to be there.  I don’t even get this excited for NFL Sunday! 😉  Maybe the Super Bowl...

Anyway, to be honest... it was exciting to be this close to the most powerful man in the world!  Although, I wasn’t about to throw my panties at him.  Not to mention... the Secret Service was to close to even try. 😉

Patty Murray
Again, I don’t know much about politics and really... I don’t care to.  Especially about Washington State but Patty Murray was a great speaker with a wonderful stage presence.

She sincerely seemed to be the person the claimed to be.  A Mom who decided that she wanted to be in politics so she could help here community.  Now, I know I don’t if any of that is true but just by listening to her speak... I became a believer. 🙂

I think I even caught myself yelling in her favor after a few comments she made.  What??? I live in Seattle now.  Well... at least for 10 days... And I want my community to be the best it can be! 🙂

During the time that Patty spoke, President Obama just stood on the stage next to her and gave his support.  I thought he was very thoughtful of not stealing the spotlight from her while she was speaking.

Cause... come on... Nobody was there to see Patty Murray speak, everybody was there to see the President of the United States!  He was the real draw, sorry Patty! 🙂

Patty Murray spoke for about 20 minutes about well... her getting re-elected and everything she has done and will continue to do for the great state of Washington!

The President... Barack Obama!
When the President finally took the mic the place went bezerk!  Granted, it was a room full of supporters and democrats but it was a serious ovation.  The first 10 minutes or so of his speech were all about Patty Murray and helping her gain support.

F.Y.I. - The President is much smaller in person than I would have expected.  He looked very lean, almost frail.  Not that he looks huge on TV but I guess it does add 20 lbs or so.  Also, I thought he would look greyer but he didn’t.

Secret Service Again
Anyway, there I was in the front of row of arena where the President of the USA is speaking!  The Secret Service are just a few feet from as I can even feel there eyes on me.

I know for a fact that they were eying me up because while the President was speaking... a Secret Service agent approached me and told me not to try to hand the President a “Wheres Rooster” business card (he must have noticed me pull it out of my wallet).

Also, while the President was talking, I took my NY Yankees ski hat and draped it over the rail like a banner.  It was facing the President clear as day and I know he noticed the NY logo. 🙂

Back To The President : Barack Obama
Again, I was in the front row, so while the President was giving his speech we must have made direct eye contact at least 4-6 times.  I’m sure he did that with a lot of people in the first row but I think my NY hat was definitely grabbing his attention. 🙂

During his speech, which was amazing in person (he’s the best public speaker I have ever seen), I must have take over 100 pictures.  I felt like I was in the 60’s at a Beatles concert.

Not that I lived in the 60’s, so that’s a bad analogy but there was overwhelming vibe and energy in the Hec Edmundson Pavilion while he was speaking.  Really cool!

The president ended his speech and as he started to wave while leaving stage, I remembered what the Secret Service agent told us before he came on.  He might walk around the front row and shake a few hands.  Nice!

Getting My Camera Situated
I knew it would tough to find somebody to take a picture for me because everybody that was was close to me wanted to get their own picture.  The President wasn’t walking around taking photo-ops, he was moving quickly in front of the first row shaking a few hands.

Then, I convinced a guy further down the line from me to take my picture and after he takes mine, I will grab the camera back and take his.  He agreed.

Now, I look down the row and see the President is moving relatively fast, like I said, shake and move.. shake and move... (almost like Ali but not really). 😉

Then, as he is just a few feet from me... I look over and see my camera is off.  Ya see, it turns off when it’s not be used for 30 seconds.  I reach over and try to turn it back on but the guy said my battery went dead!  Noooooo!

It’s literally seconds before the President of the United States is about to be right in front of me and my camera is dead!  Why did I take 50 pictures of Norm!  Why!!!

I didn’t even have time to hand over my cell phone as before I knew it... The President... Barack Obama... is standing right in front of me!

Meeting The President of the U.S.A.
I reached out and shook his hand as I said to him, “I came all the way from NJ to see this.”  Barack (I call him that now ;)) looked at me and said, “ New Jersey huh?  You’re a Yankee fan I see.” (I was wearing a NYY sweatshirt and I knew he saw the hat.)

I responded, “Yes I am”.  He responded, “You must be happy about the game yesterday (Yanks won).”  I said, “Yeah, and we’re gonna win the series the too.”  The President responded back, “I don’t doubt it!”

He had spent at least 10-15 seconds standing right in front of me talking Yankee baseball!  The PRESIDENT of the USA talking Yankee baseball with a guy who can’t afford the dollar menu at McDonald’s!  Priceless!

Barack Obama & Me "Rooster"

The people around me loved it because it was longest he was standing in one place for the whole hand shaking walk.  There were people snapping pictures like crazy!

Finding a Picture of Me & The President
As I told you, my camera died right before the President approached me.  How unlucky is that!

Barack Obama & Me "Rooster"

Awwwww!  So I yelled around to the people near by to see if anybody happened to get the photo while they were snapping away.

After a few seconds, Anne (the lady standing next to me) told me she had a picture of me shaking the President’s hand.  The problem... there always is... some guy’s arm is ruining the whole picture!  Ahhh!

You can tell it’s me and the President but it would have been a great picture if that stupid guy didn’t stick his arm out to shake the President’s hand.  F.Y.I - The guy never did by the way.  Damn!

Mulling Around The Event
After Barack Obama left the arena everybody began to file out.  I figured I’d hang around and see what happens, who knows maybe he left something behind and comes back.  Who knows... plus where did I have to be?

As I was just standing around in the VIP area, I met Mrs. Washington 2010.  Nice!  Obviously, I took a picture and then asked her if she was single looking for a homeless NJ man?  She didn’t seem that interested but hey... I tried! 😉

This is when I got pictures with the choir, U. of W. student president, somebody running for Congress, as well as a few other people who’s names I don’t know. 🙂

Yes... Again!

Heading Back To Casey’s
The whole drive back to Casey’s and even for hours after, I was riding a Presidential high!  Again, it wasn’t because I met Barack Obama... I could care less that it was him.  It was that it was the President of the United States!

How many people actually get to met a President and of those people... how many were traveling the country aimlessly before they randomly showed at a rally they didn’t even know about 12 hours before.

And then... find their way into a VIP section to make it even remotely possible to have an opportunity to meet the most well known powerful man in the free world!

And then... to talk Yankee baseball with him... is just a moment I will never ever forget!  Thanks Barack Obama!

For the rest of the night, I just talked to people on the phone while I uploaded and filed the 330 pictures I took during the event.  I did get up at 3 am, so I was tired and really... what else could I do today to top that.?  Nothing... so I called it night!

F.Y.I - It's 6:43 pm (west coast time) and I just finished posting!  It took over 7 hours to complete!

Thanks for reading!


Comments (12)

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  1. Matt says:

    I dont know why but I thought this post was pretty damn funny..its probably because ive had a few brews. But the pimp in the audience? wtf lol..hes got one glove off to powder it up and smack a bitch I bet. And dude, i swear you get what you want every single time whether its on a price of a fn pumpkin or a vip pass for the president! keep it up bro u the man!

  2. Mindy says:

    David, what a great story. How amazing to meet the President. Obama is an awesome speaker. Hope you will visit mom (Macky) and I when you are in Denver.

  3. Hoagie says:

    Best one yet. Well done Dave.

  4. pat says:

    I am sick to my stomach that you would wait in line to see a communist that is destroying the country. He is a tyrant and we all know what happens in a tyranny.

  5. DAD says:

    AWESOME !!! the Rooster knows how to make it happen.
    Great story and photo’s.

  6. rich says:

    Well done, I might not like this President policies but I still would of wanted to see him. It’s not everyday you get to meet the leader of free world.

  7. Richie P. says:

    Dave….I’ve read every post of yours on this site. The draw for me is not your writing skills or the fact that you’re doing this on a tight budget. The draw for me, is the fact that you have one of those personalities and mentalities to just make things happen.

    I find I don’t often take risks or try to make things happen like you do, and it’s refreshing to not only see it in action, but see it so successful. Even if your journey ended tomorrow you would still have done more in 100+ days that most people do in a decade.

    My one suggestion is not to spoil what happens in the title of the post. I often think it would be more compelling to have some surprises in the post, rather than knowing ahead of time what transpires.

    In any case, that was an amazing story. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Christine Martino says:

    I agree with Richie P. you have done more in 100+ days than most will do in a lifetime. Incredible!
    One question, what does this says about our nation’s security that you somehow got a VIP front row pass to see the President?

  9. Christine says:

    Best. Story. Ever.
    You are my new hero.
    I think Barack,, cuz that’s what you call him now, was drawn to your charisma.
    🙂 🙂 🙂

  10. Gene says:

    Dave, I’m so behind in reading your posts (I’m at Day 94 but had to jump to this one). Amanda yells across the house last week, “Dave met the President!” And of course I wasn’t surprised. Great story! I don’t know if you knew this or not, but I was 3 feet away from Princess Diana when I was in Italy in 1996. I also got a half-assed picture of her (I think it’s the top of her head with a car door in the way) but in typical Dave fashion you get to take a away a conversation from your experience! Rock on – I’m going back to day 95 now.

  11. Brandi says:

    Very entertaining!

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