UPDATE: Crowds swell to see the president

2012-08-15T08:30:00Z 2012-08-20T13:09:37Z UPDATE: Crowds swell to see the presidentBy DENNIS MAGEE, dennis.magee@wcfcourier.com Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier

WATERLOO, Iowa --- Not everyone who wanted a ticket to see the president Tuesday night got one. But many on the outside looking in said they still felt the draw and wanted to be close.

And maybe, just maybe, catch a glimpse of Barack Obama.

“I love this guy. I’ve wanted to see this guy for a long time,” said Lori Sliekers of La Porte City. “Here’s my chance.”

She and several hundred other people waited, mingled and hoped, in some cases more than six hours.

“Golly, I’ll fall over even if we get a glance,” said Janice Blake of Waterloo.

Four grandchildren accompanied Blake downtown, and for a while they hung out near the intersection of Commercial and West Third streets.

Already heavily invested, Patricia Saffold of Waterloo did not mind dedicating a few more hours to achieving her ultimate goal.

She was nearly first in line Saturday for tickets to President Obama’s campaign stop in Waterloo. And she showed up before 3 p.m. Tuesday to be among the first 40 people outside the RiverLoop Amphitheatre.

“I just want to shake his hand and get a nice little picture,” Saffold said.

The opportunity was historic for her personally.

“This is the first time I’ve seen the president, so I am like way excited,” she said.

LaJuana Hicks of Waterloo, though, was a bit ahead of Saffold in line, passing the time with her 1-year-old daughter, Kassadie.

Hicks and her daughter got in line about 2 p.m. and the logic was not complicated.

“To make sure I get in to get a seat and to see my president,” Hicks said.

Corine Jones and a cousin, Diane Wise, both of Waterloo, were just as enthusiastic but not as fortunate. They waited several hours but organizers had run out of tickets before Jones and Wise got to the front of the line Saturday.

Their optimism remained, though, and they were scouting out vantage points where a view of the president might be possible.

“That’s why we’re here early, to scope out the landscape,” Wise said.

“I hope to get a good spot so I can hear what he’s saying,” Jones added. “I voted for him, and my plan is to vote for him again this year.”

Al Clark of Cedar Falls was nearby but less enchanted. He displayed a pair of signs that read, in part, “You’re fired” and “Liar in Chief.” A like-minded individual joined him later in the evening, but for most of the day Clark was a one-man protest.

“I seved my country — Army, 10 years — I earned the right,” he said.

Despite obvious disdain for the president’s policies, Clark said he generally got a civil reception from passersby.

“Actually, it’s been very positive. Of course, there’s been a few comments and hand gestures thrown my way,” he said.

Not everyone was tuned into the day’s events ahead of time. Anna Smith of Cedar Falls turned 18 recently and wanted to mark the occasion with a tattoo. She and her parents rolled up to Eternal Ink, 314 Commercial St., moments after the president’s motorcade, which featured dozens of patrol cars, black SUVs, buses and ambulances.

“I didn’t know what’s going on,” Smith said. “I’m like, ‘Oh, he’s coming?’ I didn’t know it’s today.”

Chad Babinat works at Eternal Ink, which is barely a block from the amphitheatre. He said the president’s visit, all the security measures and traffic disruptions did not alter his day much.

“I think it’s worse when My Waterloo Days is on. I guess the feds are a little more organized,” Babinat said.

Will Hanson of Hudson also took in the scene from outside. He missed out on tickets but was willing to settle for a favorable position. But that did not happen either.

“I used to live eight blocks from (Riverfront) stadium. I could hear them better,” he said, referring to baseball games.

“I understand the safety concerns. But let us see the guy. It would be nice, I think.”

The evening wasn’t a total loss for Hanson, though.

“I was able to post some snarky comments about a protester on my Facebook page,” he said.

Sliekers joked about circumventing security after meeting a television journalist covering the event.

“I asked him where he was from. ‘CNN.’ ‘Well, I’m going to stick with you and see how far I get,’” Sliekers said.

“Not very far ... “

Copyright 2015 Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(16) Comments

  1. hearditall
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    hearditall - August 15, 2012 4:14 pm
    There is a difference between free speech and hate speech. Free speech only protects you from retaliation from the government, not from retaliation from other people. When people support differential treatment and support unequal constitutional rights of others based only on religion with no supportive fact and no viable defense to use in a court of law (i.e. real facts), then they are in fact a discriminator and/or a hater. Some conservatives just can't handle the truth. I suppose an accurate synonym would be "person-who-favors-unconstitutional (and therefore unpatriotic)-treatment-of-others-for-no-real-reason," however, this happens to be the same definition of a much smaller word: "discriminator." Might as well own your rightful title if you fit the definition of the word, right?
  2. hearditall
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    hearditall - August 15, 2012 3:56 pm
    Oh, you mean the American built buses? You have your countries a little mixed up.

    "...the conversion process typically makes up anywhere from half to two-thirds of the end cost, depending on what the users want to do with the bus. And in this case, the conversion was performed by an American company." (Source: factcheck)

    Yes, parts were purchased in Canada, however much of the cost and all of the conversion labor was performed by and American company. Thus helping an American company make more profit.
  3. hearditall
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    hearditall - August 15, 2012 3:51 pm
    Hmmm...8.2% unemployment rate you say? I would blame a republican controlled house who has tried multiple times to repeal Obamacare and has not once voted in favor of a jobs bill. Where's the republican solutions?
  4. hearditall
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    hearditall - August 15, 2012 3:50 pm
    Please don't call people names. Most democrats are college educated and in the middle class. Also, most "blue states" provide funds to the government, who in turn give it to the "red states" to give in handouts. States that tend to vote democrat pay more into the government than they receive. States that tend to vote republican receive more hand-outs from the government. This shows a correlation to your "freeloaders" voting for whoever is in the republican party. However, conservatives do tend to ignore data and facts, so I don't really expect you to understand this concept.
  5. lmb0705
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    lmb0705 - August 15, 2012 1:03 pm
    The Party of No got their title for good reason. Mitch McConnell made it clear he and the Rep. party were going to do whatever they could to make the President a one term President. He said that -out loud- for everyone to hear on more than one occasion. You can blame the ONE guy all you want but it takes more that ONE person to get us where we got.
    Too many p
    Some out there would rather vote for someone who has very little incentive to help "you people" but would help the top 1-2%. Wake up!
  6. brainwashed
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    brainwashed - August 15, 2012 11:12 am
    The economy was in worse shape long before President Obama took office. It amazes me how people blame one person for housing, education, crime, medical expenses, social security, taxes, unemployment, war, and anything else that goes wrong in America. America was in this condition long before four years ago, boy how quickly we forget!! It's not about one person, it's about EVERY SINGLE one of us doing our part to make America a better place, but what do we do? Play the BLAME GAME! If you don't have customers to patronize YOUR BUSINESS it will CLOSE dah! At some point we are not all going to agree on everything! But the President didn't cause me to stop shopping at your place of business, I chose to do that on my own! So am I to blame because YOU went bankrupt? Your simple mind would probably say yes. Free load on good advice because it is free!
  7. victor672
    Report Abuse
    victor672 - August 15, 2012 9:50 am
    The biggest name-callers are liberals, and their favorite terms of derision for those who don't agree with them at "hater, bigot, and racist". All used in an effort to intimidate and quash free speech.
  8. victor672
    Report Abuse
    victor672 - August 15, 2012 9:48 am
    "U"? Are you texting us from your "smart" phone? CAPSLOCK stuck? You're right about the joke part. He is.
  9. unifight14
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    unifight14 - August 15, 2012 9:39 am
    Wow, the class from the right regarding this visit is just overwhelming. *EYEROLL*
  10. Stillstanding
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    Stillstanding - August 14, 2012 10:57 pm
    BLAH BLAH BLAH That's all I hear U support who u want and we do too I work hard never a free loader!!! Everything Blamed on Obama but he can't fix what already was messed up stop pointing fingers and let's all work together your intitled to your opinion and so am I HAHAHA Joke's ON U!!!! GO OBAMA!!!!!
  11. simmonseyz
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    simmonseyz - August 14, 2012 9:44 pm
    Freeloaders lol! I love how conservatives result to calling people name when they are the biggest free loaders.

  12. maravich1
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    maravich1 - August 14, 2012 8:11 pm
    Looks like the feeloaders are lining up for the king of the freeloaders. Way to go Iowa. I thought Iowans were intelligent people. Guess not, you endorsed Obama in 2008 and it looks like you are again.
  13. first amendment
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    first amendment - August 14, 2012 7:45 pm
    Are you referring to the single black bus that the Secret Service purchased, that will show up tonight. Or is this second bus you are referring to the one that Gov. Romney is using, also property of the Secret Service.


    Do you folks not realize that President Obama did not just go out and say, "Oh, I think I'll bus a couple of buses." The Secret Service decided that they should have these in order to better protect the President and candidates at a CHEAPER cost than having to rent, retrofit, and then tear apart another bus.
  14. Franky_T
    Report Abuse
    Franky_T - August 14, 2012 7:33 pm
    "Hope and change"
    "Yes we can"
    The private secture is doing fine"
    "Yoo didn't build dat".
    No wonder were enjoying a lovely 8.2% unemployment rate, mission accomplished!
  15. dm1
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    dm1 - August 14, 2012 6:35 pm
    Looks like a line for free stuff.
  16. victor672
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    victor672 - August 14, 2012 6:30 pm
    I can't wait to see the two black buses, built in Canada with Canadian labor that cost the U.S. taxpayers 2.2 million dollars.
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