Supporters and protesters gather outside fairground gates
There was no shortage of local enthusiasm at President Obama’s stop Wednesday, but some of the most passionate attendees never got inside.
A wave of political enthusiasm swept outside the gates of the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds. The buzz sustained a crowd of supporters for more than an hour as they waited for the President’s motorcade to leave. For some, it was the only glimpse of the Commander in Chief they got.
“This is as close as I’ve gotten,” laughed Annie Stark from across the street.
Not everyone in the crowd, though, was a supporter. With a sign referring to the four Americans killed last month at the U.S. Consulate in Libya, Susan Vance made her protesting debut.
“It’s one of those few things that meets my standard of, ‘One hundred years from now, what will matter?’ This will matter. The outcome of this election is going to matter 100 years from now, maybe 10 years from now,” said Vance.
Others came out more for the event’s historical significance than for the President’s message.
“I’m not a supporter, but it is the office, so I do respect that,” said Laura Moyer. “I’ve heard it all… I have my own opinions and don’t, frankly, believe most of it.”
For many, though, the President’s message resonated far beyond the fairground walls.
“We were able to hear him. First time I’ve heard a president mention the interests of the American people. He represents my interests, what I’m concerned about,” said Stark.