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Yesterday was quite a day! I got to see the President at a rally in Kissimmee, Florida.

The weather was incredibly hot, but everyone was cheerful and friendly. It was like a big block party!

Photo Credit Jason H.

My friend Jason and I went to see the President yesterday, but the whole thing started a few days ago, when we went to get tickets. I don't drive, and Jason was kind enough to take me to get the tickets, and to attend the rally with me.

I've been to two rallies before, in 2008, and enjoyed them both a great deal. It was the same for yesterday's rally.

Orlando Rally, 2008

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Kissimmee Rally, 2008

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Standing in line for tickets took almost as long as waiting to get into the rally. It was hot out, but everyone we met in line was cheerful and easygoing.
Long line waiting for tickets
Longer line behind us
Once we had our "Golden Tickets" in hand, we were set - but we knew to get to the Civic Center early. The doors were set to open around 2 pm, so we got there at noon. And yet, we were STILL way back in line.

Fortunately, the campaign staff had arranged for free parking at the Kissimmee Courthouse, and had staffers everywhere (even on the street between the parking garage and the Civic Center) to help guide people to where they needed to be. Free bottles of cold water were handed out frequently, so everyone could stay hydrated. Say what you want about this President and his organization, but they know what they're doing - and they care about us. That much was obvious, all day long.

Kissimmee Courthouse
A View Of Kissimmee and Lake Toho
We chatted with the people in line around us. Everyone was cheerful, in spite of the blistering heat.

While we waited, a family came and set up camp across the street. They were Romney supporters, but that was pretty obvious by the fact that they sent their small children out to hold up signs in the hot sun, while Mom and Dad sat back in the shade with cool drinks and a lawn chair. Nice, huh?

Small Children, Holding Nasty Signs In Hot Sun
Romney Supporter Parents, Relaxing While Kids Stand In Sun

A moving van drove by several times, with huge signs attached to the sides. One large sign read "Are you better off?" And on their second or third time past, we were ready for them. We shouted out in unison, over and over "YES WE ARE! YES WE ARE! YES WE ARE!"

When we were right up against the train tracks, an Amtrak train pulled in. Wow. You tend to forget just how loud and powerful a train can be until you're right there next to the tracks (at a safe distance, of course). The conductor leaned out and led a cheer for President Obama, and reminded us that if Romney got into the White House, he'd likely defund Amtrak. Before they, he led one more cheer. As the train pulled away, workers leaned from open doors and waved, and passengers waved at us from their windows. It was a great moment of solidarity.

Train Coming In
Later, we finally got past the tracks and into the shade. I sat here, under these trees, and watched the ducks while I ate my lunch. Jason was kind enough to hold our spot in line.
Where I Sat For Lunch
Civic Center Sign - No idea who that gentleman is
While we were in line, a staff member walked up to us, and said quietly "Are there just two of you?" When we said yes, he handed us two tickets with a "B" on them. Turns out, those were passes to sit behind the President. Nice!! I'm betting they change the tickets each time, though - so nobody gets the idea to try to copy them.
The Magic Tickets that allowed us to sit behind the President
When they opened the doors, the line moved fairly quickly. I was impressed. We saw Alan Grayson standing outdoors, talking to people, so I walked up to him when he was free for a moment. I said something like "Hello sir! You know what? Republicans hate me, because I refuse to die quickly." He laughed, and then asked ME for a hug! I was only too happy to comply. I told him I was on Medicaid because of my rare disorder, and that the GOP hated me for that. He wished me luck, and said he hoped I'd get the care I needed. I'm paraphrasing because my memory isn't what it should be (plus I was a little shaky after the hug). He was absolutely wonderful.
Alan Grayson
Me Being Hugged By Alan Grayson - Photo Credit, Jason H.
Jason shook his hand, and if I hadn't been so dizzy at the moment, I'd have gotten a picture of that. Sorry!!

We finally got inside, and were told to "go upstairs" into the upper balcony, way above. When I handed them the "B" tickets, we were instead directed to our seats behind the President.

The seats were tight, and hot - but it was an honor to sit up there. The staff reminded us that we would be on television, so please remember that. We had bright BRIGHT lights shining directly at us, which played havoc with my camera, so I didn't get as many pictures as I'd hoped. Plus, we could only get a decent photo when he turned to the side, or around to face us. But I took as many as I could get.

Our view, including bright lights
My friend Jason. We were next to an enormous flag
The Enthusiastic Crowd
Senator Bill Nelson, Throwing Us A Kiss - Photo Credit, Jason H.
Obama Hugging Woman Who Introduced Him - Photo Credit, Jason H.
Yes, I realize I got the teleprompters in the photos. So what? The GOP uses them, too - and we'll find out who REALLY needs them when the debates start. Popcorn, anyone?

The President was, as always, brilliant, funny, wonky, and inspiring. I have been to three rallies for this man in the last four years, and I treasure each and every one of them. One of my favorite moments was when he talked about tax cuts and the GOP.

Our friends at the Republican Convention were more than happy to talk about everything they think is wrong with America, but they didn’t have much to say about how to make it right.  (Applause.)  They want your vote, but they don’t want you to know their plan.  That’s because they’re offering the same worn-out plan that they’ve had for 30 years -- tax cuts, tax cuts, roll back some regulations, and then let’s have some more tax cuts. Tax cuts when times are good.  Tax cuts when times are bad.  Tax cuts to lose an extra few pounds -- (laughter) -- tax cuts to improve your love life.  (Laughter.)  Whatever the issue -- tax cuts.
And this:
President Clinton, he made the case as well as anybody could.  (Applause.)  Somebody tweeted after he spoke -- they said, somebody needs to appoint him secretary of explaining stuff.  (Laughter.)  He broke it down.  Secretary of explaining stuff -- I love that.
Obama Speaking - Photo Credit, Jason H.
You can find the transcript here, thanks to the Daily Kos Transcript Editors.

Transcript of Kissimmee Rally

Obama Speaking - Photo Credit, Jason H.
Obama Speaking - Photo Credit, Jason H.
Obama Speaking - Photo Credit, Jason H.
Obama Speaking
Obama Speaking
Obama Speaking
Obama Speaking
Obama Speaking
Obama Speaking
Obama Speaking
Obama Speaking
At one point in the rally, President Obama turned around, looked right at us, and said "I'm talking to you!" He made eye contact with me for just a split second. It was a beautiful moment, and one I won't forget!
President Obama - "I'm talking to you!"

Sorry for the shaky video - we were jam-packed in there, and it was difficult to get a video with everyone bumping on all sides. Great people, though.

This photo is one of the best of the day - and I didn't take it. It's from another attendee that I met on Twitter. Thank you for this!! (Credit listed under the photo)
Photo Credit to Marianne Snyder, CEO of Avatarix, inc. and a volunteer for the Obama campaign.
After the rally, Jason and I went to Steak and Shake (a local semi-fast food eatery, with great milkshakes). We saw at least two other groups there from the rally, including this man. He allowed me to photograph his shirt, and we got talking for a bit - so much so that his wife, who had been waiting at the register, finally came up and took the receipt from his hand. It was a funny moment.
Fellow Rally Attendee, Wearing Obama Shirt
Rally Attendee, wearing Obama Birth Certificate Shirt
Here's that same man, in the crowd:
Our Steak and Shake friend, in the back row there
On the way out, I saw this flag, and couldn't resist. Seemed like the perfect end to a great day.
Flag On A Beautiful Day
FOUR MORE YEARS!! FOUR MORE YEARS!! FOUR MORE YEARS!!

Much louder in there than it sounds on the video. The floor beneath my feet was shaking.

Are you fired up? Ready to go? I am!!

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