By Earl Glynn | Kansas Watchdog
Osawatomie — On a cold Sunday morning 400 to 500 people were in line at least 90 minutes early to get tickets to hear a speech by President Obama on Tuesday. Some would later be disappointed.
Mayor Phil Dudley was happy that more people might be visiting his town due to the President’s visit. ”It’s pure excitement and it was a total surprise.” Dudley said the city learned several weeks ago about the possibility of the President’s visit.
Ruth Wrench, who turns 103 later this month, was on the minds of several in the long line. Wrench is known affectionately by many in Osawatomie as Auntie Ruth or Grandma Ruth. One woman in line said most would gladly let Grandma Ruth go first.
Gloria Anderson said she understood the Mayor had asked the White House for special permission to get Wrench’s ticket tomorrow.
RaeAnn Roberts, Osawatomie, was the first in line and said she arrived about 6 PM Saturday. She said about 25 friends stayed in line with her during the night with temperatures as low as 30 and wind chills to 18.
“We couldn’t sleep in tents because we didn’t have camping permits,” said Bill Cutburth, Osawatomie. “It was extremely cold.”
Roberts said she’s a huge Obama supporter, worked on his campaign in 2008 and wants him re-elected in 2012. “It’s a once in a lifetime chance to see your president,” said one of Roberts’ friends who declined to be identified.
Officials did not disclose the exact number of tickets available. Some speculated there were about 400 to 500 tickets. A person working for the White House said the official number would be disclosed on Tuesday.
At least 50 people were still in line when tickets ran out to attend President Obama’s speech on Tuesday
Doors opened at noon and an hour later after about 400 or 500 tickets had been given out, organizers attempted to set expectations near the back of the line that some may go away empty handed.