So today was the big day at West Chester University. I’ve never seen such excitement on this campus! I thought it would be big, but I never imagined it would be this big. Over 2,200 wildly animated people crowded into Hollinger Field House to watch Chris Matthews interview Barack Obama on MSNBC’s “Hardball College Tour.”
To be honest, I’m not a big fan of Barack Obama, and I’ve still not decided who will get my vote. It’s a long way to Election Day, and a lot can happen in the next few months. But I have to admit Obama made a rather positive impression on me at this event. He really is eloquent, and he seems like a very sincere and passionate person. I’m not sure what kind of President he would be, but if he does win the election, I think he could bring some positive changes to Washington.
I’d like to hear from Hillary in person before the primary vote. I was impressed with Chelsea Clinton when she visited our campus last week. I know there are those who dislike Hillary, but I think America might benefit from a woman President. And I thought it was telling when Chelsea she said she thought her mom would make a better president than her dad was.
And although I’m not particularly impressed with John McCain, I will probably watch how he does when he appears with Chris Matthews on the next stop of Hardball’s College Tour (April 15 at Villanova University). It would be interesting to see if the Villanova crowd gets as excited as the one here at West Chester.
Below are a few pictures of the event. You can see more photos on my web gallery.
It’s official. Barack Obama will be coming to West Chester University this Wednesday afternoon. But it’s not for a stump speech or an open discussion. No, Obama will be on a TV show that is being hosted on campus. And not everyone can get in; you need to get a ticket if you want to see the show.
So this afternoon, I got a ticket. Here’s a picture of the ticket itself. I found the wording interesting: “West Chester University of Pennsylvania presents ‘Hardball with Chris Matthews’ 2008 College Tour with Special Guest Senator Barack Obama.” I wonder how I should interpret the statement that WCU “presents” this event. Should I take this to mean that WCU is sponsoring this event? Or does it mean that MSNBC (the cable channel that airs Hardball) is just using WCU as a remote venue for the program? Is it costing WCU something in order to bring this show to town?
One thing this event IS costing us is the use of a parking lot for two days. Tomorrow and Wednesday, the parking lot next to Hollinger Field House will be closed. This is a pretty big lot, and it means that a lot more people will be trolling the remaining parking lots looking for a spot to park their wheels. At least the Sharpless Street garage has announced that they are providing free parking during the lot closure.
When I picked up my ticket, I was told that “no backpacks will be allowed,” and I’ll need to present my WCU ID card along with the ticket to get in. They would only give me one ticket, so I couldn’t bring my wife along. Oh well. I guess she’ll have to watch it on TV like everyone else.
So if you’re watching MSNBC Wednesday afternoon, look for me in the crowd. Or not.
So this afternoon, Chelsea Clinton visited our campus. I expected there would be a crowd, but didn’t expect this big of a crowd. The Sykes Union television lounge was filled to capacity, and the overflow crowd extended upstairs to the second floor. I had to struggle to get close enough to take this picture!
As for her comments, I didn’t really hear anything out of the ordinary. She was stumping for her mom, and the crowd was primarily routing for her. She spent most of the time responding to questions, and there were plenty of them. I thought she handled one question about the Bush presidency particularly well when she said that 2008 really should have been the last year of a Gore administration. Chelsea spoke with grace and dignity, although sometimes she was a bit difficult to hear in the crowded environment.
Many people were wearing the Hillary stickers they were giving out. I might have worn a button if they were offering them, but I guess political buttons are a thing of the past. Maybe I’m old-fashioned (or just plain old) but I’d take a button over a sticker any day. Stickers are just so…disposable. Not to mention sticky.
There were also quite a few students holding up “McCain for President” posters, which you can see in the picture. I didn’t see them giving out buttons either. The McCain supporters were persistent but reasonably polite, and they didn’t seem to faze Chelsea.
I did see a lot of video cameras documenting Chelsea’s appearance, and quite a few big guys that looked like Secret Service types.
Anyway, one nice thing about the extended nomination process for the Democratic candidate is that it’s making Pennsylvania’s primary an interesting one. And it’s great to see so many students interested in the political process.
By the way, I hear Barack Obama will be coming to campus next Wednesday. MSNBC plans to bring Chris Matthews and his “Hardball College Tour” to West Chester University for a live broadcasts at 5, with repeats at 7 and 11 that evening. I suspect the crowd for Obama next week will be even bigger than the one for Chelsea today.