Hundreds try for tickets to see President Obama's bus tour

Aug 20, 2013

As the sun heated up the parking lot outside Henninger High School this morning, umbrellas and other makeshift sources of shade began to replace pillows and blankets.

Some people had been in line since 7 p.m. Monday, shortly after details of President Barack Obama's visit to Syracuse were released, in hopes of getting tickets to see him give a speech at the high school Thursday evening about making education more affordable.

The Syracuse visit is part of a four stop bus tour the president is doing through upstate New York and northeastern Pennsylvania this week.

By 10 a.m. Tuesday the line to get tickets wrapped along the parking lot and off school grounds. Many of the late arrivals would not be lucky enough to secure a ticket.

"I think it’s kind of exciting to have these guys out here showing some enthusiasm," said Bob Buchanan, a retired city worker. His daughter got in line at 11 p.m. Monday. He showed up early this morning when he finished dialysis.

As lawn mowers were busy making sure the school grounds were ready for Thursday, Buchanan talked about what he would discuss with Mr. Obama in the unlikely chance he got to meet him.

Get more young people to work fixing roads and bridges, he said would be his message.

"You got a lot of kids out here that need jobs that don’t have any kind of direction," Buchanan said. "This would be a great way to give them something to do, a way to make money for them."

Toward the back of the line was Connie Stewart, who arrived around 9:30 a.m.

Stewart works two part-time jobs and has a son in college. She says making health care affordable is her biggest concern and wants to urge the president to keep fighting for reform.

"I’m one of the people who doesn’t have it. It’s very expensive," she explained. "I would like to tell him, please continue. No matter what people do to try and stop it, continue, because there are a lot of us who need it."

With hundreds of people ahead of her, Stewart was on the border of being close enough to get a ticket, but she said trying was worth the wait. Shortly before the noon distribution time, organizers handed out wristbands to those close enough to get a ticket.

Buffalo

It was a similar scene this morning in Buffalo, where Obama will speak before coming to Syracuse.

Liz Barnes and her daughter, Joy Christopher, showed up at 7 a.m. Barnes told WBFO's Ashley Hirtzel she didn't want to miss the chance to be a part of such a rare opportunity.

"I think what he's done as our president, representing the minority population has been awesome," Barnes said. "I am so grateful to be part of the history that voted for him and show my little girl that anybody can be president."

Some Obama supporters in Buffalo showed up before sunrise this morning.

Obama will make stops in Binghamton and Scranton, Pa. on Friday to wrap up the bus tour.