*notcot in travel , 16:40

President Obama Town Hall - Los Angeles- 03.19.09

mainth.jpg SO freshly back and hundreds of pics and still kind of spinning trying to process the last few hours of my life… ~ on the next page you’ll find a visual walkthrough of the chaos that was the President Obama Town Hall meeting in Los Angeles ~ i was lucky enough to snag a ticket (#0010!!!)… Not going to go into the politics, but it was an incredible thing to experience in person ~ so here’s a look at how it felt to be there… and while i’m not the best at playing “spot/name the politician” many around me were remarking about how the event was a real who’s who of politics in California… the chairs around the stage were VIP, and us ticket holders were in the bleachers. Also, i’ve never been SO close to a president before… it was kind of trippy sitting so near the stage, and having him enter just a few feet away!

for the full text of the meeting check out the LA Times

So cute, the high school kids were all pressed up against the windows as we stood waiting for the doors to open… doors opened at 11, some were there since 7 or 8! (I got there around 10)

Here’s my spot in line… doors are by that bridge up front…

This ninja turtle cracked me up…

The line just kept growing!

How awesome is the bridge at the Miguel Contreras Learning Complex Gymnasium?

And we’re in! Got lucky and as they shuffled us in, i ended up on the 2nd row of the bleachers right next to where speakers enter from!

And here is President Obama on the way in…



He joined Mayor Villaraigosa and the Governator on the stage….



He points a lot ~ and has some crazy poses/expressions, so here are a few fun ones…






Perhaps the most moving thing that happened at the event… the FINAL question, and Obama goes boy-girl-etc… its a boy, and he wants to pick a young man… my section goes nuts for him to pick this kid… and this 8 year old boy, Ethan, with his mom beaming next to him… has brought a folder of letters from his classmates for President Obama asking for his help with all of the teachers they are losing… also, he wants to grow up to be a cop. Afterwards, he and his mom got whisked off by the Secret Service to meet him to give him the package!

Just found the full text at the LA Times, here’s the excerpt with Ethan:

All right. Okay, this is the last — last question. You know, I’m going to — on the last question I think I — hold on a second, I think I want to call on — I want to call on a young person. But it’s got to be a guy — it’s a guy. No, no, you’re not that young, you sit down. (Laughter.) That guy right there. The young guy in the T-shirt, or in the tie — in the tie. This young man right here. That guy right there. (Applause.) All right, you’ve got to stand up, though. You look good in that tie.

Q Hi, my name is Ethan. President Obama, our school is in big trouble because our budget cuts are — 25 of our teachers already have been fired, to get pink slips. And the whole school, my class, we made this.

THE PRESIDENT: Oh, you made — are those letters for me?

Q Yes.

THE PRESIDENT: What’s your name?

Q Ethan Lopez.

THE PRESIDENT: Ethan Lopez. How old are you, Ethan?

Q Eight.

THE PRESIDENT: Eight. So what grade are you in?

Q Third grade.

THE PRESIDENT: Third grade. Do you like school?

Q Yes.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, you do? Is that your mom next to you?

Q Yes.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes. She looks very nice. (Laughter.) Well, let me — as I said before, Ethan, we’re going to do everything we can to protect our teachers. We already passed a law in Washington that’s going to give more money to the state to help keep teachers in their jobs.

And one of the things that we didn’t talk about earlier, we’re also going to be putting more money into school construction, because there are a lot of overcrowded schools and overcrowded classrooms that aren’t wired for the Internet effectively. And we are going to make sure that we invest in that as well, because I want you to get a first-class education. What do you want to be when you grow up, have you decided yet?

Q Yes.

THE PRESIDENT: What would you like to be?

Q A cop.

THE PRESIDENT: A cop. (Applause.) That’s what I’m talking about, all right. Well, I can tell that you will be an outstanding police officer. Your mom is proud of you. We’re all proud of you. Give Ethan a big round of applause. (Applause.) Thank you, everybody. God bless you. (Applause.)


As he gets ready to leave, crowds rush forwards for autographs and hand shakes… i climbed up higher not to get mauled and get some fun views with the wide angle!


Everyone waving goodbye!

Here’s a peek at the news crews…


All along the edges of the blocked off area were large crowds… this one was chanting “no more pink slips” and “save our teachers”

Here’s lucky ticket # 0010!

The instructions for getting there…

I think i just like the look of the gym ceiling on this one…

the expressions and players in this picture amuse me…

And look~ random find in the crowd… Kal Penn ~ from house and harold & kumar!

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6 Notes

What a wonderful once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for you to attend
the Town Hall meeting. Naturally, my friends and I tried to win
one of the lottery tickets to the event. Thank you for sharing
your pictures. Can you ever remember so many people lining up and
waiting to see the President of the United States like this???

----- Jan 03.04.09 19:53

How did you manage to get a ticket?
City Mayor connections?

----- LA Loc 20.03.09 21:35

Wow… How lucky to have been there!! Beautiful photos… And that story about Ethan brought tears to my eyes… : )

----- grace 20.03.09 09:35

Sam is right. You should see about submitting to the AP or Getty or Corbis.

----- Liza 20.03.09 06:24

Oooo, somethin tells me you could get a pretty penny for that Ethan photo… if you’re into that “money” thing…

----- Sam S. 19.03.09 18:53

I saw that little boy on the news. It was so touching to hear him talk about his teachers and wanting to be a cop. Obama was great with him.
that’s a president I can believe in.

----- abigail 19.03.09 18:50

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