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Long line forms overnight to get tickets for Obama's Osawatomie visit

  • Kansas City Star
  • Published Saturday, Dec. 3, 2011, at 5:03 p.m.
  • Updated Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2011, at 6:42 a.m.

More than a thousand people lined up overnight and this morning to get a ticket to see President Obama on Tuesday at Osawatomie High School.

The line began forming early Saturday evening, and people had to brave frigid temperatures overnight. Tickets were being handed out on a first come, first serve basis at noon .

The White House on Saturday cleared up some of the mystery surrounding Obama's trip.

The point of the trip is, in fact, to give an address on the economy — and specifically, how the president “sees this as a make-or-break moment for the middle class and all those working to join it,” a White House statement said.

“He’ll lay out the choice we face between a country in which too few do well while too many struggle to get by, and one where we’re all in it together – where everyone engages in fair play, everyone does their fair share, and everyone gets a fair shot,” the statement said.

One reason Obama picked the Kansas town, situated about 60 miles southwest of Kansas City, was for an historical tie. President Theodore Roosevelt, a Republican, spoke in the town in 1910, a year after he left the presidency. In that address, to a crowd then estimated at 30,000, Roosevelt called for what he called a “New Nationalism where everyone gets a fair chance, a square deal, and an equal opportunity to succeed,” the White House said.

The selection of Osawatomie surprised even Democrats when it was announced Friday because of Kansas' traditional Republican leanings. Even though the president's mother was born in the state, he fell far short of carrying Kansas in 2008.

Obama will speak at about 1 p.m. in the Osawatomie High School gym.

The president will fly into Kansas City International Airport as he makes his way to Osawatomie. He will arrive late in the morning, but that event is closed to the public. The White House did not say how the president would get from Kansas City to Osawatomie.

To reach Steve Kraske, call 816-234-4312 or send e-mail to skraske@kcstar.com.

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