The news junkie in me was in full force yesterday as I trudged through monsoon like rain (exaggeration intended) to hear President Barack Obama discuss his plans for health care reform at Shaker Heights High School. Shout out to Kelly for hooking me up with a ticket!
Knowing that parking would be a high commodity I drove a couple of blocks and found a decent spot, and as luck would have it the rain begins to come down in torrents, but I would not be deterred and began my trek to the school.
Carrying my straw bag with my 35mm SLR, palm sized digital, Flip video, note pad and othe goodies I arrived soaked from my thighs down. The upper body was insulated by my hooded raincoat. Everything was held in my straw bag because the letter with my ticket said no bags, so I figured my camera bag might not get in – a fact I would later find was probably incorrect.
Again, as luck would have it as soon as I arrived at the line to enter the gymnasium the rain stopped! Luckily I had timed my arrival pretty good, and didn’t have to stand in line more than about fifteen minutes before reaching the security checkpoint. The officers manning security were very nice and conversational, one actually telling me I could ony bring in five items as he checked out all of my electronic equipment. They were also very helpful in assisting me in retrieving my cellphones and bluetooth – inadvertently left at the check in table. I guess I had too many items after all!
Inside I chatted with a few local politicians and media types and awaited the President’s arrival. I was surprised at how punctual he was, starting only about five minutes later than scheduled.
Introducing the President was a retired autoworker who spoke of having to work part-time in order to pay the rising costs for health care.
The president stuck to his message ensuring those present that his proposal is an effort to help more Americans receive adequate health care. He knows the plan is not without some flaws, but that it is desire for the various Congressional Committees to hammer out the details.
When questioned about the timeline, the President said he believes that in order to have anything done in Washington you have to set deadlines, and his true goal is to have reform in place before the end of the year.
Speaking to a largely Democratic audience, President Obama’s message was well received and he closed by urging the attendees to keep the heat on their Congressional representatives.