Student tickets scarce for Obama rally

Kirsten Salyer

Medill sophomore Joey Kahn didn’t wait until he got out of class Tuesday afternoon to respond to his e-mail. Barack Obama was waiting for an answer.

Kahn was one of the lucky Northwestern students to sign up for and receive a free ticket for the presidential candidate’s election night speech at Grant Park next Tuesday night.

“If my dad had been there when Woodstock was happening and didn’t go, I’d be really upset,” Kahn said. “I’m in Chicago. I have to go.”

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Obama’s campaign plans for 65,000 people inside the rally and 7,500 members of the media and campaign workers. Still, this didn’t stop a wait list from forming hours after tickets became available. There’s no word on whether the campaign plans to release more tickets.

Weinberg sophomore Jessica Heller was not so lucky. In fact, of the 10 members of Students for Barack Obama who met Wednesday night to make campaign phone calls and plan another canvassing trip, only one had successfully registered for a ticket.

Heller said she heard security for the event would be tough, but that’s not going to stop her from going and trying to get in, she said. According to the Democratic Party Web site, ticket holders are allowed to bring one guest, must present IDs and are not allowed to bring bags into the event.

“I’ve heard the Secret Service is checking tickets,” Heller said.

McCormick sophomore Ellen Abrams said she was surprised it was so difficult to get a ticket and was “bummed” when she was put on the wait list for tickets Tuesday night.

“For everything else they’re always like, ‘come out, we want you,'” she said. “And now it’s like, all right, I want to go, but basically I’m not invited.”

Abrams said she plans on trying to go as someone’s guest, but with a ticket or not, she’ll make sure to be in Grant Park Tuesday night.

“If I can’t tag along with someone, I’ll just hang out around the hubbub or just sneak in,” she said. “But it’s going be nuts. It’s going to be insane.”

NU students are not the only ones desperate to go to the event. As of 6 p.m. Wednesday, there were over 75 posts on from people wanting to buy or sell their free event tickets. Some offered to pay up to $1,000 and one mom even put up pictures of her two little boys in an effort to snag the sympathy vote and get a ticket. One ticket seller promised to give up his tickets only in exchange for Phish reunion tickets and another guy said he’d bring someone along as a guest – if she was a “hot chick” and she agreed to go to dinner with him beforehand.

Kahn said he was “stoked” to get a ticket for free. He said he plans on taking the intercampus shuttle downtown and walking to Grant Park to avoid the masses on the trains and buses. He hasn’t planned on how to get back – or get to his 9 a.m. class the next morning, but that doesn’t matter, he said.

“This is so much more important than anything at Northwestern, so I’m going to make it happen,” he said.

Kahn created a Facebook event for his friends who are going, but he said he’s willing to extend the invitation.

“If anyone who reads The Daily wants to come with me, they’re totally welcome,” he said.

But only if you have a ticket. He already knows too many people who want to be his “plus one.”

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