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The Day I Shook the President's Hand

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When I wrote this, I had been in line for 45 minutes waiting to hear President Obama speak on Ohio State's Oval, and I still had another forty-five minutes ahead of me before the doors opened. At this point in my day, I had been approached by approximately twenty of the infamous "have you registered to vote?" people, ten salesmen with Obama paraphernalia, seven people asking if I was signed up to vote early, and three opposing people parading around the line with giant pictures of bloody fetuses. So, literally EVERYONE was there.

At one of the top five largest schools in the nation, it's often hard for something here to be considered "big." I think this easily passed the test, though -- there were so many people on campus I could have honestly thought that Ohio State was playing That School Up North in football today.

With about thirty minutes remaining until the opening of the gates, I found myself in quite possibly the only place in the country where you can hear alternating chants of "Four More Years" along with "OH!"..."IO!" It was also nice to listen to a spot on performance of "Hang on Sloopy" while waiting in this monster of a line.

Once I made the daunting trek to security, I instantly made a fool of myself. I'll give you a hint of advice, should you ever find yourself in this situation: security for the president is NOT airport security. As I emptied my phone and wallet from my pockets, I asked if I should take off my belt. The security guard responded: "It ain't that kind of party! Keep your pants on, son." Honestly, a simple "No, that's alright," would have sufficed.

After that "incident," I was finally in! I was by no means at the front of the crowd, but I was very pleased with my spot; this happiness only continued to grow as the masses flooded in behind me, forming literally a sea of people on the Oval. My excitement did not sway -- and trust me, it was tested. I stood in a cramped space for a solid two hours before anything started. At 4:00PM, we heard from a variety of speakers ranging from the mayor of Columbus to John Glenn. I applaud this because it got me pumped to hear a political speech (if that's possible).

Then all that momentum was lost when will.i.am performed as the opening act for the president. Trust me, as weird as that sounds to read, it was at least ten times weirder live. I get what the campaign was trying to do in getting college kids excited to vote, but "Boom Boom Pow" doesn't seem to go hand in hand with President Obama.

Once that nightmare was over, Obama came out and met a roaring applause. I don't care what your party affiliation is -- seeing the President live in person is an experience you will remember for the rest of your life. Being that close to someone who is both so influential, yet so able to create so much opposition was incredible. After being right in the middle of the political madness that is engulfing America right now, I've only one more thing to say:

 

Time to go vote!

By Joseph Barry, Ohio State