We arrived at 12 – the gates were due to open at 1:30 and Obama was speaking at 3:30.
We signed in – and then we walked. And walked, and walked – to the end of the line, which was by that time most of a mile away. Huge numbers of people kept streaming past us for the next three hours.
I heard that they were estimating 10,000, but over 45,000 showed up.
For the first hour after they opened the gates, we moved exactly 20 yards. I know this because we were standing beside the practice field at CSU, started on the 40 yard line and ended up one hour later on the other 40 yard line.
At 3:30 when Obama began talking, we were about halfway to the venue. We gave up on the line and headed east to join the group of people outside the venue just listening. We could hear pretty well, up until the point when the Fox News truck started broadcasting his speech with a one-second delay so that none of us could make out what was being said.
We left that group and headed south – where a volunteer just let us in. After standing in line for over three hours, we were let in with no security check, and discovered that they had closed off about half of the venue. That’s why so many people were left outside in line – I’m guessing they could have doubled the number of people inside without too much of a problem.
We never even saw Obama, he was hidden behind the press corps. But we got to hear the last five minutes very clearly.
CSU didn’t do a good job of planning this event. I know they only had a few days notice, but wouldn’t it have made a lot more sense to have it out at the football stadium? No trees, no buildings, plenty of parking and plenty of seats for the throng that came to see Obama. They were shortsighted on this one.