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Obama Campaigns for Clinton in Jacksonville

Obama Campaigns for Clinton in Jacksonville

By Zachariah Chou

Attendees started lining up as early as 1 a.m. to be first in line to see the President of the United States on Nov. 3, 2016. The general admission line stretched for over a mile down the road away from the University of North Florida arena by the middle of the day.

Orlando native James LeQuang, 36, was fourth in line. He arrived around 2:30 a.m. He wanted to get as close as he could possibly get  to see Obama. LeQuang said he is supporting Clinton in the presidential election, noting Clinton’s experience in public service and also endorsements from people such as Obama and LeBron James.

“I do want better Obamacare since my parents are getting older and they need insurance. Also Social Security, to make sure that is secure as well,” LeQuang He also mentioned keeping up relations with other countries.

Doors opened around noon and attendees started streaming into the arena, which holds 4,500 people at full capacity. Outside, several protesters set up shop. Protesters with anti-Clinton signs stood by the front of the line while Dakota Access Pipeline protesters walked back-and-forth along the slowly progressing line. After the arena filled up, multiple speakers and musical performances kept the audience energized prior to President Obama’s arrival. Those who couldn’t fit into the arena were directed into an adjoining overflow area.

Obama arrived at 3:38 p.m. and started off by performing a “swoop,” a traditional University of North Florida gesture meant to simulate an osprey, the UNF mascot. During his speech, Obama encouraged people to vote while also praising Clinton for her career in public service. He also took the time to reflect on the direction of the country over the last eight years, referencing the recession and gas prices. On the offensive, Obama called Tump “uniquely unqualified” to be president, encouraging the crowd not to express their discontent with their voices, but with their votes.

After speaking for around 45 minutes, Obama left the lectern and briefly met with attendees before heading out.

“You gotta vote and if you do, we will elect Hillary Clinton, we will elect Patrick Murphy, we’ll continue on this amazing journey, we’ll finish what we started, we’ll show the world why America is the greatest nation on earth—I love you Florida: let’s go!” said Obama, concluding his speech.

Featured image by Zachariah Chou.