MINNEAPOLIS - Martin Donovan really, really wanted to see the president. That's why the high school student set up camp at 4:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Lake Harriet Bandshell, after learning that's where free tickets to the president's Friday speech would be distributed.
"It was a very big deal to see him, especially in person, but it was also kind of a spur of the moment thing," Donovan, who will be a junior at Washburn High School next fall, told KARE.
He got there earlier enough to stake the pole position, the first spot in the ticket line, and held it for nearly 8 hours. By mid morning the line snaked for blocks around the bandshell, for people looking to score one of 3,000 tickets
"I was lucky enough to have some time on my hands," Donovan said.
He was back bright and early Friday morning, standing in line for hours, to put his ticket to use. And, while Donovan admits he's not that interested in a career in politics himself, he said the Chief Executive of the United States make a great impression in person.
"He's definitely the right man for the job at the right time, I think," he remarked.
After the speech, as Obama made his way off the stage past the people on the front row, he shook Martin's hand.
"He stopped to talk to the people next to me, then shook my hand. I never thought I was going to be that close to him, right up in person! And it was awesome!"
The president focused on pocketbook issues that average families face, and accused the Republican controlled Congress of standing in the way of reforms that would help average families and "expand the economy from the middle out."
There were also those on hand who don't share the president's views, but wanted to see him anyway.
According to the Associated Press 15-year-old David O'Neill was at Lake Harriet with a group of boys wearing t-shirts for Republican Senate candidate Mike McFadden, who running against incumbent Democratic Sen. Al Franken.
O'Neill says he goes to the same school as McFadden's sons.
"It's pretty cool no matter what your political beliefs to see a president," O'Neill told the A.P.