A Lehigh Acres woman who wasn't sure she was going to get a ticket to attend the program featuring President Barrack Obama Friday at Harborside in Fort Myers, got a last minute phone call Thursday night that she did indeed have a ticket.
Joan Patterson's air conditioning at her condo had quit working Thursday afternoon and she had left home but when she returned later that evening, there was a message on her answering machine that a ticket was waiting for her.
Patterson is an avid Obama supporter and campaigns for all the Democrat candidates in the county.
"I was really happy to get that ticket. It was before what happened later that night in Colorado where a young man shot several people in a movie theater with 59 being wounded and 12 being listed as dead by the news media," she said.
"I wondered if his trip here would be canceled. They didn't and I am glad. He did not speak about politics but spoke for about seven or eight minutes on how he felt about the violence at the Aurora, Colo., theater," she said.
"It came from his heart. He is a very compassionate person and I think he came because so many people had gotten tickets to see him."
Patterson is retired but spends most of her time during election years campaigning for Democrat candidates. She attended a Haitian rally this weekend working to get her candidates elected.
Patterson was at the Obama February, 2009 visit to Fort Myers and said the president appeared to have a lot more gray hair since he was elected.
She was not able to stand in line Thursday to get a ticket because of her legs.
"They don't hold up like they used to," she said. "I had requested a ticket from Democrat officials in Tampa and that is how I was able to get a last minute ticket. They sent word to Democrat officials in Fort Myers that a ticket was available for me and all I had to do was pick it up," she said. She received a call after she returned home after 7 p.m. Thursday from Lee County Democrat Party chairman Sandy McClinton. Her air conditioning has started working again, she said.
Politics and football are her two loves and she says she spends time with both "whole heartily."
Patterson said she was glad to hear Obama speak from his heart about the tragedy in the Colorado theater shooting.
She sat in bleachers at Harborside Center and had a good view of the president, she said.
"People were stomping their feet on the bleachers in support of Obama when he came on stage alone without anyone stage introducing him. The stomping, she said, caused her legs to ache.
"It had been scheduled for someone locally to introduce the president, but instead and due to the sad news of the shootings, it was announced on the public address system. Nobody was with him on stage, but the security was heavy, that you could see," she said.
Patterson is ahead of a committee for the Democratic Party of Lee County. She spends much time around the district passing out campaign literature for Democrats.
It was reported that about 1,000 people attended the event.
"I know it was packed and people were even standing," she said.
When the president finished his brief remarks, he shook hands with people at the front and exited the Bay St. entrance of Harborside.
Outside, Patterson said there were protesters against Obama screaming and carrying signs for Republican candidate Mitt Romney.
"But the crowds leaving the hall started shouting 'For more years' and drowned out the Romney protesters, who were screaming some really uncalled for remarks.
"The protest group was obnoxious with their screams. They wanted to make sure President Obama saw them as he stepped into his limousine to return to the airport to fly to Washington, canceling another appearance in Florida," she said.
Patterson said she wanted people in Lehigh to know that on August 19, there will be a political rally in Lehigh at 6 p.m. at Majestic Golf Club and here should be speakers there on behalf of Obama, Jim Roach and Will Bronson, who are running for high offices.
"In my opinion, President Obama has done a good job after inheriting a financial nightmare from former President Bush. He is a good and decent man. The election will be close. But in Lehigh, there are a lot of Democrats and I hope they see the good in Obama as they have in other Democratic candidates in the past.
"We need to also reelect U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson for the U.S. Senate and Democrat congressmen. We need those who will work with President Obama to solve many of America's problems. For the last few years, Members of the House have done nothing to work with the Democrats and the president. It is a shame that his opponents have attacked Obama with half-truths," she said.