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LIVE - President Obama Visit to FAU

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LIVE - President Obama Visit to FAU















President Barack Obama makes a major tax policy speech in his first visit to Florida Atlantic University on April 10, 2012 at FAU Arena - the second visit to FAU by a sitting president. Photos copyright 2012 Bob Markey II / www.PalmsWestPhoto.com

http://www.palmswestpress.co/images/FAU_Obama_1_04_10_12/index.htm

PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED: We're set up in the press corps here inside FAU Arena waiting for President Obama to present his speech on taxation.

The arena is around half-full of students - many dressed as if they were attending a basketball game here. The TV camera guys are dressed like slime, as usual, with denim shorts and crummy t-shirts. You;d think they would have a bit of respect for the highest office in the land.

Security was not bad, but they made us go through a wand check while out gear was outside the west entrance to the arena. A dog sniffed our gear while we roasted in the sun. Finally we're in.

Obama will speak from a stage at mid-court, facing the reserved seating side. But only the top of the reserved side is being used. The roll-out bottom seats were kept closed. That is where the press risers are situated. The student side is rolled out, but only one-third full at this time. However, last I looked a half-hour ago, the line of guests waiting to be scanned and checked and prodded reached all the way to University Avenue and significantly past the baseball stadium entrance. FAU/White House could have accommodated many more people if the lower section of the reserved side had been rolled out.

The campus looks nice. A huge media contingent is here, including every TV station in the Miami and West Palm Beach markets.

The mood is upbeat, with many students interested in what Obama has to say about taxing the ultra-rich more and what he plans to do about gas prices. A sense of student pride is evident.

More info and photos to come …
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Re: LIVE - President Obama Visit to FAU

An official just came onto the podium to do a sound check for the media and the crowd got excited. It's still 45 minutes or so from speech time. The arena is now around half full. It appears the upper deck of the student side will now be used. It is empty so far. The floor is packed with the special guests.

For a few seconds there, I thought I was at a game show or David Letterman. The test speaker told the crowd it had to be more enthusiastic when "PODUS" arrives. The crowd responded well.
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Re: LIVE - President Obama Visit to FAU

Pre-speech Photos: Facebook
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Re: LIVE - President Obama Visit to FAU

The arena is pretty full now, but people continue to stream in. Only the west top of the student side is not full. Hats and sunglasses have been banned. The University Press is reporting that police told people at the back of the huge line they probably would not get in. Then why were they given tickets?
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Re: LIVE - President Obama Visit to FAU

A host of Palm Beach County state representatives are in the arena, including Irv Slossberg, Lori Berman and Joe Abruzzo.
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Re: LIVE - President Obama Visit to FAU

The arena is now fully packed. The excitement level is growing. Lots of students in FAU garb.
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Re: LIVE - President Obama Visit to FAU

The big crowd has now erupted into a wave. Lots of noise.
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Re: LIVE - President Obama Visit to FAU

The crowd has started chanting "Obama", "Four More Years" and now a huge "FAU!"
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Re: LIVE - President Obama Visit to FAU

Very emotional speech. The crowd certainly loved it. The President has left the building, but the 4,000 or so folks here must stay inside until he is off the grounds.
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Re: LIVE - President Obama Visit to FAU

President Mary Jane Saunders was greeted with huge applause when she came out to give her speech. Many thought she was the president but greeted her warmly anyway. Saunders gave an overview of FAU and its growth and success and got large ovations when she named the various schools and colleges.

The student body president took advantage of the cheers, looking like Richard Nixon with his hands in the air as he came out to lead the Pledge of Allegiance. Obama later said the FAU chief wants his job, but can't have it until he is 35.

The young woman who sang the national Anthem was fantastic and drew large cheers. The audience sang the last stanza with her.

The Burrow went wild when Obama came out. He spoke to everyone and even reacted to a few comments from the audience. he did his homework on FAU because he started out by giving the "owl fingers". Mass cheers.

He spoke of the burrowing owl and FAU's mascot, drawing an eruption. He said he was glad to be in Florida, especially with this great weather, referred to FAU graduates-to-be and then used college issues to get into his argument that the largest wealth earners should pay more in taxes in order to find college grants, care for the elderly, care for veterans, police officers and firefighters, etc.
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