Trenton Vanderlinden got a little bit of sleep last night. It wasn't particularly easy. He was already in line to go see the president.
Vanderlinden, 13, arrived at Oskaloosa High School at 11 p.m. Monday with his father, Josh. The shuttle runs to Nelson Pioneer Farm were scheduled to begin early Tuesday.
Josh said he never thought he’d get the opportunity to see a sitting president in person. Both Josh and fellow early bird Marc McCain have never seen a sitting president in person before.
When asked how they felt about the prospect of seeing a sitting president in person, both Josh and McCain expressed similar sentiments.
“It’s exciting,” said Josh.
“It’s great,” McCain said.
Josh said Trenton wants to be able to go to school and tell everyone he got to see President Obama.
When people finally got to the site, they found themselves in a crowd officially counted at just over 850. Rick Kleinman, of Ottumwa, said he was also at the Obama event in Ottumwa in 2010.
“Not too many people get to experience this type of experience, so it’s a real honor,” said Kleinman before Obama spoke.
For others, such events are more common but no less valued. Democratic congressman Dave Loebsack, from Iowa’s Second District, said it was a great idea for President Obama to come to the Nelson Pioneer Farm.
This is not the first time Loebsack has seen President Obama in person. He noted that the first time he saw Obama was in November of 2006.
“He came in to help a number of candidates including me and it was very, very good,” said Loebsack.
The last sitting president to visit Oskaloosa was Theodore Roosevelt. He traveled to Oskaloosa in 1903 to dedicate Oskaloosa’s new YMCA building. He returned to Oskaloosa in 1912 as an ex-president on the campaign trail on the Bull Moose party ticket.