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Published: Saturday, 2/23/2008

Tickets for Obama event are hot item at eatery

BY MIKE SIGOV
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Obama
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<img src=http://www.toledoblade.com/graphics/icons/photo.gif> <b><font color=red>VIEW</b></font color=red>: <a href=" /apps/pbcs.dll/gallery?Avis=TO&Dato=20080219&Kategori=NEWS09&Lopenr=958318567&Ref=PH" target="_blank  "><b>Ohio primary '08 photos</b></a> Obama <br> <img src=http://www.toledoblade.com/graphics/icons/photo.gif> <b><font color=red>VIEW</b></font color=red>: <a href=" /apps/pbcs.dll/gallery?Avis=TO&Dato=20080219&Kategori=NEWS09&Lopenr=958318567&Ref=PH" target="_blank "><b>Ohio primary '08 photos</b></a>
RICK BOWMER / AP Enlarge

There was a human traffic jam yesterday morning in downtown Toledo as people streamed through the doors of the City Grill restaurant to get preferred tickets to hear Illinois Sen. Barack Obama speak this weekend.

The presidential hopeful is slated to appear at a "Keeping America's Promise" rally tomorrow afternoon at the University of Toledo's Savage Hall.

Just before 9 a.m., the crowd in the lobby of the restaurant, 421 North Huron St., which opened at 6:30 a.m., numbered about 30.

A short line was moving fast, but vehicles kept pulling up at the curb, dropping off passengers, and slowing traffic on Huron Street near Government Center.

"I am very happy and excited [to get the tickets]," said Joe Beckler, 58, director of real estate for the Lucas County Treasurer's Office.

Mr. Beckler stopped by to get four tickets for himself and his family members on his way to work, he said.

"Barack Obama is the most exciting candidate that we've had for many, many years. I would not miss this opportunity to hear him speak for anything," he said.

Andy Tisdale, 62, a retired Chrysler auto worker, said he drove downtown just to get a ticket.

"I just want to hear him speak," Mr. Tisdale said.

Some of the people getting tickets also were buying food from Jenny Beczynski, 42, the restaurant's kitchen manager.

"I'm a Hillary [Clinton] fan, so I did not get a ticket," Ms. Beczynski said with a smile. "But we sure sold a lot of food."

People were handed applications to vote early at the Lucas County Board of Elections office, just a block away. An Obama campaign official said the restaurant was chosen for the ticket distribution because of its close proximity to the elections office.

Doors to the Obama event open at 2:15 p.m. tomorrow. The program starts at 4:20 p.m.



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