Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Amber sees President Obama in Minneapolis September 13, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 4:53 PM
My daughter was "this close" to President Barack Obama during his Target Center rally in Minneapolis on Saturday afternoon.

Getting close to President Barack Obama during his Target Center rally in Minneapolis.

Amber, with her ticket to see the President.

Amber, with her ticket to see President Barack Obama at the Target Center.

AT ONE POINT, only five feet separated my oldest daughter, Amber, and President Barack Obama on Saturday.

She was among the estimated 15,000 gathered at the Target Center in Minneapolis for Obama’s whirlwind stop to promote his health care reform package.

I expect that at age 23, Amber wasn’t all that focused on the message, but on the speaker.

And who wouldn’t be thrilled to get that close to Obama? He’s the President, the most powerful man in the world, and simply being personally in his presence has to impress.

When Amber boarded the city bus in her south Minneapolis neighborhood around 9 a.m. Saturday for the ride downtown, I ‘m sure she wasn’t expecting to be seated on the bleachers behind the President. But a select group of ticket holders that included Amber and her friend Julie were red-stamped for spots on the bleachers.

They were handed mini-American flags, told to smile and also informed that their behavior would set the audience tone for the event.

Those instructions rankled me a bit, but I suppose if I was organizing the event, I would try to control crowd behavior too. Based on television news coverage, rally organizers got exactly what they wanted—a friendly reception from the Target Center crowd.

As hard as I looked for my daughter in the bleacher crowd, I never did spot her while watching television news coverage. But she was sitting there, behind and to the right of the President about half way up the bleachers.

Seated in the bleachers behind the President, Amber had a great view of Obama and the crowd.

Seated in the bleachers behind the President, Amber had a great view of Obama and the crowd.

The Presidential wave.

The Presidential wave.

Of all the photos Amber e-mailed to me, this is perhaps my favorite. The President. The American flag.Whatever your political persuasion, this image inspires.

Of all the photos Amber e-mailed to me, this is my favorite. The President. The American flag. Whatever your political persuasion, this image inspires.

The President working the crowd.

The President working the crowd.

President Barack Obama gets close to the crowd.

President Obama gets close to the people.

© Copyright 2009 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Photos courtesy of my daughter, Amber