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OCTOBER 27, 2009 3:20PM

Pres. Obama Touches Down in Florida's Heartland

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A handful of Democratic women woke up this morning excited about our trip to see the President of the United States, Barack Obama.  Shortly thereafter, we were disappointed to read the headline in our local newspaper. Although he was passing near to the sleepy town of Arcadia, in the Heartland of Central Florida, President Obama's address would be delivered to a select group of attendees admitted by invitation only.

Hundreds of people were unhappy to learn that they could not hear the President speak after his tour of the newly opened DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center, currently the largest solar energy facility in the country.

In spite of this, many fans of the President chose to wait near the highway to watch the President's motorcade as well as catch a glimpse of the President.

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Under the Grand Live Oak Tree

Since we had planned to beat the crowd, we arrived with over an hour to spare.  We tried to flirt with the policemen and SS agent at the entrance to the road in effort to gain admittance. As sweet as we are, our best efforts did not win entrance for the four us....sigh.

In result, historic downtown Arcadia beckoned us to breakfast. The restaurant is located on Main St. in a nearly century old building nestled among antique shops and other remnants of Old Florida including the train station.

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So old there is only enough plumbing for a unisex bathroom...!

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Realtors taking a break from dealing with the Housing Sector -- we still smile from time to time! ;)

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Our waiter put up with us -- American Cheese Omelets or Poached Eggs with Corned Beef Hash, Grits and Publix Wheat Toast  $4.25. 

Bill for Four  $26.10 plus tip.

 Ambience -- priceless!

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Arcadia is blessed with many well-preserved historic buildings.

After breakfast we headed back to park a ways past the right wingers, who outnumbered the good guys by about three to two. Always the optimistic, I held that supporters were present  3 to 2, but the group's  eyeball concensus was that we needed to spread ourselves out in a longer line to make the President feel better about our turnout.

Unfortunately, the local right-wing didn't disappoint, turning up with home-made signs, lots of flags (though no Confederate ones) and patriotic garb. Two favorite protestors are included shown below.  (The second sign made us snort):

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President Obama's supporters were a lively happy crew. We had a great time for 20 minutes mingling while waiting for the motorcade:


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Friend Jean, with two fond Obama fans.


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First Prize -- Best Obama Gear

Dozens of police came from several surrounding counties, blocking off all  side roads with cars and motorcycles. They asked us to stay off the highway making photo ops a hard won fight, but all of our finest were courteous and pleasant -- kudos!!

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 Note Cool House with Metal Roof in Background -- Cracker Style!


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Finally, the helicopters began to fly overhead -- five in all were counted.  Next came the motorcade with one black armoured truck. 

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I figured the President was heavily guarded at all times, not just because it is deer hunting season. After all who knows what could be hiding up in those trees...I always like to think well of people in spite of what they call my beloved President. Some of their words and thoughts are not nice or true...

I am the only one who thought that the President landed directly at the solar plant in this helicopter which flew out ahead of the motorcade:

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 I hope I am right as I want President Obama to always be safe.

There are more people than one might believe in Central Florida that love our President. It warms my heart to see them:

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I love our Obama, too, Litte Ones.  I hold him in my heart and pray for his success. Today, I added another tiny prayer:  May these darling babies grow up to live in a more happy, loving and tolerant world. And may solar energy take its rightful place as the sensible energy solution for the Sunshine State.





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What a lovely prayer to end a great post !

I grew up in the area, my folks live in the next town north on the interstate, so I enjoy seeing there are "good guys" in the area! (Not just my friends ... )

I'm also glad to see DeSoto county on the fore front of the clean energy industry. Excellent !!
Yes, Leslie, I was SUPER sorry not to hear him speak. I could barely sleep hoping that we would get close enough to see him.

Karin -- nice to meet you! Are you from Brownville (we just saw that sign today -- is there a downtown)? Or Zolfo Springs or Wachula? Anyway, you are correct that it is so nice to be around other Obama supporters, as well as for DeSoto County to be so cutting edge! I am a huge fan of solar energy, especially for Florida. Although today was overcast, that is unusual -- we have mostly sunny days here (as you know)!
I enjoyed this post. It combines savvy political commentary and travel narrative in a very entertaining manner. Too bad you weren't able to see or hear the president, but it sounds like a good time. And even though you didn't get very close, at least you, and especially Obama's opponents, weren't herded off to some "protest zone" or "demonstration zone" or whatever they called those places under the previous administration.
yay for you! you are a beacon in the midst of that most unusual of states Lisa...thanks so much for this.
I can't help but notice the pro Obama babe is a lot hotter than the Fox news banjo plucker. Ooo, I'm a mean guy.
Thanks, Barry and Steve. I really wanted to tell the story as we experienced it. We didn't get a pic of the SS agent and officers on the road to the plant. Other than that, you are hearing and seeing as if you were there...;)

ONerv, I would agree with you, but I am trying to play nice...:)
Bummer you couldn't see him. One of my daughters got to see him at UC Santa Barbara up close and personal. She said he was amazing. I got to hear him at Invesco Field when he accepted the nomination...fantastic even though I needed binoculars. Sounds like a great day see all the great support (I'm ignoring the anti-obamaers in your post). Thanks Lisa!
Lisa, you brought a tear of pride to my eye!
Florida isn't at all what people often expect.
Thank you for representing us so beautifully!

(thumbified for the Floridian Waitstaff Harassment Brigade)
Is that lady holding the sign that says "Fox for Truth" implying that SHE's a fox looking for the truth?

I'm glad you were there to hold up our end of the Obama-meter.
Mary, like so many of his supporters, he really makes you want to be close enough to "feel the energy". I was a little disappointed, but wil live...
Thanks, Gwen, and SKW, I don't know about that sign -- they just LOVE Fox News down here -- Glenn Beck is king.... sigh...Truth is in the eye of the beholder just as is being a fox...;)

Jodi, after today, I felt like you, that I wanted to show our "better side". The MSM, apparently by design, can only present the sensational. I am happy to present the wonderful side of Floridians. It makes me feel better to know that I am not alone...
Wow, Lisa! How did you get this post out so fast!? And what a great job you did on it to. Fantastic! Imagine my surprise when I woke this morning and the newspaper said the event was closed to the public. I wonder if safety concerns were a problem? No bother. The world is not perfect and Desoto is definitely hostile territory. Plus I know the threw this together on the fly as it wasn't a scheduled stop until just recently.
I hope it gets the message out that solar is a viable alternative to other forms of generating electricity. How much more do people have to see?

You got some great shots and gave some kudos to Arcadia on top of it all. The Fox News for truth girl looks like she wouldn't know the truth if snuck up and bit her on the ass. I know. That was mean. You can delete me if you want to. (snicker) Congrates on the EP, too!
Michael, I was back by two o'clock and sat right down to get it out. It wouldn't be as interesting tomorrow or the next day, plus I am heading out of town tomorrow for the entire day. Super busy week for me!

My camera battery ran out, so I had to use Jean's camera. I wish I had brought my camera with the wide-angle lens, but that is OK, I guess. It was a lot of fun today, spending time with agents from other offices. Nice change of pace. Thanks for your compliments, I really enjoyed your post which I intened to link. Off I go, to do so!
Michael's post on Arcadia is linked in this post under "historic downtown Arcadia".
"We love our Obama!" How precious! I have prayed for him to be safe down there.
Great story! I love the pictorial stitched with words.

We Heart Our Obama. Amen and Hallelujah!
Yes, Connie and Zuma --> We Heart Obama!

I adored those little cherubs and their lovely mama! :)
What a great piece, Lisa. I love all of the photos you've included and especially your prayer for a better future. Congrats on the well-deserved EP, too.
Nice post! Arcadia is hardly more than a wide spot in the road, but it's an important destination for people who like to have electricity in their homes. I have a friend there who works for the power company, making electricity the old fashioned way. It's good to see the solar panels sprouting up in the rural outlying areas producing clean power for thousands of homes.
Thanks, Lisa and Jamie. I had the pleasure of watching some clips of his speech and tour of the facility courtesy of The Rachel Maddow Show. If I am not mistaken, 3.4 billion dollars of stimulus money is going to be (or has been awarded) for more energy technology such as this plant. Since this one cost about $150 million, that 3.4 billion could go a long way. Thanks, Pres. Obama!
Wonderful post. You really captured the flavour and meaning of the event.
Really enjoyed that. Thanks.
Those meanies in the first two pics look like they are performing the NAZI salute. Coincidence? I think not.
Wonderful post with intelligent comments. I don't often see such positive items coming from your country.
Thanks, Emma and Sam.
Ron, I think more people believe what I wrote, but the MSM misrepresents the majority.
Ablonde, you are right, but that is what passes for a wave. When they say me snapping pictures they truly wanted to be photographed. After all, the right wing is all about publicizing their bizarre ideas...
What an uplifting blog post! I'm a friend of Jean's and a strong Obama supporter in Lake Placid. Wish I could have been there since it was my birthday, too! Let's keep fighting the good fight. Thanks for posting.
Thanks, Cswift -- any friend of Jean's is a friend of mine! Wish you could have been there, Happy Belated Birthday!