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Obama Grant Park election night rally "tickets" really data bonanza for Obama machine

| 35 Comments

NORFOLK, VA.--- The Obama campaign, by requiring tickets for the election night rally in Grant Park, is using the event to collect names and contact data to be used for future voter contact, fund-raising and political or issue organizing. That will let Obama, win or lose the White House next week, build on what are already the most valuable political lists in the nation to use to help his causes and candidates.

One of the ways the Obama campaign has built its mailing lists for its relentless voter contact efforts is through requiring tickets for events, with i.d. information needed to get a ticket. One of the values of having Oprah Winfrey appear at rallies for Obama during the early Democratic primaries was harvesting voter contact information from the information people had to submit in order to get tickets. Requiring tickets--and giving a priority to volunteers and VIP treatment to donors--there is an entire high end VIP donor election night program--is another way for the Obama Machine to squeeze more out of the event.

Mayor Daley is estimating one million people may swarm to Grant Park on Nov. 4, tickets in hand or not. Top Obama strategist David Axelrod told me the million number was a "random'' pick.



BY FRAN SPIELMAN

Sun-Times City Hall Reporter

Mayor Daley predicted today that more than a million people would descend on Grant Park for Barack Obama's election night "celebration" -- but that was before the Obama campaign disclosed that only those with tickets would be allowed to attend.

The surprise announcement was made in an e-mail to Obama's Illinois supporters -- people who have made donations, worked in phone banks, traveled to battleground states to campaign for Obama or signed up to receive e-mail updates from the campaign.

Crews are working to set up for the Obama election night rally at Hutchinson Field in Grant Park.

Those interested in attending the election night rally in Grant Park can sign up online to be on the waiting list at Democrats.org.

It informs Obama supporters that the "gates" to Hutchinson Field in Grant Park would open at 8:30 p.m. on Nov. 4, but only to those with tickets who show photo IDs. An attached ticket application asks for name, address, e-mail and phone number.

"An official printed ticket is required for entrance. Each official printed ticket is valid for the ticket holder and one guest," the e-mail states.

"You must sign up using the form. . . . Your official printable ticket will be e-mailed to you prior to the event. One request per person. Duplicate requests from the same name will be rejected. For security reasons, do not bring bags. Photo ID is required. Please limit personal items. No signs, banners, chairs or strollers allowed."

The decision to require tickets is designed to bolster security, but it's almost certain to reduce attendance.

Earlier today, Daley predicted that more than a million would attend the $2 million Obama extravaganza.

"Everybody's talking about it. It's gonna be surprising. There's gonna be a lot of people who will want to come down and celebrate. . . . We hope it's a million or more. It would be wonderful," Daley said.

Daley bristled when asked if people would be screened before entering Grant Park.

"We're not gonna be screening people going to the park. You'll be here for the next two weeks. You just can't do it," he said. "That is not us. No, no. We don't screen anybody in the park. No. That is up to the Secret Service."

Kristina Schmidt, a spokeswoman for the Chicago field office of the U.S. Secret Service, refused to comment on the agency's plans for the Obama rally.

She would only say, "Any event that is covered by the Secret Serviice for a [presidential] nominee is typically secured and swept prior to the arrival of the protectee. That's standard procedure."

The Chicago Sun-Times reported this week that the Chicago Police Department's retired resident expert on security planning, has been brought back on contract to quarterback logistics for the Obama rally.

Neil Sullivan will be paid by the city's Office of Emergency Management and Communications at a rate of $100 an hour with a $60,000 cap.

Today Daley called that money well-spent -- even as the city is laying off 929 city employees, eliminating 1,346 vacancies, slowing police hiring and raising parking and amusement taxes to erase a $465 million shortfall.

"For an event like this, you need some of the experts that you want. You don't fool around with this," he said.

Especially not one day after federal authorities broke up a plot by a pair of white supremacists identified as neo-Nazi skinheads to go on a national killing spree ultimately targeting Obama.

"Everybody should be concerned. You have to be concerned. When you get a million people, that's a lot of people. You better be concerned.

35 Comments

My understanding is that people with tickets (who, by the way, worked hard and deserve a chance to celebrate) will be allowed into Hutchinson Field - where the actual event will be staged but that the entirety (balance) of Grant Park will be open to the public in general.
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I hope that this event is well organized and has proper security and management. I'm expecting a huge turnout.

Could someone please clear us up about the Obama rally. On the one hand we have Daley saying come on out and bring your family, he hopes a million people show up. On the other hand, we have the Obama campaign saying you need a ticket, there are no tickets left, and if you don't have a ticket you can't come. Which is it? What happens if we show up without a ticket? Is there something happening outside of Hutchingson Field for the rest of us who weren't lucky enough to be one of the first 30,000 to ask for a ticket? Does the city plan to turn away a million people or have them wandering around aimlessly? What is the story?

There is no link for sign up on democrats.org

How do I sign up?

I pray to get a ticket, Thank you !!!

Lynn Sweet wrote the way to gain entrance "is through requiring tickets for events, with i.d. information needed to get a ticket." This is only partially true. I just requested a ticket last night and only had to give my name, which the Obama campaign already has because I've been working it. Also, I just checked a few minutes ago and there are no more tickets left for this event.

Dear Obama's rally organizers, I would like to attend the rally that will take place at Hutchinson Field. However I am disabled and would like to know if there is going to be special accomodations or if disabled persons are going to be let in first. I am not in a wheelchair but I do have paralysis in my right leg and cannot stand for a long time. I would also like to know if indeed I am one of the extremely lucky one to get a ticket,if I am allow to bring my chair. Thankyou so very much and I really hope to be blessed with a ticket.

Yolanda Silva

Dear Rally Organizers:

I am writing to request a ticket to the Sen. Barack Obama Grant Park/Hutchinson Field Rally. I will be on a walker and would like to bring a canvas folding chair

Theresa Fambro Hooks
(312) 225-2400

Not sure what is meant when you say the balance of Grant Park will be open in general. Will there be something happening in the rest of Grant Park? Will there be big screens perhaps broadcasting the event (that would be cool). If not, then people will be just standing around without knowing what's going on. Does anyone know anything about the legistics of this thing. We'd like to know what we have in store for us before we brave our way downtown.

The only way to get a ticket is via email from the campaign. They are only emailing tickets to those who have signed up as campaign donors or supporters, and therefore have previously submitted their personal info. I don't see the point you're trying to make.

The only way to get a ticket is via email from the campaign. They are only emailing tickets to those who have signed up as campaign donors or supporters, and therefore have previously submitted their personal info. I don't see the point you're trying to make. Please explain

Here is the link to the waiting list

http://www.democrats.org/page/s/enightwaitlist

I see nothing wrong with the Obama campaign requiring some control for what could turn into major chaos. My request for tickets was put on a waiting list, unfortunately. Hopefully, something will become available. Either way, I will celebrate; at Hutchinson Field, with friends at home or at neighborhood social establishment. I cannot wait!

I think the campaign and the city should open up alternative viewing areas like at wriggley park or the sox stadium. If we want the olympics here we need to show the world how its done.

This is garbage, I've supported and voted for this man since he was running for U.S. Senate, given him money more than once, and because I don't go on my computer one given night, I don't get a ticket to the rally and have to sign up on some waiting list. I really hope this isn't a harbinger of things to come. The Obama campaign has betrayed and backstabbed all the people who've worked their asses off for him and just want to celebrate his (hopefully) victory. Just a little message to Barack, it's not all about you and by requiring tickets that aren't available to come support you, well you've managed to piss off a die hard supporter. It took awhile but as someone whose stood by your candiancy through thick and thin, this is absolute garbage.

First, can someone PLEASE answer the question: will the non-ticket holders be able to stand in Grant Park and be a part of the celebration? I have heard there will be projection screens displaying Barack's speech.

What time did tickets "sell-out"? And, while I don't agree with this, for those hoping to get in, people are selling their guest pass on Craigslist. But be prepared to shell out hundreds of dollars that WON'T go to the Obama campaign; that money is going straight into the greedy ticket holder's pockets.

The point you try to make is moot: ONLY those people who have contributed and/or worked for the campaign will be getting tickets: and WE have already provided all our contact info. Gladly.

Nothing nefarious or underhanded there. Sorry.

Has anyone even considered the possibility, however slight, of 1,000,000 partying obamanics getting the word about 1 AM Wednesday that McCain won? Think I'll stay home and watch on TV.

THEY WON'T HAVE TO WAIT THAT LONG, WITH EARLY
VOTING AND OBAMA WINNING SO-CALLED RED STATES,
THIS ELECTION WILL BE CALLED EARLY, RUSH STREET
LOOK OUT, OBAMAMANIA IS COMING YOUR WAY!
BARACK OBAMA IN A LANDSLIDE!
MCCAIN WAS TO OLD, TO SLOW, AND HE SHOULD HAVE
NEVER SELECTED A VP CANDIDATE THAT WAS MENTALLY
CHALLENGED TO BE ON THE TICKET!

Obama wants to require an ID to get a ticket to his rally but you do not need an ID to vote?

WHERE I VOTED YOU DID NEED AN I.D.!
EVERYONE SHOULD HAVE AN I.D. ANYWAY, EITHER A
DRIVER LICENSE OR A STATE I.D.!
EVEN THE PEOPLE THAT SELL STREET WISE NEWSPAPERS
HAVE AN I.D.!
I HOPE YOU HAD AN I.D. ERV?
OBAMA IN A LANDSLIDE, HE WAS THE BETTER CANDIDATE,
HE IS MORE ORGANIZED, HE HAS TAKEN EVERYTHING
MCCAIN AND HIS GIRLFRIEND THREW AT HIM AND HE IS
STANDING MORE TALL THAN THE BEGINNING OF THE
CAMPAIGN!
HE HAS FDR, JFK, LBJ, LINCOLN, MLK, HE IS TRUE
FIGHTER AND HE IS A SMART MAN!
WE DON'T NEED ANYMORE MARGINAL GUYS IN THE WHITE
HOUSE!

This entire event is reminiscent of 'Willy Wonka' and the search for the Golden Ticket.

It's a shame that some hard working volunteers and contributors did not receive a ticket. It's equally upsetting that guess passes are being sold for hundreds of dollars to anyone who will pay. From what I understand, only the main ticket holder was required to provide contact information and donation/volunteer services. Was the guest also required to provide contact information via the on-line request form? Or can the ticket holder bring anyone? Perhaps some people will be generous and bring those who could not get a ticket.

PATTY YOU ARE CRYING OVER SOUR GRAPES!
THAT'S WHY OBAMA RUNS GREAT EVENTS, THOSE WHO
CHOOSE TO SELL THEIR FREE TICKETS SHOULD BE
ASHAMED OF THEMSELVES, OBAMA HAD TO GIVE OUT
TICKETS, THE SECRET SERVICE IS HANDLING SECURITY
AND THE OBAMA CAMPAIGN IS PAYING FOR EVERYTHING!
THANKS FOR SUPPORTING BARACK OBAMA, PATTY!

I hate to say it, (be cause he types in nothing but caps - and that means he can't stop yelling), but I have to agree with Phil here. It's not about people feeling entitled to tickets for such an event, it's about security.
Whether elected or not, the election night festivities should not be open to everyone and anyone - that would be to invite any number of disasters. For God's sake, how many attempts, (successful and not-so), have there been on the lives of such figures. This is so fundamentally the right choice.
If you don't have a ticket, but you want to go down anyway, walk down anyway. That's what I, my wife, our dog, and our friends will all be doing. Get as close as you can - but do expect that there is an area that will be cordoned off, it's only reasonable.

wow, people really need to calm down! there will be tons of places in the city to celebrate...even if you don't get a ''ticket''...obviously not every supporter will get a ticket...don't take it personally.

Phil,

I am not sure you are aware of it, but typing an online message, or IM or email in caps is the virtual equivalent of yelling. You may want to turn your caps button off.

I volunteered for this campaign, attempted to throw a massive fundraiser for it and despite my paycheck to paycheck financial status made donations. I was lucky enough to have my email open at the time that the invitation for the rally went out and as a result was sent an email verifying that I would be awarded a ticket. I plan on attending with other friends who also volunteered for this campaign.

I have heard more naysaying about the "danger" I will be in than ever before in my life. One of my closest friends has a parent who works for Jewel Food Stores in Orland Park and they received a letter stating that they would not be selling gasoline or lighter fluid on Nov. 4th and providing them with a hotline number in the case of a riot.

What is the world coming to? How have we found ourselves living under this cloud of negativity. I personally have supported Barack's campaign because I have been moved by his message of optimism and his sense of public responsibility. It is my prayer that on Tuesday he wins the election and he can lead our country back to a place of hope.

I do have a tcket but i want to know if attending the celebration will require standing around for hours?

Quick question for all of you that say you have been awarded tickets to the Obama event. I too was lucky enough to be sitting at my computer with my email open at the exact time that the Campaign sent out their invitation to this event. Of course, I promptly signed up submitting my request for a ticket roughly 10 minutes after. Immediately, I received a confirmation e-mail that said, "This is not a ticket. This email confirms that you have signed up to receive an election night even ticket. You will receive further ticketing information in the coming days". My question is, Have those of you that say you have been awarded tickets actually received them in your e-mail yet? At this time (late Sat. evening) I havn't received anything (tickets or more info) and I'm wondering if they are even coming at all.

I just got my confirmation email today that I'll be getting a ticket monday night!

JB-- today I received an e-mail that says my ticket will be e-mailed tomorrow between 6 and 7 p.m.

I received my confirmation email today too!

For those who DO NOT HAVE TICKETS: Yes, you can still attend! There is a gated area for "ticket holders" but the rest of the park will be open, you'll just be outside of the main area. Here is the link where I got my info, an excellent Q&A. They also had information for disabled people and how they will be accommodated. See you all there!!
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/politics/obama/chi-obama-rally-qanov02,0,5894064.story

I signed up for tickets as soon as I received the invitation, and I got the 'good' email. (Not the 'wait list' one, but the one that said I had signed up to receive tickets and would receive information in the coming days.) I took that to mean that I had signed up on time and I would be getting tickets. However now I see that people received emails confirming their tickets on Sunday night, and I got no such email. Is anyone else in this boat? How do I know if I'm getting tickets?

Some folks need to be a little more realistic. If Obama had his election night rally at a hotel, the space would likely only accomodate 10%-20% of those lucky ticket holders attending the Grant Park gala. He's done his best to include as many as possible - the rest of the park is open to those of us without tickets.

Remember also that security is a factor.

I also signed up immediately and received the confirming email, but have not (yet) been told when they would be mailed out...so far.

My name is Katie Shannon and I have never voted
befor,but for some reason I felt like I needed to vote this year and I did. The reason I voted is to show my eight year old gandbaby that know matter who you are or where you come from you can be whatever you wont to be.So I am asking for one ticke so I can be there to support my new president Obama and to show my gandbaby when she get of age. So if I was to recive this ticke it would give me and better undrestanding and be able to educate my garandchild more on life so that she can see that its not and game or saying when pople say you can be what you wont if you put you mind and heart into it.Thank you for taking time out of your everyday life and reading my letter and may God blesse you.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on October 29, 2008 8:45 AM.

Obama cranking up charismatic heat was the previous entry in this blog.

Obama today: focus on North Carolina, Florida retail, the nation, wholesale in 30 minute infomercial. Six days is the next entry in this blog.

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