WASHINGTON--After a pitch perfect start, First Lady Michelle Obama's East Wing is facing a controversy involving hard boiled partisans.
The issue: changing the way tickets are distributed for the annual White House Easter Egg Roll, this year a nine hour affair starting at 8 a.m. Monday, April 13 on the South Lawn.
The switch to online distribution from standing in line all night on the Ellipse the weekend before the "roll" for first come first serve tickets touched a nerve with readers of my blog,(original March 23 post) triggering a passionate debate on a subject not inconsequential to many people across the country.
"Having camped out since my baby was born (he will be 4 this year) I must say I am disappointed that this administration is breaking with tradition. My sister-in-law and I brave the elements (two years ago it snowed on us) in excess of 24 hours to ensure our kids get to experience the Easter Egg Roll at the White House. Not everything in Washington is broken, Mr. President. Some traditions will be missed," "Mom in Maryland" posted on my blog.
Mrs. Obama wants to make the White House more accessible to people--she invited students to tend to a vegetable garden on the grounds, for example-- so letting folks from out-of town have a way to get tickets in advance for the Egg Roll and make travel plans seemed a non-controversial no brainer.
"Thanks you Mr. President and Mrs. Obama for thinking of this ideal of letting everyone across the USA having a chance to get tickets. I understand from the other comments that they perfer to camp out, but they must understand that other persons would love to have the chance of getting tickets," "Jackie" from Durham, North Carolina, said in her post.
A spokesman for Mrs. Obama said, "the online ticketing system has allowed us to reach families from 41 states interested in coming to the Easter Egg Roll. We even have a family from Alaska coming to the event."
I was told there will be a number of tickets set aside for local schools and military families and based on the uproar, there will probably be some demand for an explanation on how these tickets will be passed around.
Many people were frustrated with the White House Easter Egg Roll website.
Posted "Jenn" from Connecticut on Thursday, "I got four tickets at 2:15 pm! I have been on the pc all day! Keep trying!."