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Michelle Obama's East Wing draws hard boiled fire over Easter Egg Roll ticket switch


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!."


Is it possible there may have been a software glitch in addition to the other issues? I got many e mails from readers of my Obama food blog, all of whom had the same experience when trying to get tickets: They actually got on to the ticketing site after hours of trying, then were instructed to select a time and ticket number, but then were not allowed to proceed. One depressed reader who'd been trying all day even sent in a screen shot of the Easter Egg roll ticket site, with the words "we were not able to find that many tickets in that section" printed in red. He, like the other people who e mailed, kept trying different ticket number combinations, and finally got the screen that said tickets were no longer available. He was very depressed...the blogpost with the screen shot is here:

The spokesman states that only families from 41 states are coming to the egg roll festivities. Why not the 57 states that the president mentioned visiting during the campaign? Oh, right, he said he had not been to all of them yet. I wonder how many more he thought there were.

You know, all you people do is complain. There has been a change in the White House. New President, new first lady, new ideas, though you might not like them. Get a grip! And a life!

DiMc, thank you for that insightful bit of whimsical nonsense.

President Obama still won the election whether it is 57 states or 41. Therefore get over it.

I am combing the internet for information on getting tickets for military families. Any ideas?

I wrote a poem for my son who is serving in Kuwait thought you may enjoy:

if you've been once. give others a chance. people are just sooo selfish!!

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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 March 27, 2009 8:59 PM.

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