Anatomy of a Frenzy: What Happens When Rumors of an Obama Visit Spread

Aug 25, 2010 5:32pm

ABC News' Jon Garcia reports: You probably can’t blame the folks on Martha’s Vineyard for getting maybe a bit over excited. They’ve been holed up in their cottages and inn rooms for the last four days, suffering through cold, driving rain on their likely expensive vacations. So you can probably blame the media. But they’ve been story and picture-starved as the President and First Family have remained mostly secluded at Blue Heron Farm, their waterside rental retreat. Which is why what happened shouldn’t have been a surprise when word got out that maybe — just maybe — an agent from the President’s security detail made a morning visit to Sweet E’s Cupcakes on Main St. in the town of Vineyard Haven.  Such visits may signal an impromptu visit by anyone from the First Family. First one TV camera appeared across the street. Then another. Soon half a dozen camera crews were set up. Passersby asked what’s happening.  “We think the President may be coming for cupcakes,” a cameraman said. Cell phones were dialed. Blackberries and iPhones were grabbed. Messages and tweets fly.
Within a half hour the crowd had swelled to several hundred. Traffic overwhelmed the lone beat cop who patrols around the intersection of State Rd and Main Street. Reinforcements were called in. (Well, one other Tisbury officer comes to help, effectively doubling the law enforcement presence.) And then word came from the reporters in the President’s motorcade. The cars are on the move, rolling in the general direction of Vineyard Haven. Tourists jumped up on cars for a better look, balconies above the street filled, sidewalks became overrun with crushed onlookers.  Cable news correspondents mingled in the crowd conducting interviews and taping stand ups.  Personal video cameras of all types were out and rolling. “Is Obama coming? Is Obama coming? Is Obama coming?” one hyper little girl asked her mother.  “Maybe,” mom replied tersely. “Wouldn’t it be funny if this was all for nothin’?” one of the Tisbury cops asked as he waved traffic along. Turns out he was right. The Obama’s went to lunch at Nancy’s — in Oak Bluffs — instead. Crestfallen, the crowd slowly dissipated back into the muggy midday lunch hour. — Jon Garcia

You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus