Sept. 5, 2012 -- A pair of teenagers volunteered for 18 hours on the Obama campaign this summer to earn their golden tickets to President Obama's big speech at the Bank of America stadium Thursday night.
Today Madeline Frank, 16, and her brother Koby, 14, were told they've been disinvited and their tickets are no longer valid because the location of Obama's speech was moved from the 73,000 seat open air Bank of America Stadium to the smaller TimeWarner Cable Arena, which can hold about 21,000. The move was made because of a forecast of rain and thunderstorms.
"I've been looking forward to this for a really long time," Madeline Frank of Charlotte, N.C., said today. "I am just feeling really let down and like bummed. It was kind of my dream to see him speak, so definitely really sad."
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Although she isn't old enough to vote, Madeline knocked on doors and canvassed her neighborhood for nine hours so she could see the president when he came to her hometown Thursday because she wanted to be part of the excitement in her city. The Obama campaign's "9-3-1" plan offered volunteers one ticket to Thursday's event in exchange for giving nine hours of their time over three days.
"I definitely feel like they should not have promised all these people tickets if there was a chance that we couldn't actually use them," Frank said.
She says a conference call, as the Obama campaign is planning for Thursday with President Obama for those sidelined, won't make up for actually being there.
"It's so different than being there and being in there and seeing the excitement to hear him speak. It doesn't really make up for it."
Her mother shares her disappointment, as she was looking forward to watching the speech, soaking in the spirit and excitement of the stadium with her children, especially after they worked so hard to earn tickets for the family.
"We were really disappointed," their mother Cynthia Frank said. "I hope we get a personal invitation to the White House out of it to make up for the tickets... I'm holding my breath. I'll be holding it for awhile."
The Obama campaign said today they will work to ensure that people unable to attend the speech due to the location change will be invited to see the president between now and Election Day.
They would not divulge what sort of event would be organized to make up for the abrupt change of plans.
People streamed in and out of a DMC office today, confused about the change of venue and what that would mean for their Thursday night tickets. Volunteers outside said they were breaking many hearts by relaying information that it would mean most who held tickets would now not see their tickets honored.
Arthur Jack flew down from Detroit to see Thursday night's address. He says that while he was able to get in to see First Lady Michelle Obama's speech last night his week will not be complete without seeing the president on Thursday.
"The whole trip would have been for nothing," Jack said today, adding that with his now useless ticket he'll have to watch from his cousin's home in Charlotte instead. "It's a letdown for sure."
Other once-ticket holders, suddenly with their Thursday night free said they'd watch now on TV or with a group at a bar instead.
And some were still hopeful that even in addition to the conference call the campaign would come up with some other plan last minute.
Carol Harding of Winston Salem, N.C. suggested, "Now that everything at the stadium is arranged, how about an impromptu, spontaneous Friday morning function? "
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