George Bush comes to Marquette / ATicket
Steve Waller


On July 13th, 2004 President George W. Bush came to my home town, Marquette, population 20,000 located in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. While Michigan as a state voted Democratic in 2000, 12 of 15 districts in the Upper Peninsula voted Republican. Marquette county voted for Al Gore. The only other sitting president to visit Marquette was William Taft in 1911. Bush's visit was big news.

We in Marquette only received one week notice of the Presidential visit. Tickets were offered a few days before the event by the Republican party to anyone with a photo ID (no party affiliation required) who was willing to wait in line for a few hours. On the way to work I heard about the giveaway on the radio so I stopped to get in line for a ticket. I wasn't a Bush supporter, but this was a rare chance to see a president live, especially in a rural town like Marquette. We in line understood from radio reports that there would be 5,000 tickets distributed between two locations. I estimated that I was about number 1,200 in the line of 2,500 ticket seekers. Oddly, I didn't recognize anyone else in the line. These were a different circle of people than those I normally see in my modest town.

2.5 hours after I arrived, the line of people was told that there were only 150 tickets left. I was about 200 people away. I and 1,500 others went home without a ticket. Apparently they were only giving away 1,000 tickets instead of 2,500. A couple days later more tickets were available. I didn't try again.

Click the photos at left from top to bottom to see what happened.