Preparing for a Presidential Visit

By: Nichole Vrsansky
By: Nichole Vrsansky

President George Bush's campaign trail leads to Janesville Friday. He's expected to meet about 1,500 party faithfuls at the Holiday Inn Express.

Residents are still in shock that the president will even be visiting their town. It's almost like a rock concert; t-shirts are flying off the shelves and what tickets there were are long gone.

“It’s just a fantastic mania feeling around here. Everyone’s really excited," says Rock County coordinator for the Bush/Cheney campaign, Susan Jacobson.

President Bush is coming to Janesville. Many of those lucky enough to make the ticket list were lined up early Wednesday morning making sure their ticket wasn't too good to be true.

"I was shocked, very shocked. I told my daughter and she was just jumping up and down," says ticket holder Michele Williams.

"I'm pretty excited. I've never really seen a president before," adds Bush supporter Chris Karstaedt.

President Bush will make his way to the Holiday Inn Express around 12:30 Friday afternoon, but Pearl Harbor survivor Stan Vanhoose is thinking of getting there Thursday night in hopes of scoring a front row seat.

"It'll be excitement. I've seen other presidents, but I'm really ambitious about this one because I think he's a good man for our country," says Vanhoose.

It's been more than 54 years since a sitting president has been to Janesville since Harry Truman back in May of 1950.

"He made a seven-minute stop in Janesville riding on a train from Madison to Chicago. A crowd of 5,000 gathered to get a glimpse of the president,” says reference librarian Laura Gottlieb.

Gottlieb says Truman uttered a mere four sentences then, thanking residents for greeting him, but come Friday President Bush is expected to say a lot more than that and these residents are ready to listen.

After the Janesville rally Friday, President Bush will take a bus trip to Racine for a late afternoon campaign appearance.


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