Access was granted to the thousands of UCF students, faculty and general public who had been waiting in line for hours to enter UCF’s Memory Mall around 8 a.m., despite hearing the news that President Barack Obama, who was set to speak at the campaign event around 10 a.m., had canceled his appearance.
Rumors of his cancellation began spreading through the line around 7:30 a.m., and were confirmed following the opening of the event around 8 a.m.
Video of Bill Clinton speaking at UCF:
Former President Bill Clinton, U.S. Senator Bill Nelson, and former Florida Governor Charlie Crist still spoke at the event, to the relief of those waiting in theline that wrapped from Memory Mall to the UCF Reflection Pond on this particularly cold morning in Orlando.
“As a UCF student, I feel it’s important to come out and show support for events like this, and not only be involved in this year’s election, but see the speakers in person as well,” said Sydni Gonzalez, 21, a Senior, Creative Writing major at UCF. “How many times is a president going to be on our campus?”
Katrina Cann, 22, a graduate student at UCF pursuing a Masters in Counselor Education, voiced the same support for the campaign event.
“It’s important as students that we recognize that voting does affect us. Student loans, education, social platforms… these are all issues we need to be mindful of, and realize they affect us as students just like they affect everyone else.”
Former Governor Charlie Crist took the stage first, noting the president’s absence and cancellation as a necessity in light of Hurricane Sandy’s stormy forecast for the northeast. Crist engaged the crowd in a series of cheers, followed by a brief appearance by U.S. Senator Bill Nelson, and finally the welcoming of former President Bill Clinton.
“I was supposed to be the warm-up man, but that storm on the East Coast had other ideas, and it’s really going to be much worse than we thought,” said Clinton. “You guys would know; you live in Florida!”
Clinton touched on issues such as America’s budget, clean energy, and Medicare, as well student loans and education, all which gained loud cheers and applause from the college-heavy crowd.
“We fell from 2nd to 16th in the world in the percentage of young adults that are scared if they take out loans, they won’t be able to pay them back,” said Clinton. “With our plan, nobody will ever have to drop out of college again. “
After a 30-minute speech, Clinton exited the stage, staying several minutes after the event to shake hands with campaigners and supporters.
“Voting is a chance for your voice to be heard,” said Kierra Smith, 18, an Event Management freshmen at UCF. “If you don’t vote, you can’t complain.”
Wrap-up video of the rally, including exclusive interviews with former Florida Governor Charlie Crist and SGA President Cortez Whatley.