Life on the rope line: 10 minutes of Obama frenzy

Associated Press Modified: November 3, 2012 at 12:16 pm •  Published: November 3, 2012
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On any day that Obama travels, the handshakes and hellos typically start minutes after Air Force One touches down at an airport. In Cedar Rapids, Iowa, last month, a line of local Democrats and volunteers waited at the base of the staircase that was wheeled out to the presidential airplane as Obama's black Chevrolet Suburban SUV, decked out with American flags and the presidential decal on the passenger door, idled nearby.

"How's everybody doing?" the president called out to about 40 supporters. He walked up to 93-year-old Josie Scholtus, whose white, curly hair brushed against the collar of her coat.

"Hello! How are you?" Obama said, and then informed her, "I'm going to give you a kiss now," practically making Mrs. Scholtus blush. "Thank you so much. I appreciate you."

Few people get the opportunity. Back in Florida, Dale Shack, 67, and his wife, Joan, left their home in Coral Springs, Fla., at 6:30 a.m. to attend the midmorning rally here. Shack said he's been close to other candidates in the past — he cut his teeth as a campaign coordinator for Democratic presidential nominee George McGovern in 1972 in Monmouth County, N.J., and volunteered for Al Gore and John Kerry.

Shack said most of the people who pack these rallies are out in their neighborhoods every day, doing the daily door-to-door grunt work that makes a difference. So a presidential handshake can mean a lot.

"It's an historical moment in time. If I get a chance to shake hands and say hi, it means something," Shack said.

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Follow Ken Thomas at http://twitter.com/AP_Ken_Thomas

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