The White House had been ready for an unruly reception from opponents of overhauling health care. There was no sign of that, perhaps because of the makeup of the day's crowd or out of traditional deference for the president.Of course, to the clueless AP state-run media, there was nothing #fishy about this happenstance. But to anyone with a google search engine, the reasons were obvious:
Obama's push came amid a string of disruptive health care town halls nationwide that have overshadowed his message and threatened to derail support in Congress. Indeed, Republican-turned-Democratic Sen. Arlen Specter faced hostile questions, taunts and jeers earlier Tuesday as he tried to explain his positions at a town hall in Lebanon, Pa. Voter fears of a government takeover of health care were on stark display.
Some lawmakers, holding forums during Congress' August recess, have gone so far as to replace public forums with teleconferences or step up security to keep protesters at bay.
But the Democratic president faced no outbursts.
The encounter was so friendly, in fact, that by the end Obama was even asking for skeptical questioners to come forward — to no avail.
On Monday dozens of workers — including White House staffers — spent hours setting up the high school auditorium for Obama's forum, which is only open to those members of the public who secured tickets. Organizers would not disclose how many tickets were issued.Now here's the real 'laugh-a-minute' quote:
John Moran, 71, of Nottingham was among the many who went to the school to pick up tickets for an event marking Obama's first trip to the Granite State since he took office in January.
Moran, a Democrat, said he is a strong Obama supporter who was thrilled when he got a call notifying him that he would have two tickets for today's Town Hall forum.
The Nottingham resident said his wife — who will also be attending — was even more excited with the chance to see Obama live.
"She is really tickled. You should have seen her ... she was jumping up and down," Moran said.
Moran said he has a couple questions in mind if he is called on at the forum with one of them being how the president intends to get health insurance companies to work with him to reform health care.
He said he hopes Obama's plan will push for a more proactive approach to healthy living that involves coverage for preventive health care like screening and exercise.
Kathleen O'Brien, 64, and Jean Sanders, 66, both of Atkinson, said they will be sitting on stage for the event as they worked on Obama's campaign beginning in 2007.
On Monday they both went to the high school to pick up tickets and their excitement was more than evident.
"He is as good as everyone says he is. The last person I worked this hard for was Robert Kennedy," O'Brien said.
O'Brien wore an American flag-style scarf around her neck and a lanyard carrying several Obama pins.
She said she's read most of Obama's reform bill concerning health care, but still wants more information.
"I want to hear as much as possible about the plan," O'Brien said.
O'Brien and Sanders said they spent the weekend calling those who were selected in the lottery to receive tickets.
Sanders said some people sounded like they had just won a fortune when they were informed they would be able to attend the forum and hear Obama speak first-hand about his plan.
"It was unbelievable," Sander said.
O'Brien said she is sure many "hecklers" will be outside Portsmouth High School trying to derail reform, but she said anyone paying attention to the specifics of the plan will support what Obama is trying to do. She balked at those who say the plan is not in the best interest of senior citizens.
"He is actually protecting seniors," O'Brien said.
Now that's Astroturf you can believe in.