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Thursday, October 4, 2012

 1:43 PM 

Students, Wisconsin voters pack Bascom in anticipation of Obama

President Obama isn't expected to speak for another two hours or so, but Bascom Hill is already filled up on the UW-Madison campus.

A few notes ahead of time:

-A group of pro-life protesters occupied Library Mall with signs of showing aborted fetuses.  One woman with the group shouted at passersby, "You're going in there for a man who kills children. You're just as guilty." Most students either bypassed the protesters or yelled back, such as one woman who yelled in response, "You've obviously never been pregnant."

-Before the doors opened, the line for spectators wrapped around the length of Observatory Drive, with most arriving around 10 a.m. or earlier.

-While the majority of those in attendance seen to be UW students, some have traveled from other parts of Wisconsin to be here. Shenai Lamar, who lives in Janesville, was decked out in a homemade sweatshirt showing her support for Obama and hometown pride. She said she wanted to show people that not everyone in Janesville, the hometown of GOP VP candidate Paul Ryan, supported him. She also said that she hoped Obama would talk more about equality and women's rights than he did in the debate Wednesday night.

-While attendees wait for speakers and, ultimately, President Obama, they are being entertained by Mama Digdown's Brass Band, a local group shown in the picture to the right.

-It's still early, but a few notable Democrats have been spotted in the audience, including state Sen. Jon Erpenbach. Speakers before Obama are expected to include U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin, 2nd CD candidate Mark Pocan and outgoing U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl.

-- By Jason Smathers


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