My Experience at the Presidential Debates in Myrtle Beach

January 11, 2008 by  
Filed under Opinion

It Sucked.

I was fortunate to have my ticket paid for by a campaign, so I was not out too much money. The evening began with my wife dropping me off at the event. The plan was for me to catch a ride back to the hotel after the debate. Around 8:05pm, I was walking through the multitudes of cops to meet with the campaign that was providing my ticket. After waiting 15 minutes, he gave the officers clearance to let me go across the street towards the convention center. I make my way around to the general admission entrance and get in line to get searched. I get to the metal detectors, empty my pockets, I have a cell phone and camera. I am told that I cannot take these items into the facility. I needed to find something to do with them. So I begin trying to walk over to the hotel and am stopped by the secret service. Where are your credentials? I was told to cross the street, you are clear. Officers respond, you cannot go any further. I asked where do I get a “credential”. The GOP is handing them out in front of the building. So I stepped outside, and like when I came in, there was no individuals there handing out credentials. So now I am screwed. I have cell phones (work and personal), a camera, no where to store them and no credentials.

So what’s my beef. Come to find out, if you were not at the facility by 8:30pm, you were screwed. By all accounts I was there at 8:25pm. According to Verizon Wireless. Not only that, if you came via cab or were dropped off and had cell phones & camera, you were screwed. I had not been notified of either of these 2 scenarios before arriving at the debate. I do not know who to fully blame, me, the SC GOP, or the campaign that provided the tickets. I was never provided this information before hand.

I was one of many pissed off Americans.  I know I witnessed at least 10 other people have the same problem I did.

Thankfully it’s winter and Myrtle Beach is pretty safe, and my kids had not fallen asleep yet. So I proceeded in calling my wife as I walked from the convention center, needless to say, cops were keeping a close eye on me. Walked three blocks down 21st ave to Ocean Blvd, and began walking north to eventually run into my wife to get picked up and return to the hotel.

I really couldn’t bring myself to watch the debate once I returned to the hotel room. If I couldn’t be there, and was pissed already, I didn’t want to watch it. My night ended on the balcony watching the fog come in from the ocean, a strawberry daiquiri, and jewel quest on my daughters Nintendo DS.

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  • Gammy

    I’m sorry you had such a rough night. I know it was a horrible dissapointment. I have heard that cell phones and camera’s were not allowed in other debates.
    Please don’t blame Fred or his supporters for the rules around the entry to the debates.

  • Mike’s America

    I would feel the same way you did. It’s sad that the necessary security in this day and age cannot be achieved without such inconvenience and annoyance to the general public.

    I had thought it would be nice if they held one of these debates on Hilton Head. (why should Myrtle Beach have all the fun.)

    Now, I’m not so sure.

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