ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — President Barack Obama’s speech Wednesday was open to the public, but there was a limited number of tickets available.
Some people chose to brave the sub-zero weather to get a peek at the presidential motorcade as it whizzed through downtown St. Paul. But because it was so cold, many more simply gathered in the skyway near Union Depot to get a look.
Not all of those folks were supporters of Obama.
While there were no organized protests — the extreme cold may have played a role in that — I did talk to people who have strong concerns about Obama’s policies.
One of those people was Christopher Ottogeschke, who stood on the street corner near Union Depot, holding posters reading “socialism” and “This is not the change we wanted.”
“I do object to the healthcare bill and the way it was carried out,” Ottogeschke said. “I just wanted to express my mild discontent about the way things have been conducted these days, and let him know people still care.”
He says he doesn’t object to Obama’s push for more funding for transportation projects, but he is bothered by how much power the government seems to have.
“I’d like the freedom to do things for myself in terms of social security and health care,” Ottogeschke said “I believe I know better what’s for me than someone who’s far away who I can’t speak with or deal with.”
Sandra Dussart, who works a few blocks from Union Depot, says she worries about the president’s focus on poverty and his push to raise the minimum wage.
“I don’t like government control. I just really don’t,” she said. “I believe in capitalism. I believe in letting every man pull up his own boot straps.”
Citing Ronald Reagan, Ottogeschke also said that “there is no left or right, only up or down.”
“My concern,” he said, “is that things are going in the wrong direction, as opposed to forward in a positive manner.”
Everyone I talked with on the street near Union Depot Wednesday said they support the federal government spending more money to improve transportation and offer more options like the light rail line in the Twin Cities.