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Raw DS Article: The Perfect Campaign Stop Guide to Grand Forks

April 5, 2008

It’s hard to believe that Grand Forks has been selected to play host to such a historical/hysterical occurrence of having both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton swoop in, visit our fair city for an hour and a half, and make their best attempt to leave without awkwardly running into one another like a former drunken-hookup. What I fear most about these visits is that by only making their way to and from the Alerus Center they are missing out on the full Grand Forks experience. In honor of the historical magnitude of their impending visit, I’m leaving my political beliefs aside. Instead, I present to you the ideal daylong visit to our fair city by both Barack and Hillary.

8:00AM: Hillary, Barack and their wide array of staff members, press and associated hangers-on arrive in Fargo. They were going to fly into Grand Forks, but they decided that spending four hours in Minneapolis wasn’t worth it and the tickets were $400 more expensive to fly here. Members of the North Dakota State Patrol and Secret Service escort their motorcade up I-29, slowing down only to wave at Hillsboro as they drive by.

9:00AM: Barack and Hillary arrive in Grand Forks. Their motorcade makes their way to Denny’s on the south end of town where they meet Marilyn Hagerty for breakfast. They discuss senior healthcare, social security and the history of Grand Forks. Marilyn notes in a later column that “BO and HC enjoyed their fluffy eggs and runny sausage immensely.”

10:30AM: The group heads downtown for a tour of the area with mayor Mike Brown and the City Council. Hillary remarks that downtown is “much drier” than she remembers it the last time she was there in 1997.

11:15AM: The group splits up. Barack woos Democrats and Republicans alike at a town-hall meeting by unveiling his “5 Point Plan to Get Olive Garden to Come to Grand Forks.” Hillary Clinton hosts a book signing at the North Dakota Museum of Art for her book It Takes a Village, writing “it takes a Grand City” with every signature.

12:30PM: Barack and Hillary reconvene at the Red Pepper for a $1000 a grinder fundraising luncheon. Three people attend, two of whom are college students too hungover to realize they just overpaid for their sandwiches until hours later.

1:50PM: Both candidates reach out to younger voters by getting stuck in traffic on University Avenue. Even with large limousines and a police escort, students walk out into the middle of the street without looking both ways.

2:00PM: The entourage makes stops at the Engelstad Arena, Barnes and Noble, the Wellness Center, the Memorial Union, takes a snack break at the To Go Café in Wilkerson Hall, and finishes their campus tour at Odegard Hall, where Hillary mistakenly corners a group of international contract students from China to espouse on her universal healthcare plan.

2:30PM: Obama stops into Gamma Phi Beta to thank them in advance for not offering to host a party in his honor. He also uses this time and the location of the house near the coulee as a photo opportunity. Pictures from the event are posted on Facebook almost immediately thereafter.

3:30PM: Motorcade departs UND and promptly gets stuck for 20 minutes behind a train crossing 42nd Avenue.

4:00PM: Group arrives at the Alerus Center for the state Democratic-NPL convention.

5:00PM: Fundraising dinner catered by UND Dining Services. Items on the menu include Chicken Strips of Fire, UND Cheese Soup and Monster Cookies. Surly attitude from the catering staff not included.

5:30PM: Obama speaks, people listen. Other people don’t. Some couldn’t care either way and are there for the free food.

8:00PM: Hillary speaks, people listen.

8:30PM: Attendance figures for the convention are released. State residents react with amazement that this power duo still comes second to that one record-breaking concert with Cher. Hillary vows that as president, she will appoint a commission to investigate how that concert still holds the attendance record for the Alerus Center.

9:00PM: Barack and Hillary compete in the first round of the World Curling Championships at the Engelstad. While there, Al Gore makes a special appearance, promising to stop global warming so the “quality of the world’s curling facilities” would not be in jeopardy.

10:00PM: After a long day of campaigning and meeting the locals, both candidates make the long drive back south to Fargo, where their campaign aircraft await to whisk them back to civilization.

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