President Clinton at the Glendale Galleria

by Dennis Doyle
Read and answer the questions at the end of the article.

It all started with an article in the Glendale News-Press about the possibility of President-to-be Bill Clinton visiting the local Glendale Galleria. It was set to be on November 28, 1992 on the busiest shopping day of the year. He would walk through and greet and talk to people while he was shopping himself. Earlier in the day, he would have a meeting with former-president Ronald Reagan in his offices in Century City. A second article in the News-Press pretty much confirmed that it was going to happen, so I decided to bring my family to see this historic event.

Only two other presidents had made official visits to Glendale (Gerald Ford and Ike) and they were both Republicans. Nixon had visited Glendale when he was running for governor. Only one other Democratic president had even won in Glendale and that was Franklin D. Roosevelt. Clinton edged Bush in Glendale by about 95 votes. Perot had drawn about 9,000 votes that would probably have gone to Bush.

We got to the Galleria early at about 11:30 am. He was scheduled to arrive about 1:30. We thought that we could do a little casual shopping before the event. That was impossible. There were already thousands of people lined up along all of the balconies and in all the places where people thought that he would be. There were stages set up at various locations for the T.V. camera crews. There were hundreds of Clinton volunteers with little red and green and yellow credential tags running around and looking important. We bumped into my sister-in-law and her mother and brother and we took turns guarding a good spot which was supposed to be a store on Clinton's list. They held the space while I took the kids down to the food court to get burgers and and hot dog on a stick.

When we got back, my wife took the youngest on a trip to the bathroom. The lines were even worse there. There were more people in that Galleria than I had ever seen in my life.

After hours of waiting, a Clinton volunteer came by and said that there were too many people and that the Secret Service was going to clear the people out of our area. A few discouraged people left, but we stayed. We didn't wait for 2 hours to be told to go away. My mother-in-law said that she wouldn't go until someone with a gun came and told her to leave. That proved to be a good strategy. Nobody else came and told us to go. Hurray for mother-in-laws!

Finally, a shout came up from the south end of the mall. Clinton was in the building. We could hear him greeting and talking to people as he walked around. He had a wireless mike on his lapel. People were shouting like he was a movie star. The crowd was calling "Bill! Bill! Bill!. We want Bill!". Everytime he would come into view of another crowd, the shouting would start up again. He stopped briefly in front of the J.C.Penny's store where the manager gave him a jogging outfit. He threw a football around in a sporting goods store.

As he came down to where we were which was on the second floor near the Sees Candy store, the secret service men came and made sure that most of us stood back behind the lines. One called out, "Let me see everyone's hands" and we all showed him our hands. He said "keep your hands out of your pockets." I suppose that he was looking for weapons.

The media people came through first, running ahead of the presidential party, getting in position for taking pictures or collecting a sound-bite. Next came a row of the biggest and tallest policemen who work for the city of Glendale. Next came a procession of secret service men. You could recognize them because they were mostly very tall humorless young guys in badly-fitting suits, short haircuts and little earphones stuck in their ears. Finally Bill Clinton came through himself, flanked by four older-looking agents. He was very friendly and reached out and shook as many hands as he could. I shook his hand and so did my wife and all of my children. I remember thinking that he may have shaken 10,000 hands that day.

He went into a inlay-wood shop right next to where we were standing and he spent about five minutes in the shop. The people in the store presented Mr. Clinton with an inlay-wood graphic of an eagle, and he returned the compliment by actually buying some items. People snapped pictures as he looked at one item and then another. He picked up the eagle picture and showed it to the crowd which applauded heartily. When he came out, he shook more hands and walked on down the way toward the See's Candy shop. We lost track of him after that. There was a terrific press of people who were following his group. When they passed, the crowd thinned and we went on and spent the rest of the day shopping.

All in all, it was a memorable experience. Many people in Glendale did not vote for Mr. Clinton, but it was still in honor to have him come to Glendale.



Clinton at the Glendale Galleria
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