VIDEO REPORT: President Obama Visits UW-Madison Campus

UPDATED: Thursday, October 4, 2012 --- 5:11p.m.

Release from UW-Madison Police Department:

Madison, Wisconsin – On October 4th, 2012, President Barack Obama visited the UW Madison campus. People wanting to enter the event began lining Observatory Drive around 7AM. The crowd continued to grow and in an effort to accommodate the large crowd, the venue opened early at 11:30AM.

Shortly before 2PM, capacity for the event was reached and patrons were directed to alternate locations to listen to the President's speech.

Chief Sue Riseling of the University of Wisconsin Police Department estimates that President Obama spoke to an enthusiastic crowd of 30,000 people. Another 6,000 people we not admitted into the event due to capacity issues. The crowd estimate is based on the number of individuals who passed through the magnetometers.

No arrests were made and no other significant law enforcement issues were reported in conjunction with the event.


UPDATED: Thursday, October 4, 2012 --- 4:44p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- President Barack Obama is changing his strategy for his next face-off against Republican Mitt Romney, a repair job needed after his first debate performance was panned as lacking punch.

His aides conceded Thursday that the incumbent must get sharper in countering his opponent and crisper in explaining his ideas to the American people.

The heart of Obama's new message with less than five weeks to go: Romney is a liar.

Expect that theme -- expressed in softer terms from the president than from his aides -- to drive Obama's advertising and messaging for days.

Obama's debate showing on Wednesday was rusty, rambling and cautious, but his aides insist he emerged with a real opening to target Romney's candor.

Copyright 2012. The Associated Press.


UPDATED: Thursday, October 4, 2012 --- 4:21p.m.

Statement from Gov. Scott Walker:

Governor Scott Walker released the following statement today regarding President Barack Obama’s visit to Wisconsin:

"President Obama is on his heels and chose to recover from a bad debate in one of the most liberal places in America. Last night, swing voters in Wisconsin clearly saw that Mitt Romney is the better choice to get America working again."


UPDATED: Thursday, October 4, 2012 --- 3:46p.m.

Release from UW-Madison Police:

Madison, Wisconsin – Chief Sue Riseling of the University of Wisconsin Police Department estimates that 30,000 attendees are in the venue for the President's visit to Bascom Hill.


UPDATED Thursday, October 4, 2012 --- 3:41 p.m.

President Obama is at the podium for his campaign event.

You can watch the event on NBC15. You can also watch a LIVE stream at


UPDATED Thursday, October 4, 2012 --- 3:20 p.m.

According to UW-Madison, UW-Police Chief Sue Riseling estimates 30,000 people inside the event area.


UPDATED Thursday, October 4, 2012 --- 2:29 p.m.

Air Force One has landed in Madison ahead of President Obama's speech on the UW-Madison campus.


UPDATED Thursday, October 4, 2012 --- 6:20 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- President Barack Obama plans to use a rally at the University of Wisconsin in Madison to fire-up his Democratic base and encourage his supporters to vote early.

Thursday's rally is sure to be a large and friendly crowd for Obama, who attracted about 26,000 people the last time he came to the UW campus in 2010.

Obama won Wisconsin in 2008 by 14 points. It was an easy win during an election when 1-in-5 ballots were cast before Election Day.

In-person absentee voting doesn't begin in Wisconsin until Oct. 22. But absentee ballots started being sent to people who requested them at the end of September.

Obama's rally is coming a day after the president and Republican challenger Mitt Romney met in Denver for their first presidential debate.

Copyright 2012. The Associated Press.


UPDATED Wednesday, October 3, 2012 --- 6:00 p.m.

From the University of Wisconsin-Madison:

Logistics for the president's visit on Thursday, which is scheduled to take place on Bascom Hill from noon-6 p.m., will include many full or partial building and road closures beginning at 7 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 4.

All building windows facing the event with blinds or curtains must have them closed by the end of business Wednesday.

Buildings that will be closed include: North Hall, South Hall, School of Education, Law School, Science Hall, Music Hall.
Buildings that will have limited access are listed below, with information about ingress/egress. Please share this information to your building occupants. Updates will be provided if there are changes.

Bascom Hall: Access the building from Charter Street then follow designated walking lane on Observatory to Bascom and Social Science. Entrance and exit doors located facing Lot 11 will be the easiest way into and out of the building.

Birge Hall: Enter from the south via University Avenue to sidewalk along east side of Chamberlin or through the Botanical Garden. ADA is drive between Sterling and Chamberlin to the ADA entrance at the southwest corner. South entrances only are available. Absolutely no entrance or exit on the north and east side of building. Building windows, drapes and curtains must be closed by the end of business Wednesday.

Chamberlin: May use any regular entrance.

Ingraham: Access from Charter Street. Entrance and exit from doors at the southwest, northwest and west only. The stairwell between Ingraham and Van Vleck will be closed.

Helen C. White: Pedestrian access only. From the west, pedestrians may walk the Lakeshore Path to Helen C. White (there will be some short periods of closure). From east Lake Street to Langdon Street use the construction covered walkways to Helen C. White.

Humanities: Access from the south, University Avenue pedestrian bridge between Vilas and Humanities or from east between State Street Mall and the Chazen Museum to the main level entrance.

Lathrop Hall: Use entrance on University Avenue. ADA access is from Charter Street to ramp between Chamberlin and Sterling then follow sidewalk to north side of Lathrop.

Lucky Apartments/333 East Campus Mall: Office windows, drapes and curtains must be closed by the end of business Wednesday. Apartment windows, drapes and curtains must be closed by 9 a.m. Thursday. Watching the event from a balcony or window is strictly prohibited.

Memorial Union: Access from Lake Street to Langdon Street. Bikes may be parked at the Memorial Union.

Social Science: Access from Charter Street then follow designated walking lane on Observatory to Bascom and Social Science to designated entry point in front of the building (south-side entrances on plaza).

Sterling: Entrances on Charter Street and south side of the building are available.

Van Vleck: Follow posted ADA route starting at Chamberlin Hall's Charter Street entrance through Chamberlin to Sterling to Van Vleck. Others may also enter through Sterling taking the second floor catwalk between Sterling and Van Vleck. Absolutely no entrance or exit on the east side of building. The stairwell between Ingraham and Van Vleck will be closed.

For complete details about the event, visit Specific questions should be directed to


UPDATED Tuesday, October 2, 2012 --- 2:10 p.m.

From the City of Madison Traffic Engineering and Parking Divisions:

The City of Madison will provide Special Event parking at the State Street Campus (both Lake Street and Frances Street garages), State Street Capitol and Overture Center garages to accommodate visitors for President Obama’s visit to Madison and rally at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on Thursday, October 4th.

The Special Event rate of $5 must be paid upon entry, and is payable with cash only. Special Event parking will begin at 9 AM at the State Street Campus garage (both Lake Street and Frances Street garages), and at 10 AM at the State Street Capitol and Overture Center garages. Visit our link to determine real-time availability for City-operated parking.

We encourage attendees from the Campus and Madison community to walk, bike or use public transportation, as there is limited space available in City of Madison parking garages. For public transportation route planning, visit Madison Metro’s link to create your own route.

For any other information please visit our website or contact our office at (608) 266-4761.


UPDATED Tuesday, October 2, 2012 --- 9:55 a.m.

From the University of Wisconsin:

All those planning to attend President Barack Obama’s campaign rally at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on Thursday, Oct. 4 should keep in mind several important logistical details.

Please note, all details may be subject to change ahead of the event.

Entry: The event will be held on Bascom Hill on campus, and entry to the hill will begin at noon. The event is free and open to the public, though registration will be required.

The line to enter the event will form on the sidewalk on Observatory Drive to the west of Bascom Hall. Observatory Drive will be closed to traffic from Babcock Drive to Park Street. All who enter the event must show their registration on their mobile phone or a printout and undergo screening by metal detector.

Carry-in policy: For safety and security reasons, certain items are prohibited, including laptop computers, sharp objects, metal or plastic drink bottles (water will be provided inside the secure area), backpacks, umbrellas and bags or purses larger than a standard sheet of paper. No posters or signs of any size will be permitted inside. No food will be allowed in. Cameras and video cameras will be permitted inside.

Parking: Daytime parking is extremely limited around Bascom Hill and attendees from the campus and Madison community are encouraged to walk or use public transportation. A limited number of spaces are available in the city’s Lake Street Parking Ramp. UW Lots 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 26 will be closed beginning at midnight Wednesday and all day Thursday, Oct. 4. Campus permit holders in affected lots will receive information about parking.

Traffic: Downtown traffic will be affected by street closings throughout the day on Oct. 4. Campus streets that will be entirely or partially closed include:

Observatory Drive, closed from Park to Charter. Observatory Drive will be west-bound only from Charter to Babcock.

Langdon Street will be closed west of Lake Street.

Park Street will be closed north of University Avenue.

Charter Street will be closed north of Linden Drive, except for ADA drop-off.

All those travelling in the campus area should be prepared for delays. Attendees are encouraged to carpool, bike or use public transportation.

Madison Metro: The Route 80 bus will be re-routed until after the event. Extra buses will be added to Metro routes after the event.

Cell phone coverage: Due to heavy anticipated use in the event area, cell phone coverage is expected to be spotty.

Water: Water will be provided for free inside the event area.

Accessibility: A drop-off site for the disabled is available at the intersection of Observatory Drive and North Charter Street. The drop-off area can be accessed via Charter Street. Additional ADA parking is available in Grainger Hall, the Fluno Center, Lot 36, 46, the Union South ramp, Engineering Drive ramp and Madison's Lake Street ramp.

Sign language interpreters will be present inside the event area on a platform. There will be reserved space near the stage adjacent to the stage at the School of Education for wheelchair users and individuals needing sign language interpretation.

If you live, work or study in Bascom Hill area

The visit of a president is a rare event, and carries with it a focus on safety and security. However, to the extent possible, the university is attempting to minimize disruption of a normal school and workday for students, faculty and staff.

Please note, all details listed below may be subject to change ahead of Thursday’s event.

Academic and administrative buildings: Between the hours of 7 a.m. – 6 p.m. the following buildings will be closed to classes, employees and all other activities: Science Hall, Education, North Hall, South Hall, Law School and Music Hall. Students should await details from their instructors on alternative arrangements. Employees will receive additional information from supervisors about work arrangements.

The site: Staging will begin on Tuesday on Bascom Hill and may cause some movement restrictions on Tuesday and Wednesday. The hill will be closed to foot traffic all day on Thursday, but will be reopened after the event on Thursday.

Overflow: Accommodations for individuals who arrive after the event has reached its capacity on Bascom Hill will be posted once arrangements are completed.

Roof access: Roof access to all buildings in and around the event area is completely restricted. Blinds in buildings facing the event area need to be closed on Thursday. Anyone standing in a window facing the event area Thursday can expect to be contacted by police personnel.


UPDATED: Monday, October 1, 2012 --- 5:30 p.m.
REPORTER: Chris Woodard

Click HERE to sign-up for a ticket.

With the announcement that President Barack Obama will be holding a rally at UW-Madison on Bascom Hill, preparations began.

It's a visit that comes with a price.

Any time you plan to shut down an area as busy as that part of campus for several hours it's going to be inconvenient and it's going to cost a lot of money.

But Madison Mayor Paul Soglin says the negatives are well worth it.

Today members of law enforcement were walking the Bascom Hill area.

Madison Police are working with the Secret Service on security.

It is just one area this will cost the city.

Soglin says, "No question about it, dollars we will not recover."

But are they dollars well spent?

Soglin says, "Would we advance a few dollars to get the national publicity? Yes we would."

In September, 2010 the president came to campus and spoke in a very similar spot.

That rally was at the library mall and with this one only half a block away it could give a good glimpse at what it will cost the city.

Madison Police spent 185-thousand dollars on overtime and other security costs in 2010.

The fire department spent 6-thousand dollars.

The Dane County Sheriff's Office also spent several thousand dollars.

Soglin says, "I once tried to send a bill to one of the campaigns. I'm not going to waste my time with that anymore, just roll with it."

It's a cost Soglin says the city is willing to take on.

He says, "It does do something in regards to vibrancy, youth, excitement."

There are still some details to be ironed out as far as the logistics of the event.

The university is still working on a contract with the Obama Campaign.

In 2010 the Democratic National Committee paid the university 10-thousand dollars to rent space for the event.

UW does expect some buildings on campus to be closed and police say to plan for significant traffic delays in the isthmus area all day.

Gates for the event Thursday open at noon.

Tickets are free and available online.

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