Did a “stream of people” really leave Obama-Brown event early?

U.S. President Obama waves as he arrives for a campaign rally for Maryland Lt. Gov. Brown at a High School in Upper Marlboro

Reports by Politico and Reuters indicated that people started leaving an event today for Anthony Brown as soon as President Barack Obama started speaking. A Maryland Democratic Party official pushed back and said the people leaving were in an overflow room and attacked Politico and Reuters over the report (via Twitter.) Facts from the original tweets by the reporter from Reuters and pushback against the MD Dem official by the Politico reporter seemingly proves that the Democrats are just trying to spin their way out of a negative story.

Jeff Mason of Reuters filed a story earlier today about an appearance on behalf of Lt. Governor (and candidate for Governor) Anthony Brown by President Obama in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. From his story:

President Barack Obama made a rare appearance on the campaign trail on Sunday with a rally to support the Democratic candidate for governor in Maryland, but early departures of crowd members while he spoke underscored his continuing unpopularity.

With approval levels hovering around record lows, Obama has spent most of his campaign-related efforts this year raising money for struggling Democrats, who risk losing control of the U.S. Senate in the Nov. 4 midterm election.

Most candidates from his party have been wary of appearing with him during their election races because of his sagging popularity.


Democrats have a history of not turning up to vote in midterm elections.

“There are no excuses. The future is up to us,” Obama said.

A steady stream of people walked out of the auditorium while he spoke, however, and a heckler interrupted his remarks.

After that story appeared, it was getting a lot of play on Twitter. Yahoo ran the Reuters story too and it resulted in Yvette Lewis of the Maryland Democratic Party telling Yahoo they had it wrong via Twitter:


Todd Eberly continued to discuss this with Lewis and Lewis said she was in the gym “up top” and that Obama and Brown had both been in the overflow room first. Lewis also claimed there was no audio in that room so people left.

Here’s what the Baltimore Sun had to say:

A steady stream of people, meanwhile, left the event shortly after the president began speaking. It was not clear whether they were escaping the gym’s heat — at least one person was carried out by stretcher — or for some other reason. Many carried signs and wore T-shirts for Brown, and many had waited hours to attend.

Politico reported the following:

This is Obama country — Barack Obama Elementary School is just down the road, and close to 90 percent of votes cast here in the 2012 presidential election were for him, the best he did in any county in the state. The crowd was energetic in waiting for the president and in welcoming him to the stage, but once the president started speaking, the crowd began streaming out, a few at first, but then by the dozen once Obama was about 10 minutes into his talk. Still, the vast majority of the large crowd stayed for the full event.

WBAL Radio provided excerpts from Epstein’s pool report:

Remarks are open press, but one unusual thing that fellow veterans of campaign rallies confirm: some in the crowd started leaving as soon as Obama started speaking and by the time he was about 10 minutes in, there was a traffic jam next to the pool’s tables as folks tried to exit the gym.

Yvette Lewis told Politico via Twitter that their report was a “lie” and referred to their “crappy reporting.”



Here’s what Jennifer Epstein, author of the Politico story, had to say about the claims by Lewis:





Here’s what Jeff Mason of Reuters tweeted when the event was actually going on:



So, according to the tweets as it happened by Jeff Mason and the pushback by Jennifer Epstein of Politico, Yvette Lewis and the Maryland Democrats appear to just be furiously spinning to try to counter the story that people were leaving during an Obama speech. I know who I’d believe on  that one.


Here’s what Professor Todd Eberly had to say:


Jeff Quinton

Jeff Quinton

Jeff Quinton is an award-winning blogger who has been aggregating and blogging since 1998. He has worked as a reporter, in government, and as a communications professional in Columbia, SC and Washington, DC.

Quinton is a native South Carolinian who has lived in Baltimore since 2006. He is a recent convert to the Catholic Church and is active in the Knights of Columbus. He has been involved in the pro-life movement nationally and locally since 2010.

Quinton is a veteran who served as an intelligence analyst in the Army National Guard. He is also an Eagle Scout.
Jeff Quinton


  1. I was there people and streams of people were not leaving as reported when the President spoke. People waited in very long lines for a very long time to hear the President speak, and to shake his hand if they could. Some people were not able to withstand the wait and they left. These people were elderly, people with children, some not dressed for the wait, etc. Once you went through security and you left, you were not able to return due to security. I was in the overflow room. President Obama and Gubernatorial Candidate Brown spoke to us first and shook our hands. It was awesome. When that was over we left, and they entered the main gym.