SARASOTA - Two hours before Democratic vice-presidential nominee Joe Biden was to conduct a town hall meeting at about 5:30 p.m., hundreds of people began filling the gymnasium at Booker High School, excitedly talking to other party members and the merely curious.
It was the last stop for Biden, the U.S. senator from Delaware, on a two-day swing through Florida.
The subject of the town hall was financial issues for women, the Obama campaign said.
The gym, which holds an estimated 3,000, was expected to fill up. Tickets were given out on Tuesday. And hundreds of people without tickets stood outside the school at 3201 N. Orange Ave. hoping there might be extra passes at the last minute.
Inside the gym, attendees slowly passed through metal detectors. Also in attendance were a scattering of office holders and candidates, including state Rep. Keith Fitzgerald, D-Sarasota, U.S. House candidate Christine Jennings, and U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa.
The trio shook hands with anyone who came close.
A raised rostrum stood at one end of the gym in front of a row of seats where spectators would be stationed behind Biden. A stage for the news media was at the opposite end of the gym.
Behind those bleachers hung a banner that read, "Change We Can Believe In."
The trip to Florida was Biden's first since being nominated for vice president last week.