Politics
Obama drinking. Photo: Getty Images Obama drinking. Photo: Getty Images  

Liquids banned from Obama’s Ohio State speech despite past heat-related medical emergencies

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Patrick Howley
Political Reporter

President Barack Obama’s speech at the Ohio State University graduation ceremony Sunday will be on tight security lockdown, with graduating students subject to “airport-like security screening” and a strict list of prohibited items for graduates and their relatives attending the event at Ohio Stadium (capacity: 102,329).

Attendees are prohibited from bringing liquids into the stadium, despite high temperatures.

“Prohibited items” include “liquids of any type”, umbrellas, coolers, backpacks, large handbags, noise-making devices, mace or similar substances, signs, sticks or poles, and weapons of any type, according to the “Security Precautions” page of Ohio State’s commencement website.

Something of a pattern of dehydration problems — and similar problems — at speeches by Obamas has been well-documented.

“Sometimes folks faint because they’ve been standing too long,” Obama said after a spectator collapsed during one of his speeches in Ohio in 2012. ”So we just need a paramedic right here in the front. They’ll be okay, just give them room. That’s all.”

An August 2012 Michelle Obama speech in Fort Lauderdale, Florida resulted in 14 people being treated for “outdoor, heat-related complaints,” including five who were taken to the hospital. The First Lady’s Let’s Move! Active Schools campaign also got off to a comically miserable start in February after the students who were bused to Chicago’s McCormick Place were not allowed to eat for over six hours. (RELATED: Let’s starve!)

It is unclear whether a cold beverage could have prevented either the “heat-related complaints” in Florida or the Ohio fainting.

The temperature in Columbus, Ohio is expected to reach 74 degrees Sunday, according to the Weather Channel.

At Ohio State, “all graduates are subject to airport-like security screening, as well as visual inspection of person and bags, upon entering the assembly locations,” according to the school. “Graduates are asked to arrive early, in cap and gown with the gown unzipped, and allow plenty of time to be screened and find their location in line.”

“Metal detectors will be in place at the entrances.  Lines may be long and personal items may be searched,” the university adds.

More than 10,000 students will graduate from Ohio State Sunday.

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