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Party time in Miami for Obama

MIAMI, Fla. -- In Miami, everything's a party.

That includes what otherwise could have been a drab, drawn-out wait -- required by security -- to hear the president of the United States speak.

About 4,000 students were ushered in about two hours before President Obama was set to deliver the commencement speech here at the James L. Knight Center for Miami Dade College.

The students, at first, sat quietly, some waving politely to parents, in rows as a continuous graduation march played.

But the music changed, and so did the atmosphere. In true Miami style, the students turned the wait into a party.

They danced in the aisles to salsa music, bopped to hip hop, Outkast and Nelly, and even acted out the motions to perennial wedding favorite, the Village People's 1978 hit "YMCA."

The president is set to speak at about 7:30 pm ET. The auditorium for the speech is packed with about 5,000 people, including parents and guests. There are two overflow rooms. School officials say about 7,500 tickets were given out.

According to the school: Miami Dade College is the largest institution of higher education in the nation with more than 174,000 enrolled students across eight Miami-area campuses. This graduation ceremony is for the North and West campuses, but a total of 14,000 Miami Dade students are graduating this spring, more than most large universities.

The venue provides the president an audience with a key constituency group -- young, mostly African American and Hispanic students -- in a swing state.

The school, which opened in 1960 and used to be a community college/junior college, also boasts that it graduates more black and Hispanic students than any other in the nation.

In the past 10 minutes, with Obama en route, the graduation march has begun again.