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2,500 flock to see Beck onstage

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Friday, Dec. 3, 2010
 

Ian Case, 15, describes himself as a conservative libertarian, and he thinks the country is going to the dogs.

That's why he stood in line with about 2,500 people Thursday night to see conservative pundit Glenn Beck in the Benedum Center, Downtown.

"(Beck) talks about the Constitution and how important it is to bring it back into America," said Case of Ross, a freshman at North Hills High School. "He calls it like he sees it."

Case's mother, Sara, another big Beck fan, laughed.

"Welcome to my world," she said of her son.

Beck was in Pittsburgh to promote his book, "Broke: Restarting the Engine of America." The show was simulcast to 537 movie theaters across the country.

A Benedum Center representative estimated that about 2,500 tickets -- at $90.50 apiece -- were sold for the live show.

The crowd, mostly middle-aged with a good helping of young and elderly, snaked from the front of the theater and around the corner down Penn Avenue, waiting for the doors to open.

Beck opened to a standing ovation and compared the Constitution to a 1965 Ford Mustang in need of a mechanic.

"This engine that the Founders gave us was perfect," he said. "All we have to do is find the original parts."

Bob and Charlene Kurimsky of Unity in Westmoreland County said they are avid fans of Beck and his genre. Bob Kurimsky, 60, said he starts every evening with Beck at 5 p.m., followed by a steady dose of Fox News until 11.

"After that it's Charlene," said his wife, 57.

"I think it's his honesty," Bob Kurimsky said of Beck. "This country is screwed up. It's time people get their heads out of their butts and see what's going on."

Matt Shuster, 22, of Butler Township in Butler County saw the Beck show as a perfect birthday gift for his dad, who will turn 53 on Christmas Day.

Jim Shuster was loving it: "I've been following Glenn Beck for quite some time. He has a pretty level and honest outlook on politics in general."

His son described himself as a political moderate.

"I try to get information from all sides," he said. "I think with anything, you have to take it with a grain of salt."

Ginny Kathary, 65, of Franklin Park said she has attended Beck shows that have been simulcast and she wanted to see him live for once.

"He gets in-depth into his knowledge of what he presents," she said. "He puts fact checkers on everything. He's just true to form, and I believe in him."

Justin Blazer, 17, and his brother, Quinten, 16, both of O'Hara, said they borrowed the money for Beck tickets from their parents, adding that they paid them back from money they earned at their jobs.

Both said they have been following Beck for several years.

"I like the religion factor," Quinten said. "He believes that political decisions should be based on principles and values of religion."

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