President’s visit here makes sense politically
MANSFIELD — Mansfield makes perfect sense as a campaign stop for President Barack Obama because it’s a place where he can sway more votes his way in the hard-fought Ohio campaign, Richland County Commissioner Gary Utt said Friday.
“He knows this state is a bellwether state, for him,” said Utt, the lone Democrat on the three member board of commissioners. “This area (Richland County) is divided pretty evenly between Republicans and Democrats. He’s got to try to appeal to the Democrats and the independents as much as he can. The other side will be trying to do the same thing.”
Obama is scheduled to stop in Mansfield on Wednesday, at locations which have not yet been disclosed.
“He has visited all of the other big cities of Ohio,” Utt said.
Richland County is home to General Motors’ former Ontario stamping plant, whose future is still in play, Utt, who formerly worked for GM.
“He (the ppresident) did his part, I think, to save the auto industry,” Utt said. “I hope that he’s here to give us some measure of hope for our area.
“A personal visit by a candidate to an area kind of gives you a better feeling about the candidate.”
Utt said he was invited as a Democratic elected official, either to be among those who welcome the president on the tarmac, after he arrives at Lahm Airport — or a contingent attending a more public event at an undisclosed location.
“I chose the event,” he said.
Democratic Party Chairman Joe Mudra said he’s not sure how Mansfield got put on the list for a campaign visit. Local party officials put in a request every four years that their candidate make a stop here.
“I’m just trilling and excited and honored that he has chosen to come to Mansfield,” Mudra said. “We’ve had some visits by presidents — but not a lot. It’s not easy to get a president to come to town.”
Mansfield City Schools spokesman Larry Gibbs said the superintendent’s office had not received any requests from the Obama campaign for use of Mansfield Senior High School or Malabar Middle School.
Similarly, Renaissance Theatre CEO Michael Miller said no requests had been made there.
“We hosted President (George W.) Bush several years ago,” he said.
MedCentral Health System spokeswoman Cindy Jakubick said midway through this week, the White House made a request to send an advance medical team through the hospital.
“We’re expecting them the first of the week,” she said.
That type of preparation is conducted as a routine matter for numerous public events, she said.
“They want to know where things are and what they’d have to do, should there be an emergency,” she said. “I think we’ll probably be on a little higher alert for the time he is here, but it will be business as usual.”
See what they’re saying on the MNJ here, MANY of which I agree with – http://www.mansfieldnewsjournal.com/comments/article/20120728/NEWS01/207280303/President-s-visit-here-makes-sense-politically