President Barack Obama
President Barack Obama
President Barack Obama - on a three-day economic tour to the Midwest - will arrive Monday, Aug. 15, at the Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport, then head southeast on Highway 52 to a town hall meeting in Cannon Falls. After that concludes, he will continue on Highway 52 to a second town hall meeting, tentatively set for 5:15 p.m. at the Seed Savers Exchange, located a few miles north of Decorah, Iowa.

While Decorah area media sources have reported plans were being made for a presidential stop, the official announcement seemed to occur Friday in a press briefing at the White House by Principal Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest.

He stated, in part, "On Monday, the President will travel to Minnesota to begin his three-day bus tour in the Midwest. While in the Midwest, the President will discuss ways to grow the economy, strengthen the middle class, and accelerate hiring in communities and towns across the nation, and hear directly from Americans, including small business owners, local families, private sector leaders, rural organizations, and government officials.

"The President knows we must do everything we can to promote economic growth, restore confidence in our nation's future, and enhance the sense of optimism for future generations.

"After arriving in Minnesota, the President will host a town hall event in Cannon Falls, Minnesota, at Lower Hannah's Bend Park. Later that day, the President will hold a town hall in lovely Decorah, Iowa. I highly recommend it for those of you that have not been there."

Local plans

Local and area law enforcement apparently will provide extra security for the presidential entourage as it travels on Highway 52 through Bluff Country Newspaper Group area towns of Chatfield, Fountain, Preston, Harmony and Canton, and the village of Prosper at the Iowa-Minnesota state line.

Nick Kinneberg, working at Preston Iron Works located on Highway 52 in Preston Friday, reported a law enforcement official stopped by the business to let him know the highway would be closed somewhere between 2 and 4 p.m. Monday.

Further details are not known at this point regarding the extent of the highway closure.

Dennis DeKeyrel, chair of the Fillmore County DFL, said the organization will plan a gathering and signage along Highway 52 in Harmony. They will meet at the Harmony-Preston Valley Trail trailhead around 3 to 3:30 p.m. People attending will then gather along Highway 52 at the corner that is both across from Kwik Trip gas station/convenience store and the News-Record office.

The event also will include an ice cream social.

"We're looking forward to the visit. We'll have signage to welcome the President and encourage him to stand up to Republicans... and make sure he protects Social Security and Medicare."

Summarizing it, DeKeyrel stated, "We want to welcome, thank and encourage him: Don't back down."

It's been reported by Decorah media sources that all tickets for the Seed Savers Exchange town hall meeting already have been distributed.

President Obama will stay overnight Monday evening in Decorah, reportedly booking all rooms at the Hotel Winneshiek, as well as rooms at Luther College.

On Tuesday, Aug. 16, the President will hold a Rural Economic Forum in the Northeast Iowa Community College campus at Peosta, Iowa, On Wednesday, Aug. 17, the President will hold town hall meetings in Atkinson and Alpha, Illinois, before returning to Washington, D.C.

What will he find?

Getting back to the press briefing last Friday, Principal Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest responded to a question on what the President will find on his tour, "...I think that the American people, regardless of whether, frankly, they're supporters of the President or not, will be pleased to see the President outside of Washington, D.C., and out among the people.

"I do think that the President does anticipate that he'll detect a little frustration about the dysfunction in Congress, and the strident position of some in Congress to put their partisan affiliation ahead of the country. I think that there will be people who are frustrated by that.

"I also anticipate that there will be some people who are supporters of the President, who voted for him last time, who will have some questions for him about the compromises that he was willing to make in the context of this deficit debate. But that is something that the President believes is an important part of leadership, and an important part of resolving this problem is moving off our maximalist positions and demonstrating a willingness to compromise."