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Marshalltown gets up close and presidential

Obama made historic stop here Aug. 14

December 29, 2012
By ANDREW POTTER - Staff Writer ( , Times-Republican

Seventy-two years.

That was how long it was since a sitting President of the United States visited Marshalltown.

That all changed on Aug. 14, 2012 when President Barack Obama made a campaign stop, speaking to a packed gym at Miller Middle School.

Article Photos

Barack Obama made a visit to Miller Middle School on Aug. 14, 2012. It was the first visit to Marshalltown by a sitting president in 72 years.

It was the first appearance by a sitting president in town since Franklin Roosevelt in 1940. The old gym at the school was selected by campaign officials for its classic look.

"People here were thrilled to hear him and see him in person," said Kay Gill, chair of the Marshall County Democrats. "His visit shows how Iowa was so instrumental in the election."

The Obama campaign had referenced Iowa often as it was here in 2008 where Obama won the Iowa Caucuses, propelling him to a successful Democratic nomination and then the presidency.

"It's good to be back in Iowa," he told the Marshalltown crowd.

The day before his visit to Marshalltown, Obama stopped at the Iowa State Fair.

"Yesterday, I got to the state fair and had a pork chop and a beer," Obama said. "I might have another beer today."

Those who didn't get a chance to see Obama in the gym, got a surprise as he waved from the front of his bus when it travelled down Center and Main streets before and after his appearance. A heavy police and Secret Service presence led many to figure that was his route and they lined the streets prior to his pass through to get a glimpse of the president.

Miller Middle School Principal Jacy Large said hosting the president at his school was once in a lifetime opportunity. Large also got to meet Obama prior to his speech.

"For me, it was breathtaking," Large said of meeting the president. "He was very down to earth."

Gill also met him and said he was joking around with them during photo opportunities.

"It was actually the most relaxed I've seen him," Gill said.

Obama won Marshall County, taking 58 percent of the votes during his successful re-election Nov. 6 over Mitt Romney.

On the same day as Obama's visit, Romney's campaign had Louisiana Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal speaking just blocks away at Franklin Elementary School field.



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