Tennessee’s top Republicans are giving the cold shoulder to President Obama as he makes a rare visit to the state. Governor Bill Haslam’s office says he decided to keep his scheduled appointments Tuesday rather than travel to Chattanooga.
Tea Party groups plan to protest the economic speech at Amazon’s fulfillment center. The state Republican Party put out an ad suggesting that companies expand here because this is a right-to-work state with fewer labor unions.
“Maybe you could learn a thing or two while you’re here, Mr. President,” the ad states. “This is what America should look like.”
The few Tennessee officials joining the President will be from his side of the aisle. They include Nashville Congressman Jim Cooper and Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke.
“People want to put a partisan spin on everything,” Berke says. “I think the President is here because he wants to ignite a discussion about how we build a stronger middle class.”
There will still be many supporters cheering. They plan to line part of the route from the airport to the Amazon campus when President Obama touches down shortly after noon Eastern Time.
Neither of Tennessee’s U.S. Senators made the trip, though Sen. Bob Corker – previously the mayor of Chattanooga – says in a statement he hated to miss the Presidential visit.
“I hated for the president to come to my hometown and not accompany him, especially because it would have provided an opportunity for us to talk more about our country’s fiscal challenges. But ultimately, with only three days left in this work period and several scheduled hearings and votes today, it seemed best to stay in Washington and do the work Tennesseans elected me to do. I have no doubt the president will have a good visit to one of the greatest cities in the world.”