Updated: 1/30/14 at 5:50pm:
This photo from WTVF’s Chris Conte seems like a good way to close out this post:
— Chris Conte (@chrisconte) January 30, 2014
Updated: 1/30/14 at 5:36pm: The Departure
The Tennessean has live streaming the President’s departure from the Nashville airport here.
Here’s a photo from Mr. Obama’s arrival earlier. He’s shaking Nashville Mayor Karl Dean’s hand and it looks like Congressman Jim Cooper is next:
— Michael Cass (@tnmetro) January 30, 2014
Updated: 1/30/14 at 5:15pm: The speech has ended
President Obama has finished speaking at McGavock High School, or as he called it, “Big Mac”. Metro Police have been directed to close roads for the return trip to the airport. The President will fly back to DC shortly.
During the 24-minute speech — almost exclusively about education — Mr. Obama praised McGavock for its Academies of Nashville program and for raising its graduation rate by 22%. He expressed his hope that McGavock could be a role model:
If Nashville can bring schools and teachers and businesses and parents together for the sake of our young people, other places can.
He called out McGavock’s Barclay Randall as a difference making teacher. Here is Mr. Randall in the back of the room with student-journalists covering the event:
— Chris Bundgaard (@bundgaard2) January 30, 2014
Some Tweets from inside the event:
Obama says he picked this school because he’s heard good things. Acknowledges “heartbreaking” student killing up top pic.twitter.com/yWuqvP2HVg
— Daniel Potter (@danimatronik) January 30, 2014
— Julia Bruck (@WSMV_JuliaBruck) January 30, 2014
UPDATE: President Obama is now inside McGavock High School. Just a few minutes until he speaks to the students…. http://t.co/gdrDd0QfIK
— NewsChannel 5 (@NC5) January 30, 2014
Updated: 1/30/14 at 4:10pm: The President Has Arrived
A live stream of the remarks should begin shortly here.
— WKRN (@WKRN) January 30, 2014
Updated: 1/30/14 at 3:50pm: Landed
The President’s plane has landed. Live footage of Air Force One at The Tennessean. Obviously, this means the speech at McGavock will be delayed a bit. When it does take place, you can stream it live here.
Air Force One just landed in Nashville. Definitely the nicest private jet I’ve ever seen. pic.twitter.com/CTZkuDxVAz
— Justin York (@jyplaysguitar) January 30, 2014
Blake Farmer is outside McGavock with a group of demonstrators. Just sent this by email:
All kinds of protesters here. Lots of Second Amendment supporters. One guy had a sign that says what would Jesus drone. And then these guys are asking for immigration reform. Supporters of the president:
Updated: 1/30/14 at 3:30pm: A Full Gym
The Tennessean is live-streaming the scene at the Nashville airport. It appears that the President’s arrival has been delayed a bit, though the White House website still says 4:20 Central. We’ll keep you posted as we learn more.
A group of McGavock students has been seated in risers behind the podium. Here’s the view from inside the gym:
— Karen Kraft (@TNkkraft) January 30, 2014
Updated: 1/30/14 at 1:15pm: What Time’s The Speech? Can I Watch It?
Originally scheduled for 3:50pm, the White House website is saying that the President’s remarks from McGavock High School will begin around 4:20. You can watch on CSPAN or stream it live here.
The Tennessean is reporting that the President will address Tuesday night’s shooting that left a McGavock student dead, according to White House Press Secretary Jay Carney. Witnesses say the gun was discharged accidentally.
Citing a previously scheduled out-of-state meeting, Governor Bill Haslam will not be at the airport to greet the President.
A Chilly Welcome By Some
The Nashville Tea Party Facebook page is already posting pictures of protestors bundled up and gathering near the school, hours before the President is due to arrive. Over at the Tennessee Legislature, Blake Farmer took this photo of representatives of Americans for Prosperity recording anti-Obama testimonials:
— Blake Farmer (@flakebarmer) January 30, 2014
It appears some of the President’s supporters are braving the cold as well:
TN Watchdog is live tweeting Obama’s Nashville visit. Protestors and supporters alike await his motorcade. pic.twitter.com/ZKc4aj9tA8
— Tennessee Watchdog (@TennWatchdog) January 30, 2014
Updated: 1/29/14 at 11:50am: New Presidential Poll Numbers For Tennessee
MTSU conducted a poll over the weekend that showed only 30% of Tennesseans approve of how President Obama is handling his job. It’s probably not surprising that 87% of Republican respondents disapprove of the President, but the biggest shift is among Democrats. Last spring, 77% of Democrats said that approved of Obama. Only 66% say so now. The poll shows a significant difference by race, with far more African-Americans approving of the President than whites.
If the numbers are bad for President Obama, they are even worse for Congress. Only 14% of Tennesseans say they approve of the way Congress is handling its job. MTSU’s Dr. Jason Reineke, who conducted the poll, said of Congress “this disapproval exists across the board — among men and women, blacks and whites, Democrats, Republicans, and Independents — far more disapprove of how Congress is handling its duties than approve.”
Updated: 1/29/14 at 9:50am: McGavock High School Student Killed In Tuesday Shooting
Grief counselors are working at McGavock High School today, alongside the Secret Service and others planning President Obama’s visit to the school.
15-year old McGavock student Kevin Barbee was fatally shot Tuesday night inside a Hermitage apartment complex. Fellow McGavock student Kaemon Robinson has been charged in the shooting. WSMV reports that four McGavock students were in the apartment at the time of the shooting.
A Metro Schools crisis team is at McGavock right now offering grief counseling to students who need it.
— Metro Schools (@MetroSchools) January 29, 2014
Updated: 1/29/14 at 7:05am: Metro Police Called Upon
According to a Metro Nashville Police press release, around 120 officers have been called upon to assist the Secret Service in providing security for the President’s visit to Nashville. Most will be helping with “brief” road closures as the motorcade travels back and forth between the airport and McGavock High School. Traffic will be affected on the route “between midafternoon Thursday into the start of rush hour”.
Updated: 1/28/14 at 9:45am: McGavock Prepares
WTVF’s Jason Lamb visited McGavock High School yesterday, meeting with its principal and several students preparing for President Obama’s Thursday visit. The resulting WTVF video contains student reactions and interesting footage of some of the school’s Academies of Nashville activities, which many believe to be the reason for the President’s visit there. We see inside the CMT Academy of Digital Design and Communication, where the country music network designed a TV studio for the school.
You can read more about the Academies of Nashville at McGavock at this blog run by the school.
A Short Trip
It isn’t likely the President will investigate what our ‘it city’ buzz is all about while he’s in town. He’s scheduled to be in Nashville for only an hour and twenty-five minutes. On such a short timeline, might proximity to the airport be among the reasons the President’s team chose McGavock? The Air Force One greeting party will include Governor Haslam and Mayor Dean.
Updated: 1/27/14 at 4:40pm: No Tickets
The official Metro Schools Twitter account says what was widely assumed: that the President’s Thursday appearance at McGavock will not be open to the public:
IMPORTANT: There are no public tickets available for the President’s speech at McGavock on Thursday. All invitations have been given out.
— Metro Schools (@MetroSchools) January 27, 2014
What we do know is that two days after he delivers his State of the Union address, President Obama will visit McGavock High School in Nashville sometime Thursday. The President will speak to invited guests.
Why McGavock? Speculation points to a recent speech when the President included Nashville on a list of “promise zones” in education. Here’s a link to those remarks where you can find the Nashville mention at around the 14-minute mark.
McGavock is one school participating in Academies of Nashville, a program that offers specialized career training and potential college credit to high school students.
— Metro Schools (@MetroSchools) January 27, 2014
According to WTVF’s Jason Lamb, a press conference with McGavock’s principal was scheduled for this afternoon:
Standing by for press conference with principal of McGavock HS, site of President Obama visit on Thursday http://t.co/ojlGoFzPGB
— Jason Lamb (@NC5_JasonLamb) January 27, 2014
The President has not visited Nashville since being elected, but First Lady Michelle Obama spoke at the Martin Luther King Jr. High School graduation last spring.
We’ll update this post as more details are confirmed.