Obama to visit Atlanta for fund-raiser, speech to disabled veterans
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama will visit Atlanta on Aug. 2, speaking at a national convention for the Disabled American Veterans group and appearing at a Democratic Party fund-raising luncheon.
It will be the president’s first visit to Atlanta since taking office, and his first to Georgia since a February trip to Savannah to talk about his economic stimulus program.
The DAV invites the president to speak each year at its national convention, but Obama is the first to accept an invitation to speak to the group since President Bill Clinton in 1996, DAV spokesman Dave Autry told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
About 3,000 attendees are expected at the DAV event, which will be at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta.
“He’s got a pretty decent record on veterans’ issues,” Autry said.
White House spokesman Adam Abrams confirmed that Obama will speak to the group about veterans and military issues, but said he had no other details.
Obama also plans to appear at a luncheon event for the Democratic National Committee and Organizing for America, a successor to his 2008 campaign organization.
While the president plans to visit Atlanta just days before a runoff election and as members of Congress are back home for a month to campaign for re-election, Obama at least currently isn’t planning to make any campaign appearances for Georgia candidates while in Atlanta.
Indeed, several Democratic congressmen from the Atlanta area were surprised that the White House didn’t even inform them of the trip until late Thursday.
“No one told me … I was sort of shocked,” said Democratic Rep. John Lewis of Atlanta, one of the Obama administration’s biggest supporters in Congress and the senior chief deputy whip in the Democratic Caucus. Lewis told the AJC he learned secondhand that the president was coming to his district.
“They [White House officials] usually inform us,” said Lewis. “It was unreal.”
Republican critics of the president said he also ought to address the economy while he’s in Georgia.
“With new reports showing unemployment rising to an unacceptable 10.3 percent in the metro Atlanta area, President Obama’s visit will give him the perfect opportunity to own up to the fact that his failed $862 billion stimulus and big-government, tax-and-spend agenda have done nothing to create jobs in Georgia,” Republican National Committee spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg said in a statement.