President Obama expected to make campaign stop in Mahoning County

By David Skolnick


President Barack Obama is expected to make a campaign stop Friday in Mahoning County as part of his two-day bus tour through northern Ohio and western Pennsylvania, according to a source with information about the event.

The campaign is looking for a place in the county for an early Friday event before Obama crosses the border into Pennsylvania later that day for a rally in Pittsburgh, the source told The Vindicator on Monday.

This is the same source that correctly told the newspaper about the May 16 date of Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign visit to Youngstown and knew about Obama’s two Thursday stops before the campaign announced the locations Monday.

The president could end up in Boardman.

Boardman Police Chief Jack Nichols said his department received a call to send an officer to a meeting last Thursday in Fairlawn, an Akron suburb, to discuss logistics of a potential visit by Obama to Boardman.

The Secret Service didn’t have an issue with Boardman, but officials with the campaign didn’t make a commitment, Nichols said.

“We’ll see what happens,” the chief said.

David Betras, the county Democratic Party chairman, said he could neither confirm nor deny the president’s visit to the area.

On Monday, the Obama campaign would confirm only the president’s two-day bus tour would take him to the grounds of the Wolcott House Museum in Maumee, near Toledo, on Thursday morning and to James Day Park in Parma later that day. The location of the president’s stops Friday could come as early as today.

For Obama’s bus to get from Parma to western Pennsylvania, it has to go through Mahoning, Trumbull, Columbiana or Ashtabula counties.

During Obama’s Thursday events, he will “celebrate the American worker” and “will talk about his efforts over the last three years to get our economy back on track — from saving the auto industry, investing in manufacturing and bringing jobs back to America,” according to the campaign.

The events are free and open to the public, but tickets are required for entrance.

If Obama, a Democrat, comes to the Mahoning Valley, it would be his first re-election visit to the area.

He made two noncampaign stops as president — September 2009 at the Lordstown General Motors complex and May 2010 at V&M Star, which is undergoing a $650 million expansion project at its Youngstown location.

During the 2008 campaign, Obama came to the Valley two times before he lost the Ohio Democratic primary to Hillary Rodham Clinton, now his secretary of state. After the primary, Obama campaigned three times in the Valley.

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