Obama Geographical Gaffe Makes Virginia Residents Angry
The President greeted an enthusiastic audience during his visit to the Rolls Royce Crosspointe Plant in Prince George, Virginia last Friday. Obama spoke for 20 minutes to a friendly crowd on the floor of the factory plant which manufactures precision-engineered discs for airplane engines.
So why is the Prince George Board of Supervisors now receiving calls from angry residents about the commander-in-chief just a week after such a historic visit?
Seems President Obama didn't know where he was.
Prince George and the city of Petersburg are separate geographical locations. In his speech Obama failed to mention Prince George to its county officials even once and instead gave a shout-out to Mayor Brian Moore of Petersburg. "We've got your mayor Brian Moore," Obama told the crowd.
Moore, it should be noted was in hot water only last month when his city manager was arrested for a domestic violence incident. The mayor decided to keep William Johnson III on the job pending the outcome of his case. In his statement to the press Moore declared, "We understand that they [some citizens] are upset but we also need to realize that things happen in a domestic relationship...It's a personal issue." Following his statement the Virginia chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW) demanded Moore apologize. The group planned a protest against the Mayor's stand on the issue of domestic violence.
During his speech in Prince George, not only did Obama not know Mayor Moore was from another place, but he also didn't know he wasn't in Petersburg. He cited the city just south of Richmond five times in his presentation.
It is great to be back in Petersburg. (Applause.) Last time I was here was during the campaign. I had my bus pull over so I could get a cheeseburger.
And we've got a lot of work to do before everybody who wants a good job can find one, before middle-class folks regain that sense of security that had been slipping away even before the recession hit, and before towns like Petersburg get fully back on their feet.
This company [Rolls-Royce] is about to hire more than 200 new workers - 140 of them right here in Petersburg, Virginia. (Applause.)
American workers are manufacturing various components for it in Ohio, and Oklahoma, and South Carolina, and Kansas, and right here in Petersburg.
I've been told that last year's valedictorian at Petersburg High, whose name is Kenneisha Edmonds, she had a pretty good statement.
County Board of Supervisors Chairman Henry Parker says Obama's geographical flub is all everyone has been talking about. Most are angry that Prince George spent money for police, fire and EMS services during the presidential visit, only to have Obama mistake their county for Petersburg. County administrator Percy Ashcraft expressed the feelings of his fellow Prince Georgians.
To end in that kind of bitter disappointment, because not only did he not mention Prince George, but he highlighted the efforts of others, when really they had very little to do with the Rolls Royce Facility and all the excitement in that economic development.
A local CBS affiliate interviewed several residents last night who felt President Obama owed Prince George an apology. An area business owner said any visit by a U.S. President is an opportunity "to put Prince George on the map" and the President's unexplainable mix-up denied her and others that chance.
Read more M. Catharine Evans at Potter Williams Report