President Obama's Omaha Visit
President Barack Obama served-up a farewell wave from Offutt Air Force Base shortly after 6 p.m. Wednesday. It put a cap on a whirlwind visit to the metro that included a mix of policy statements and heartwarming snapshots of humanity.
Fresh from his final State of the Union Address, President Obama hit the road and wound up in the metro Wednesday. The President spent the bulk of the afternoon in Omaha.
He arrived at 2:09 p.m.
Among the local dignitaries on hand to greet the president were Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts and Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert.
The mayor said, "I think I'll thank him for coming to his most favorite city."
The governor said he was able to rearrange his schedule to be on hand Wednesday. He said, "I think it's important since it's his first visit to Nebraska."
Obama's day included a visit with a metro teacher who had written the president a letter.
Congressman Brad Ashford accompanied the president on the flight to Omaha and during his time here.
The president also planned to meet with the family of fallen Omaha Police Officer Kerrie Orozco. Ashford and Hector Orozco, Kerrie's husband, have been working on the Kerrie Orozco Act that would extend immigration-related assistance to first responders.
The president's day ultimately moved to a formal address at Baxter Arena at 4 p.m. where a crowd of 8,000 heard Obama speak.
UNL Professor of Political Science John Hibbing was not at the speech, but says he did stream it.
Hibbing discusses what Nebraskans, Republican or Democrat, can take away from the speech.
"...I just thought he looked very relaxed...kind of comfortable in his own skin...making jokes and...setting it all up," said Hibbing, "and then he went into kind of a rehash...as one might expect ...some of the main points that he he mentioned last night, both national security and...probably the thing most relevant to Nebraskans would be the condition of the economy and of course he's got a much different take on the condition of the economy than the individuals running for the Republican nomination."
Hibbing expected Obama to say more when it came to national security, especially in light of Iran capturing and later releasing U.S. sailors.
"...I mean he did have....four questions ...he kind of posed...I know one of them was the the foreign policy issue so it wasn't like he ignored it," said Hibbing, "but I suppose if you're asking me about what surprised me I thought maybe he might have said a little bit more about national security."
From Omaha the president travels to Baton Rouge, Louisiana for an appearance on Thursday.
He's expected at both stops to tout progress under his leadership and goals for his final year in office.
The White House notes that unemployment in the pair of Republican-leaning states has fallen significantly since Obama took office. More than 2.5 million Nebraska and Louisiana residents have also gained coverage under his health care law.
Obama wants more states to take advantage of the law and expand Medicaid to cover more people.
Louisiana's new Democratic governor started that process this week. Nebraska lawmakers are expected to reconsider Medicaid legislation this year.
10/11 & NBC Nebraska will live stream the arrival of The President, his speech and his departure.
Expected arrival: 2pm