COOPERSTOWN N.Y. – President Obama visited the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown Thursday morning to discuss tourism and how it can lead to good paying jobs.
President Obama was the first sitting President to visit the Baseball Hall of Fame, which will be celebrating its 75th anniversary next month.
The Cooperstown locals were ready for his arrival. Store fronts wereplastered with President Obama’s picture and American flags. Cooperstown Mayor Jeff Katz saidthe village has been preparing for the visit since Sunday, when Obama announced the visit in his weekly radio address.
Karen Johnnsen, owner of F.R. Woods, a souvenir store just a few shops down from the Hall of Fame, wanted to ensure Obama knew he was welcome. She said her daughter's friend created a portrait of him on her store window.
"Glad to have his visit, it's quite an honor," said Johnnsen.
The president toured and delivered remarks inside the Hall of Fame and Museum, discussing his administration's new travel and tourism agenda.
"Cooperstown is the tourism destination as it’s a status that we earned over the years, so it makes sense to me that if the president is going to be talking about tourism in the State of New York, he should be in Cooperstown,” said Katz.
Air Force One landed at Griffiss International Airport in Rome, New York around 2:30 Thursday afternoon. He then made his way to Cooperstown and departed New York for Chicago around 5 o'clock.
Governor Cuomo was in Cooperstown with Obama on Thursday. The President’s visit goes hand in hand with Cuomo's initiatives to promote tourism throughout New York State.
The president spoke to a crowd of around 150 people assembled inside the baseball hall of fame.
President Obama explained that tourism and travel account for $1.45 trillion dollars in economic activity across the county.
President Obama also explained that he had met with executives in the travel and tourism industry Thursday morning. He said he wanted to reduce wait times for those at airports and make it easier for those abroad to visit the US.
The Baseball Hall of Fame will be closed Thursday as a security measures.