SEATTLE — Just two months after his last visit, President Obama is coming back to the Emerald City.
The Seattle stop is one of a four-day jaunt across the West that will have him talking about the economy and rally support for Democratic candidates in the November election.
The president was to arrive in Seattle late Wednesday evening and spend the night at a downtown hotel. On Thursday morning, he’s scheduled to hold a private meeting in a backyard of a Seattle resident with a female-only audience to talk about women and the economy.
After the chat is done, he’ll join Sen. Patty Murray at the University of Washington’s Hec Ed Pavilion at 11:30 a.m. for a public rally in support of Murray’s re-election bid.
The president has created quite a buzz on the UW campus, where some students are planning to camp out in front of Hec Ed in hopes they’ll get in. More than 18,000 people have RSVP’d online, but the venue’s capacity is 15,000. Doors will open at 9 a.m. and entry is first-come, first-serve. A representative from the Murray campaign said there will be an overflow space.
Some UW professors are canceling classes so their students can see the president, although the university is not sponsoring the event.
Obama’s has already campaigned on Murray’s behalf this year — he was here in Seattle on Aug. 17 — but returns as polls show the race is tight between Murray and Republican challenger Dino Rossi. Obama hopes to help keep Murray and a Democratic majority in the Senate, as it’s what he needs to help get his agenda through Congress in the final two years of his term.
Vice President Joe Biden, first lady Michelle Obama and Biden’s wife, Jill, are doing their part, too, in an all-hands-on-deck effort by a White House fully aware of the stakes for Obama should any Democrats fail to return to the Senate in January.
Biden campaigned Tuesday in Washington state for Murray and in San Francisco for California Sen. Barbara Boxer. He was scheduled to be in Reno, Nev., on Wednesday for Sen. Harry Reid. Mrs. Obama and Mrs. Biden plan joint appearances next week in California and Seattle for Boxer and Murray.
“We always knew that this was going to be a challenging year,” Obama senior adviser David Axelrod told reporters Tuesday. “So we’re out there and we’re scrapping and we’re fighting and I think we’re going to have some good success out there.”
Obama is scheduled to leave Seattle for San Francisco Thursday afternoon. The Department of Transportation is warning drivers to expect delays and temporary road closures around Seattle as the president moves about the city.
Temporary Flight Restrictions In Place — Again
As usual when the president is in town, the FAA has set up temporary flight restrictions around Seattle.
One who is now all too familiar with them is Lee Daily, who wandered into restricted space during Obama’s last visit on Aug. 17, triggering a military fighter jet response that sent sonic booms across a wide swath of Western Washington.
Daily says this time, the FAA called him for a friendly reminder about the restrictions.
“It was all friendly stuff,” Daily told KOMO NewsRadio. “Just in case you didn’t hear, there’s going to be some closures.”
Oh, he heard loud and clear and hopes no other pilots make his mistake.