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Obama visit not open
President, first lady to be on Fort Stewart Friday
President Barack Obama is returning to the Coastal Empire for the first time since 2010. - photo by Courier file photo

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama are expected to visit Fort Stewart on Friday, but don’t count on getting to see him, unless you’re being invited.

A White House media advisory released Tuesday said the president and first lady would meet with troops, veterans and military families in an event that is closed to the public. The visit was announced Friday by White House Press Secretary Jay Carney during a press briefing.

The message the Obamas will bring has not been released.

Fort Stewart spokesman Kevin Larson said there likely will be closures on post to accommodate the event. Details were not available Tuesday.

Stewart officials declined further comment, citing a desire to wait until after the president’s dent’s appearance.

Liberty County Democratic Committee Secretary Sandy Burch said many organizations were working together to coordinate the visit and that details would likely be released after logistics are worked out.

“How could you not be excited about the president coming?” she said. “I mean, really, that is a big deal.”

From a party perspective, Burch said the president’s visit has potential to influence decisions of undecided voters and Democrats when they cast ballots in the 2012 presidential election.

Obama is expected to face former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in general elections in November.

“People who lean another direction probably just see it as a campaign thing. But Obama, of course, supports the troops a lot, and his wife has the big drive with the troops. So I think this is a goodwill gesture on his part, because the 3rd ID has been through so much in the last several years,” she added.

The president’s visit comes on the heels of education stops in North Carolina, Colorado and Iowa, where he has urged Congress to pass legislation that will prevent interest rates on student loans from doubling in July.

On Monday, however, the president introduced a military message, releasing a statement praising senior Department of Defense leaders for issuing new policies that combat sexual assault in the military.

“The men and women of the United States military deserve an environment that is free from the threat of sexual assault...”  Obama said. “Elevating these cases to a higher level of command review is a very important step. I believe that sexual assault has no place in our military.”

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