In the 2008 presidential campaign, then-candidate Barack Obama’s only appearance in Cleveland in the final months of the campaign was a rally on Mall C with Bruce Springsteen following a Browns home game the Sunday before Election Day.
The effort to rally supporters comes much sooner in this year’s contest. The President will be speaking outdoors at Cleveland State University’s Krenzler Field.
University officials said this will mark Obama’s fourth visit to CSU. His most famous stop coming Feb. 28, 2008 when he squared off against Hillary Clinton in a nationally televised Democratic presidential debate. As for the campus, Friday will be, for the most part, business as usual.
“Really won’t have that much impact,” said CSU spokesman Joe Mosbrook. “We’re not closing classes. They’ll be some parking restrictions. They’ll be some traffic restrictions for security obviously. Parts of Chester will be shut down for a small period of time, but for the most part the university will be going on as usual.”
RTA will also need to reroute several buses, as there will be road closures around Krenzler Field impacting Chester, Payne, East 18th, 21st and 24th.
In addition, Cleveland Traffic Commissioner James Muhic warned the motorcade could effect late afternoon traffic.
“Rush hour traffic for I-90 westbound and 71 southbound, I would recommend that people avoid that area.”
The choice of Cleveland State is not surprising in that Obama last week visited two other Ohio Universities in Bowling Green and Kent State. He’s expected to push hard in Cleveland that the closing is window for people to register to vote. The last day is Oct. 9.
The visit comes as the President looks to regain his footing following his debate performance Wednesday night against his challenger Mitt Romney.
“This was something that Romney really needed,” said Ohio Gov. John Kasich. “I think this is a case where with the husband and wife sitting at the dinner table they’re going to say ‘hey you know we ought to think about this,” he said.
“I think it really gives him a tremendous shot of adrenaline. So we’ll see but it’s a ways to go. I’ve never believed these polls this thing is close here and will go right to the wire,” said Kasich.