Reporting Jessica Kartalija
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A big day for Baltimore. The president of the United States comes to town to talk jobs and boosting the middle class.
The city is still abuzz with excitement.
Jessica Kartalija explains–he began his visit with a special surprise.
President Obama landed in a field in Northeast Baltimore around 11:30 a.m. The White House asked his destination to be kept a secret–a pre-k class at Moravia Park Primary School.
It’s a surprise for the children.
“Hello everybody. Hi. Good to see you,” the president said.
The reaction to the visit:
“It was surprising to see the president in my school,” a girl said.
“It was nice to see the president in my school,” another student said.
The Obama Administration, highlighting early childhood education. And then in Southwest Baltimore, focusing on jobs for the middle class.
The president, taking a tour of Ellicott Dredges, a local business started in the 1800s.
President Obama, cracking jokes about a future Ravens visit to the White House.
“We’ll have Ray Lewis in the China Room,” he quipped.
Then, talking about growth in the economy, a drop in unemployment nationwide and improvements in the housing and auto industries.
“The middle class will always be my number one focus. Period,” he said. “Your jobs, your families, your communities. That’s why I ran for president, that’s what drives me every day as I step into the Oval Office. That’s what I’m going to keep fighting for over the next four years.”
Word of the president’s visit spread quickly along the motorcade route.
“We watched the cars come in and Barack waved to us. So I got some good pictures,” a woman said.
“I have camera footage of him coming in the line and pictures. Yep. Definitely a memory for me,” another woman said.
The president even made a last stop at the Center for Urban Families in West Baltimore–the first presidential visit that neighborhood has ever seen.
“He instinctively picked [the basketball] up, and took a marker and he signed it. Those are the kinds of innate qualities of this president,” a man said.
“Thank you everybody. God bless you. God bless America,” the president said.
The president also talked about increasing wages for middle class workers.
Ellicott Dredges employees got to be front and center for the president’s speech. But some lucky families were also there as invited guests of local politicians.