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Roane County Tea Party Co-Chairman Gary Johnston said he and other members of his organization planned to protest President Barack Obama’s visit to Chattanooga this week.
“We’re just a few miles from our exit,” Johnston said via cell phone Tuesday. “There’s lots of security down here. I’m passing state police car after state police car, so it looks like they’re going to have lots of security.”
The president was scheduled to tour an Amazon fulfillment center. His speech was scheduled after press time.
“We will protest this president’s policies and what he’s doing to this country anytime we can, and that’s why we’re down here,” Johnston said. “I have no idea where we’re going to end up. I know we’re going to start out at a Target parking lot near the airport.”
“We have lots of signs and lots of information,” Johnston added.
The president’s visit wasn’t received well by the state’s Republican leaders.
“In light of President Obama’s upcoming trip to Chattanooga, we wanted to take a minute to remind him why companies like Amazon have located in Tennessee and that our great state is doing well in spite of, rather than because of his policies,” Tyler Threadgill, communications director for Congressman Chuck Fleischmann, said in an email.
Fleischmann put out a postcard criticizing one of the president’s signature initiatives, the Affordable Care Act, which is commonly referred to as Obamacare.
Brandon Puttbrese, communications director for the Tennessee Democratic Party, called the president’s visit a great thing for Tennessee.
“We’ve got hundreds of folks down there with welcome signs, so when the president gets in his motorcade on his way to Amazon, he’ll see the excitement around his visit,” Puttbrese said.
Puttbrese also said the president showed strong leadership by choosing to come to Tennessee.
“The president is taking his case for building a stronger middle class straight into the heart of obstruction,” he said. “You’ve got congressmen and senators here in Tennessee that have opposed president Obama’s agenda any which way they could.”