JaxPort to host President Obama on Thursday afternoon

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – President Barack Obama will travel to Jacksonville on Thursday and speak at the Jacksonville Port Authority as part of a series of events scheduled to focus on the economy.

The larger trip, which was announced last week, is intended as part of a nationwide campaign aimed at emphasizing the administration's attempt to build the economy by boosting the middle class.

The president will arrive at Jacksonville International Airport on Thursday afternoon. He started his "Focus on the Economy" tour in his home state of Illinois, where he delivered an address at Knox College in western Illinois and was then heading to the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg, Mo.

Obama will speak in Jacksonville about the economy while visiting a major player in the local economy -- JaxPort. The last time a president visited JaxPort was when President George W. Bush came in 2008 to talk about free trade.

"Our ports are the foundation of our economy," said Nancy Rubin, JaxPort communications director. "The movements of goods to our consumers, movement from our manufactures to the rest of the world. That is critically important to our economic health."

The last time the President Obama was in Jacksonville was July 19, 2012, when he spoke at a campaign event at the Prime Osborn Convention Center.

He will talk about the progress the country has made, the remaining challenges and the path forward.

A news release from the White House says the president will lay out his vision for rebuilding an economy that puts the middle class and those fighting to join it front and center.

"There will be a cross-section of political leaders, community people, activists, friends, business associates," Rubin said.

The Republican Party of Duval County said it will hold a joint news conference at 11 a.m. to welcome President Obama to Jacksonville, talk about the Gov. Scott-led Florida recovery and the president's failure to reverse furloughs on the National Guard.

The party will not be able to be at the speech at JaxPort or even at the arrival and departure of Air Force One because it's only open to pre-credential media, but closed to the public. The news conference will be held at the Holiday Inn Express conference room in the 10100 block of New Berlin Road, about a mile from where Obama will speak. 

To see the arrival of Air Force One, the president's speech, and the departure of Air Force One, watch Channel 4 and News4Jax.com.

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