Obama to spend 100th day of presidency in St. Louis area

Tuesday, April 21, 2009 | 3:29 p.m. CDT

ST. LOUIS — President Barack Obama will mark a significant milestone — his 100th day in office — with a visit to the St. Louis area, the White House said Tuesday.

Obama will hold a town hall meeting in suburban St. Louis on April 29, but the exact location has not yet been determined. Spokesmen for St. Louis Democratic congressmen William Lacy Clay and Russ Carnahan also confirmed the visit was planned but had no additional details.

The White House said Obama will discuss his first 100 days in office and take questions about the administration's agenda.

It wasn't clear why Obama chose Missouri as the site for the visit on such a milestone day. The 100th day in office is often used to measure the performance of a president in his first term.

"I think he wants to highlight what he's already accomplished so soon in office," said Jim Hubbard, a spokesman for Carnahan. "Obviously, Missouri is an important state, a microcosm of the nation, so it's important that he's stopping by."

The St. Louis region is also something of a microcosm of the economic hardship that has consumed much of the president's energy during his first three months in office. The area has lost thousands of jobs because of layoffs, including in the hard-hit auto industry, where Chrysler has cut workers and production at its plant in Fenton.

Statewide, Missouri lost nearly 11,000 jobs in March as the unemployment rate rose 0.4 percent to 8.7 percent — the highest since December 1983. The state unemployment rate has climbed in nine of the last 10 months.

Obama made several stops in the St. Louis area during the 2008 campaign, including an October rally at the Gateway Arch that drew one of the largest crowds of his campaign, a crowd estimated at 100,000.

Despite the big crowd in St. Louis, Obama narrowly lost to Republican John McCain in Missouri — marking just the second time in more than a century that the winning presidential candidate failed to carry the state.


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