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The Blue & Gray Press | August 15, 2018

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President Obama Not Visiting UMW

Despite the initial reports from the Associated Press (AP) over the weekend, President Barack Obama will not be visiting Fredericksburg on Oct. 19 as part of his bus tour.

UMW President Rick Hurley said that Obama’s officials notified him of the misinformation on Tuesday morning.

“It all happened so fast,” Hurley said.

According to Hurley, Assistant Vice President for Public Safety and Community Services Susan Knick first received voicemails about the potential of an event last week while she was on vacation.

“We suspect the original call probably came from the Secret Service, who was doing advanced planning for a trip through Virginia,” Hurley said.

He added that he was asked whether the school would be interested in having Obama come, to which he said, “absolutely.”

“We expected to have details this week,” he said.

On Friday, the AP and the Free Lance-Star reported that Hurley was in negotiations with the White House staff regarding details about a presidential visit.

Free Lance-Star reporter Robyn Sidersky, who wrote the initial article, originally heard rumors of the visit on Twitter.  She then found information about the visit in an AP report, and called city police and Hurley to verify.

“[Hurley] was really shocked that I knew because he had only found out the day before,” Sidersky said, also noting that Hurley told her that nothing was set in stone.  “We went with what we had.  He was coming, it wasn’t a false report.  Plans changed, he’s president. His plans change a lot I’m sure.”

In an article published Oct. 7, the Washington Post reported that Obama would be visiting Fredericksburg among other Virginia cities, stating that their anonymous source, a senior democrat, “had not been authorized to disclose the locations.”

“My friend heard it on Twitter, but it is really disappointing that he isn’t coming,” senior Sara McDermott said.

Obama is planning a two-day bus tour for Oct. 18 and Oct. 19, during which he will visit both Virginia and North Carolina. The cities that Obama plans to visit on his tour will be announced later in the week.

Anne Elder and Emily Montgomery contributed to this report.