President Obama to visit Raleigh area next week

jfrank@newsosbserver.com April 18, 2012 

President Barack Obama will return to the Triangle on Tuesday, according to the White House.

Details of the visit are forthcoming. The White House says it is an "official event," meaning not a campaign event.

His trip comes as a controversy envelopes the N.C. Democratic Party amid allegations of sexual harassment and a secret settlement agreement with a former staffer. The party’s top leaders have called for Chairman David Parker to resign. The executive director left the party Sunday.

Obama’s most recent visit to North Carolina came in October when he toured the western region of the state as part of a national jobs tour. It was his second visit to the Tar Heel state in as many months, coming weeks after he gave a speech at N.C. State University.

The White House and Obama campaign have also flooded North Carolina with surrogates in recent months, including First Lady Michelle Obama and top Cabinet officials.

North Carolina is poised to play a major role in the 2012 election as a key swing state and host of the Democratic Party’s nominating convention in September.

Republicans responded quickly to Obama's trip, which comes days after presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney visited Raleigh and Charlotte on Wednesday for campaign fundraisers and a speech.

“President Obama is in trouble in North Carolina and his trip will only highlight the state’s unacceptably high unemployment rate and force the president to address the sexual harassment scandal plaguing the North Carolina Democratic Party,” said Matt Connelly, a Republican National Committee spokesman.

Frank: 919-829-4698

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