WOONSOCKET, R.I. –– Air Force One touched down at T.F. Green State Airport in Warwick at 3:49 p.m.
On hand to greet the president were members of the states all-Democratic congressional delegation, Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon White House and Representatives Patrick J. Kennedy and James R. Langevin; Providence Mayor David N. Cicilline, the Democratic candidate for the retiring Kennedy’s seat; Rhode Island House Speaker Gordon Fox and the Right Rev. Geralyn Wolf, Rhode Island’s Episcopal bishop
Not among the local dignitaries awaiting the president’s arrival was the Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Frank Caprio.
Caprio learned Sunday that President would not endorse him. Caprio told a local talk-radio host Monday morning: “He can take his endorsement and really shove it.
The president emerged from Air Force one at 3:59 p.m., wearing a dark suit, white shirt and gray tie and embraced Reed and Whitehouse and proceeded down the receiving line with the rest of the dignitaries and on to the motorcade for a factor in Woonsocket, R.I.
The Motorcade into the autumn-colored woods of the Blackstone River Valley was uneventful.
Near the destination, American Cord & Webbing, in Woonsocket small crowds of flag-waving citizens greeted the motorcade. One group of several dozen waved signs for the Republican candidate for retiring Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy’s seat, state Rep. John J. Loughlin II of Tiverton. (Loughlin campaigned in this part of the state earlier in the day with Republican Sen. Scott Brown.)
The President toured a section of the factory where workers at sewing machines fabricated web belts with plastic buckles — including some belts bearing the names of first daughters Sasha and Malia Obama.
Obama expressed his delight in those products, embraced and shook hands with workers, telling one, “You’re doing a great job.”
One of the workers, Marjorie Duque, declared herself “very happy” with the presidential handshaking greeting. She said she is a Democrat who supports Providence Mayor David N. Cicilline, the Democratic candidate for Kennedy’s seat.
At 4:46 p.m. the pool was ushered away from the section of the factory where the workers visited with the president. His remarks to an audience of about 80 people in folding chairs — including the members of the Rhode Island Congressional delegation — included a greeting for the mayor, whom he identified as Dave Cicilline, soon to have another job.
The motorcade back to Providence began at 5:13 p.m.
At the Rhode Island Convention Center Representative Chris Van Hollen, (D-Maryland) the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee warmed up a crowd of several hundred at a fundraising reception in a closed function room with a bar.
Proceeds from the $500-a-head event are to be shared by the DCCC and Providence Mayor David N. Cicilline, the Democratic candidate for the seat of outgoing Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy. Van Hollen reprised Democratic triumphs past including the party’s takeover of majority control in the congress in 2006 and then President Obama’s victory in 2008.
None of the speakers made mention of the local democratic dignitary missing from the room, General Treasurer Frank Caprio, the gubernatorial candidate whom the president has declined to endorse in his race against Republican John Robataille and Republican turned Independent Lincoln D. Chafee.
Cicilline introduced Potus for what he called “tremendous leadership and tremendous courage in pulling this country from the brink” of economic disaster.
Ciclline also tauted elements of his campaign platform, and said “one of the reasons I am running for Congress is to join with our president and get our economy back on track.”
The crowd cheered during the remarks by Potus, which included his now familiar joke that Republicans are like a group of people who have driven a car into a ditch. Now that the democrats have pulled it out and turned it in the right direction the Republicans want the keys back.
The motorcade left at 6:32 p.m. for the Providence home of supporters Arnold “Buff” Chace and Johnnie his wife.
Pool reporting by The Providence Journal