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President Obama’s motorcade crisscrosses Tama County

Glimpse Of History As Campaign Swings Through

August 17, 2012
By John Speer - Editor , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

President Barrack Obama may well be the first sitting U.S. President to travel through Tama County - at least by motor vehicle.

And travel in Tama County he did on Tuesday, Aug. 14.

His three-day Iowa campaign tour by bus saw the huge convoy enter Tama County shortly after 1 p.m. at the Poweshiek County line, proceed through Tama on U.S. 63 and swing west in Toledo onto the U.S. 30 Expressway. The President was en-route from a morning campaign appearance at Oskaloosa to an afternoon stop in Marshalltown.

Article Photos

Residents line the route in downtown Tama on Tuesday, Aug. 13, as the bus with President Obama on board heads north on U.S. 63. Consumers from the Tama County Career Development Center are displaying a banner reading?“We are important - support USA?citizens with disabilities.” Tama and Toledo Police, Tama county Sheriff’s officers and Tama and Toledo firefighters and ambulance personnel were deployed to block cross streets for the passage of the motorcade. News-Herald/John Speer

Following the rally in Marshalltown, the entourage headed back into Tama County shortly after 5 p.m. on the U.S. 30 Expressway, crossed the Meskwaki Settlement and exited back onto U.S. Highway 63 and headed north through Toledo and Traer to a Waterloo campaign stop that night.

While the motorcade didn't stop locally, it was a spectacle for those along the route. Without formal public notice, a good crowd was visible along the routes through Tama and Toledo.

Leading the way were officers identified as Secret Service agents, a bomb-sniffing dog and a host of Iowa State Patrol cars - one resident counted 44 in the procession.

The motorcade moved fast with the President aboard an all-black bus with dark-tinted windows and bearing the Presidential seal.

Cross streets in Tama and Toledo were closed prior to the President's arrival and traffic to U.S. 63 halted by Tama and Toledo Police, firefighters and ambulance personnel and the Tama County Sheriff's Office.

Tama County Sheriff Dennis Kucera said his full force of 12 deputies, two special deputies, and himself concentrated on blocking hard surface cross roads in the rural areas. He said two Grundy County deputies also assisted.

Some of the State Patrol vehicles leading the convoy were responsible for blocking gravel road and farm drives access Kucera said.

A check with Joyce Wiese, Tama County Historical Society president and a News-Herald news correspondent, found no recollections of any other U.S. President having been in Tama County while in office.

President Obama is not a stranger here, however. When seeking the Democratic Presidential nomination in 2007 he hosted a Farm Summit at South Tama High School and held a campaign rally at the Toledo Middle School in December.

Vice President Walter Mondale campaigned for reelection at the Tama Civic Center in 1980 and then Vice President George Bush made a campaign stop in Traer in 1988 when seeking the Presidency.

The Marshalltown Times Republican reported over the weekend President Theodore Roosevelt made a speech while dressed in his pajamas from the platform of a railroad car there in 1907 and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was in Marshalltown in 1940.

Either of those two presidents well as others could have passed through Tama County aboard trains. One dead president did- a well-circulated postcard shows residents lined up along the railroad tracks as the funeral train of President Warren G. Harding passed through Tama in 1923.

With the first-in-the-nation status of the Iowa Caucuses, Tama County does see its share of presidential hopefuls.

Soon-to-be 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney made appearances in 2007 at Montour and Tama when seeking the 2008 GOP nomination.




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