No official state welcome planned for President Obama's visit to Oklahoma

The president is landing Wednesday night at a federal base, and the governor and lieutenant governor are both out of state. The governor's commerce secretary will represent the state during President Barack Obama's comments Thursday in the Cushing area.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT Published: March 21, 2012

Obama hasn't been in Oklahoma since making a campaign appearance March 19, 2007, in Oklahoma City. About 1,000 people showed up at the Farmers Public Market building. Former Gov. Brad Henry, who endorsed Obama in April 2008, had said during the last two years of his administration, which ended in January 2011, that he had invited the president to visit the Sooner State but to no avail.

The governor's secretary of commerce, Dave Lopez, will represent the governor's office Thursday when the president goes to the Cushing area to make his comments, said Fallin's communications director, Alex Weintz. The governor's energy secretary, Mike Ming, is out of town on a business trip, he said.

Obama is to talk at a storage yard holding pipes that will be used for construction of the Keystone XL pipeline connecting Cushing to refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast. He has said recently he supports that segment of the pipeline. His administration in January rejected the portion of the pipeline that would carry crude from Alberta, Canada, and Montana and North Dakota to Cushing because a route through Nebraska had not been determined.

Governor away

on family vacation

The governor's office did not receive official word from the White House that the president was coming to Oklahoma until Sunday night Weintz said.

The governor's office first heard about the president's visit from news reports Friday afternoon, he said. By then, the governor, her husband and some of their children were on a commercial flight headed to Puerto Rico for a family vacation, he said. The governor is expected to return Thursday.

Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb had served as acting governor until Tuesday, when he left about noon for Washington, D.C., to attend a meeting that begins Wednesday. Lamb is treasurer of the organization.

“What's ironic about the whole situation is he's actually going to be meeting with Vice President (Joe) Biden ... while the president's here,” said Ashley Kehl, Lamb's spokeswoman.

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