Chattanooga resident Bob Corker won’t be at Obama’s speech

July 29, 2013

President Obama plans to visit Chattanooga, Tenn. Tuesday to continue his series of speeches on the nation's economic recovery.

That's Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), with his back turned on the right, during a round of golf with President Obama at Andrews Air Force Base in May. Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), far left, and Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.), left, also played that day.

The president is scheduled to tour an distribution center a day after the company announced plans to hire thousands of new workers.

But notably absent in the crowd will be Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), a former Chattanooga mayor and member of the Senate "Dinner Caucus," or one of the dozens of senators who've dined with Obama in recent months as the White House attempts to craft a long-term budget plan and way to increase the federal debt limit. Corker was also part of Obama's first round of golf as president with lawmakers, when he joined the president and Sens. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) and Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) for a round at Andrews Air Force Base.

Corker's staff insists that the senator's absence isn't personal and merely a matter of scheduling: It's the final week of the Senate session before the five-week summer recess and the senator must attend meetings of the Banking and Foreign Relations committees on Tuesday.

In response to inquiries, Corker sent along his regards:

“Chattanooga is one of those great cities in the world, so it’s easy to see why any president would want to visit," he said in a statement. "In addition to our outstanding Amazon facility, I hope the president’s trip will also highlight other things that make Chattanooga a great place to live and work: a vibrant downtown and riverfront, the fastest Internet connection in the U.S., and the world’s first and only LEED Platinum certified car factory – VW Chattanooga – which has created more than 5,000 jobs in the region.”

Several Democratic lawmakers traveled with Obama last week as he made similar stops across the Midwest.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly referred to Corker as a Chattanooga native. It has been corrected.


Ed O’Keefe is a congressional reporter with The Washington Post and covered the 2008 and 2012 presidential and congressional elections.
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