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Obama visits Seneca Falls historic site, presents copy of Ledbetter Fair Pay Act


President Obama presents a copy of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 and a copy of the remarks he made during the signing ceremony at the Women's Rights National Historical Park Visitors Center in Seneca Falls, N.Y., on Aug. 22. (Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images)

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – It was one of the most memorable lines of President Obama’s second inaugural address, a nod to “our forebears through Seneca Falls and Selma and Stonewall.”

On Thursday, as he took his college affordability bus tour across upstate New York, the president paid a visit to Seneca Falls, N.Y., site of a landmark 1848 women’s rights convention.

Obama visited the Women’s Rights National Historical Park Visitors Center to celebrate the gains women have made in this country ahead of Women’s Equality Day next Monday.

At the visitors center, Obama greeted people waiting near bronze statues of the likenesses of Elizabeth Coy Stanton, Frederick Douglass, Martha Coffin Wright and Thomas and Mary Ann M’Clintock. “This is a really lifelike display,” Obama joked.

Obama told the assembled people that he was visiting Seneca Falls because “we want to make a little contribution.”

“Please!” one woman responded. “We’ll take it.”

Obama presented the visitors center with a copy of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, the first bill he signed into law. Obama also presented a copy of the remarks he delivered at the signing ceremony

Written on the signed copy of his speech text was: “It's an honor to visit Seneca Falls and recall the righteous struggle that found expression here. I'm also proud to add an example of Lilly Ledbetter's leadership to your collection. Thanks for all you do to honor the character and perseverance of America's women."

Philip Rucker is a national political correspondent for The Washington Post, where he has reported since 2005.

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