President Obama to visit Charlotte Friday

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - President Barack Obama is scheduled to stop in Charlotte Friday to deliver a message at a city manufacturing company. Obama is expected to discuss job growth and the future of the economy at Celgard, a company that makes components for lithium-ion batteries used in PDA devices, cell phones and computers.

Obama is expected to walk through the plant and observe the manufacturing process before speaking to workers about the need for green energy and the economy.  His speech, however, will not be open to the public.

The President's visit is significant as his message will come just hours after labor officials release updated unemployment numbers. Currently, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, North Carolina's unemployment rate is 11.2 percent. Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx said the city's unemployment rate is higher, at 13 percent.

Foxx said he feels Charlotte's vision and plan for putting people back to work lines up with the Administration's goals for job growth. He said that could be a key reason Obama chose to visit Charlotte.

Celgard is a company with major green job potential after receiving a $49 million grant from the Secretary of Energy. Celgard's possible expansion of green jobs seems to line up with the President's agenda on green energy and job growth.

Tea Party organizers expect protestors from as far as Asheville to travel to Charlotte Friday morning to protest President Barack Obama's visit at the plant. Organizers sent a special message to supporters who plan to attend: "We encourage you to bring respectful signs but no sticks please, as they are now considered weapons.  Do not allow anyone to provoke you as the media will be there."

Kristie Chapman is helping organize the protest, which will start at noon at the corner of South Tryon St. and Carowinds Blvd. in Southwest Charlotte.

"Everyone wants reform, they just don't want it like this, and people don't believe there voices are being heard," she said.  "The president's coming, so what better opportunity to make your voice heard?"

Authorities are warning motorists there will be delays Friday when the presidential motorcade goes from Charlotte-Douglas Airport to Celgard, the plant the president will speak at in Southwest Charlotte.  It is near where the protest will be.

For security reasons, Secret Service do not disclose the Preident's exact route.  Roads that could be affected include I-77, I-485, and South Tryon Street.  The president is expected to arrive in the late morning and head back to the airport in the early afternoon.

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