PORTLAND, Ore. – President Barack Obama's Portland appearance Thursday will mark the fourth time he's visited the Rose City since the iconic moment that filled the waterfront with 75,000 sun-soaked supporters in May 2008, and thrust him into the spotlight as a true presidential contender.
His latest speech will reach out to a much smaller crowd. He's holding an invitation-only fundraiser for the Democratic Party of Oregon in downtown Portland Thursday night.
That event will be followed by an appearance at Nike headquarters in Beaverton Friday morning where the president is expected to promote a large-scale free trade agreement.
July 24, 2012:
It's been nearly three years since President Obama last visited Oregon. In 2012, he came to Portland to meet with supporters and speak at a fundraising event.
After his high-security arrival in Air Force One, the presidential motorcade made a surprise swing into Northeast Portland. "What's for lunch?" the president asked surprised customers as he stepped into the Gateway Breakfast House.
He sat down at a table with three local veterans and chatted about health care over coffee and lunch. (Obama had a grilled cheese sandwich and split pea soup and insisted on paying the bill.)
After posing for photos at the classic diner and shaking lots of hands, the president moved on to his re-election rally at the Oregon Convention Center. His speech focused on health care reform, the economy and creating jobs. He said he was fighting for re-election to keep the American dream alive.
The rally was followed by two private fundraising events. Tickets were limited and ranged in price from $500 to $30,000 per person.
Outside the convention center, protesters lined the streets. Many waved signs urging for legalized marijuana and stricter gun laws.
Feb. 18, 2011:
In 2011, President Obama visited the Intel Corp. campus in Hillsboro and held it up as an innovative model for American businesses. He spoke of his education investment initiative and praised young students hand-picked to attend the event.
The president said he used to build "pretty mean LEGO towers" as a kid, but they were nothing compared to the devices those students had created, which could help repair broken bones one day.
He also made light remarks about the coach of the Oregon State University mens basketball team, who just happened to be his brother-in-law, Craig Robinson.
Oct. 20, 2010
In 2010, President Obama chose Oregon to kick off a five-state blitz to stump for Democrats. He rallied support in Portland for then-gubernatorial candidate John Kitzhaber, in a tight race against former professional basketball star Chris Dudley. Kitzhaber procured the opportunity to speak before the largest crowd of his campaign and soon won the election.
Before the rally, President Obama attended a fundraiser where people paid $10,000 to shake his hand and have photos taken with him.
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