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Politics & Elections

President Obama shares message of opportunity and optimism during Omaha visit

Matt Miller/Omaha World Herald/POOL

President Barack Obama called on lawmakers Wednesday to put aside politics and focus on safety and opportunity for all Americans.

Innovation, a strong economy, safety, and ending divisiveness in politics were themes in President Obama's final State of the Union address on Tuesday. Those were echoed during Obama's speech at Baxter Arena Wednesday afternoon. It was President Obama's first visit to Omaha as commander-in-chief—he made a campaign stop in Omaha in 2008.


The President's message focused, in part, on one America. He told the crowd of 11,000 that targeting certain groups because of race or religion makes America less safe.


"When a mosque is vandalized or a kid is bullied, that does not make us safer. It doesn't make us safer. The overwhelming majority of Muslim-Americans and Muslims around the world, they're our greatest allies in fighting this scourge of terrorism."


The President arrived at Offutt Air Force Base just after 2 pm Wednesday, and was greeted by Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts and Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert.


Before he arrived at Baxter Arena, the President visited the Papillion home of Lisa Martin, a Papillion-La Vista High School English teacher. Martin wrote a letter to Obama last January, sharing her concerns about the world her baby son would grow up in.


Obama flew to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Wednesday evening, where he'll hold a town hall meeting on Thursday.