County leaders call President Obama ‘geographically-challenged’

Posted at 9:07 AM, Mar 15, 2012

The White House invitation to the event lists the city as Petersburg, but a Prince George County zip code.

PRINCE GEORGE COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) - It was a day for their county to shine, instead leaders in Prince George County were disappointed after President Obama's visit to Central Virginia last week.

The President chose to give a speech about the nation's economy at the Rolls Royce plant at Crosspointe and used the Prince George County plant as an example of international companies expanding operations in the United States. [Click here]

But throughout his remarks, President Obama referenced that he was in the city of Petersburg and not Prince George County. The city and county are separate jurisdictions, each with its own governing body.

“Either the President was ill-advised of his whereabouts, or he simply did not know where he was,” Prince George County Chairman Henry Parker said at a Prince George County Board of Supervisors meeting this week according to a press release from the county. “I join with the citizens of our County in expressing our disappointment.”

County supervisors Bill Gandel and Alan Carmichael said they sent e-mails to the President’s spokesmen on Intergovernmental Affairs that expressed their concern. [READ MORE: Prince George County wants apology after Obama flub]

“Prince George County does not need a visit by the President of the United States for our citizens to have a sense of importance,” said County Administrator Percy Ashcraft. “But it was a lost opportunity for the President to recognize the contributions of our citizens and businesses to the region and state economy.”

Park questioned whether the Presidential snub was intentional.

“Whether political or an honest mistake, the geographically-challenged President did offend the citizens of Prince George County who worked hard to make the Rolls-Royce project a reality and his speech a success,” Parker said. “We hope President Obama will return one day to Prince George County, Virginia to promote our local economy which competes on a global stage. We just hope he tells the world that Prince George County is leading the way.”

In 2008 President Obama became the first Democrat to win Virginia since the 1960s. However the President did not win in Prince George County where, according to the Virginia State Board of Elections website, Sen. John McCain received 54.67% of the vote. By contrast, in Petersburg the Obama-Biden ticket won 88.63% of the vote.

County leaders said they have not yet heard back from the White House.