Obama supporters and protesters prepare for presidential visit - WSMV Channel 4

Obama supporters and protesters prepare for presidential visit

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

Tuesday's presidential visit will draw both critics and supporters.

Monday evening, supporters gathered to make hundreds of signs they plan to use to welcome President Obama to the Scenic City.

Many of those Channel 3 spoke with said party affiliation aside, a presidential visit is an exciting time for Chattanooga.

Excitement filled the Kingdom Center as dozens came to make signs to greet our country's Commander in Chief when he makes his first visit to Chattanooga.

Folks like Andy and Ann-Marie Fitzsimmons see this as a chance for their five children to be a part of history.

"I think it's really important, and my husband thinks it's really important, to get them involved in what goes on in our country," Ann-Marie Fitzsimmons said.

David Wattenbarger and his wife, Amber, are also exposing their son to politics at a young age.

"We're big believers in community, so we're hoping to help him see that we're part of a community and we all have a part to play," Wattenbarger said.

Organizing for Action and the Hamilton County Democratic Party put together Monday's celebration.

They plan to get as close as they can to the Amazon fulfillment center so they can hold up the welcome signs.

Hundreds are expected to attend, but organizers hope they'll be patient.

"People should expect to be flexible because there are going to be some real big Secret Service restrictions, but we want to get as close as we can to Amazon, hold up all these beautiful signs that you see behind you, and just show our love and affection for President Obama," said Jermaine Freman, acting Deputy State Director at Organizing for Action.

These supporters said they understand not everyone agrees with the President's policies, but they hope everyone will be respectful.

"Regardless of your political affiliation, he is the leader of our country at this time, and he's taking time out of his schedule to come to our city, give us good publicity," said UTK student Erin Lutz.

It's hometown pride as some call it.

For politically-minded families like the Fitzsimmons', it's another chance to get involved. They took their kids to see President Bush in 2007.

"I think it's exciting, and it's interesting. If you can expose your kids to that regardless of what your political leanings are, that's like a once in a lifetime thing to be able to do," Fitzsimmons said.

Supportive signs aren't the only signs you'll likely see Tuesday. The Chattanooga Tea Party plans to hold a rally to protest President Obama's policies. It's happening at noon at 5615 Lee Highway, which is the old Target parking lot.

If you plan on attending, you'll want to keep checking the Chattanooga Tea Party's Facebook page, as the location could change due to security issues.

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