Obama cancels visit

Iraq votes will keep hopeful in Washington today

Jason FosterSeptember 20, 2007 

U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., speaks in New York on Monday. Obama was scheduled to visit Rock Hill today but canceled late Wednesday.

RICHARD DREW • THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama has canceled his scheduled visit to Rock Hill today, the senator's campaign announced late Wednesday.

The cancellation was announced after 10:30 p.m. in a short news release, which stated that Obama would remain in Washington for "important votes on the future of America's presence in Iraq."

"It's just one of those terribly unfortunate things," Obama spokesman Kevin Griffis said around 11 p.m. "But we will be coming back as soon as we can."

York County Democratic Party Chairman Jim Watkins said in an e-mail late Wednesday that Obama's campaign has "assured me that the event will be rescheduled."

"While I am disappointed ... I more than understand the importance of his vote. I look forward to seeing him in Rock Hill at the rescheduled event," Watkins wrote.

An estimated 1,600 people had tickets to the event that had been scheduled for 12:30 p.m. at The Freedom Center in downtown Rock Hill. The Illinois senator was to give a speech and field questions during a town hall-style meeting.

Obama also had planned to hold a private meeting with a group of invited Democratic Party members and elected officials. Campaign staffers said they only learned of the cancellation just before it was announced.

"This is not something a campaign ever wants to do," Griffis said. "These (Iraq) votes sometimes are even more important than the campaign."

Local Democrats have spent months lobbying to get Obama here, figuring that a visit from the charismatic Illinois senator would galvanize their organization and establish York County as a player in the South Carolina primary.

Herald reporters Matt Garfield and Andrew Dys contributed to this report. | Jason Foster • 329-4066

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