A crowd formed outside of the National Women's Rights Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls on Thursday afternoon, hopeful that President Obama would stop by on his way from Buffalo to Syracuse.
The crowd was just about right - President Obama stopped at the Women's Rights National Historical Park's Visitor's Center in Seneca Falls.
Shortly after 3 p.m., Secret Service started moving people away from the building and clearing the street. It was not announced that President was going to make a surprise stop in Seneca Falls on his way to Syracuse until he pulled off the Thruway.The motorcade arrived and President Obama went inside for about 25 minutes. A passing storm soaked much of the crowd and the Secret Service while he was inside. The White House Press Office says that ahead of Women's Equality Day next Monday, Obama delivered brief remarks in front of a copy of the speech he gave when he signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. It was the first bill he signed as president in 2009.The White House Press Office says Ledbetter discovered she was being paid less than her male colleagues. After the Supreme Court ruled that Ledbetter couldn't sue, Congress took action.At the park, Obama greeted Superintendent Ami Ghazala, Historian Anne Derousie and Chief of Cultural Resources Vivien Rose.When it was time to leave, President Obama gave the crowd a wave and walked across the street to where Myrna Pollino lives. She told the President she loved him and she says he said he loved her too.Obama said he was "very proud" to visit Seneca Falls. The motorcade departed for Syracuse at 4:25 p.m.As the motorcade went through the village of Seneca Falls, the President stood near the front of the bus, waving to the crowd as it drove by.The first Women's Rights Convention was held in Seneca Falls in 1848. The Hall of Fame was established in 1969. Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently visited Seneca Falls to talk about his women's rights proposal focusing on women's equality.
The President made an unexpected stop for lunch in Rochester earlier in the day, after his speech in Buffalo.
Obama is expected to outline his agenda to combat rising college costs at Henninger High School in Syracuse at 6 p.m. A release from the White House says Obama's plan will measure college performance through a new rating system and tie financial aid to college performance. (CNY Central will carry his remarks live on CNYCentral.com and on NBC3 and CBS5).