Local News

President Addressing General Assembly on...

Posted March 12, 1997 12:00 a.m. EST

— President Clinton arrived in Raleigh today to address the General Assembly and promote education reform and his program to give national-standard tests for reading and math.

Air Force One touched down at the Raleigh-Durham International Airport about 9:45 a.m. Gov. Jim Hunt, other state dignitaries and students from Davis Drive Elementary School were present to greet Clinton, who planned to spend 4-1/2 hours here.

After Clinton left the plane, he spoke to a girl supported by a small walker.

The president's speech will be his third on education standards delivered to legislatures during the past five weeks; previously, he addressed the Maryland and Michigan legislatures.

While Clinton lost the state to Bob Dole last year, response to his address at the Legislature is a landslide.

``It's been unbelievable,'' said Julia White, the press spokeswoman for the state Senate. ``Some (legislators) have small children. If you let a small child sit on their lap, the child just keeps growing and growing and growing ....''

As with other joint sessions, senators will end up in folding chairs in the House chamber, along with the judges of the state Supreme Court and Court of Appeals, members of the cabinet and Council of State.

Given all the dignitaries invited to the speech, it will be virtually impossible for the general public to drop by the building and get a seat.

In other preparations, dark draperies have been hung temporarily around the glass walls of the N.C. House for security reasons. A presidential advance team has been working out of committee rooms, and legislators have been told not to park in their assigned spaces under the legislative building.

Clinton will stay through lunch, which he is expected to have in the office of House Speaker Harold Brubaker, with Brubaker and a few other people. Security was even tight on the menu; rumor had it it might be North Carolina barbecue.