Obama, Hollande visit Monticello, disrupt Charlottesville traffic

President's arrival shuts down roads, delays basketball game

President Barack Obama visited Charlottesville Monday, touring Monticello with French President Francois Hollande.

The visit to Jefferson’s home comes in the wake of an attempt to revamp relationships between France and the United States. In a joint op-ed written by Hollande and Obama published in The Washington Post Sunday, the pair stressed their desire to pursue a series of joint initiatives on policies ranging from combating al-Qaeda in Africa to creating job opportunities, highlighting their respective governments’ shared common ground.

“Rooted in a friendship stretching back more than two centuries, our deepening partnership offers a model for international cooperation,” they wrote. “Transnational challenges cannot be met by any one nation alone.”

A press release issued by the White House last week noted Jefferson showed a great affinity for France, making Monticello an ideal site for the presidential visit.

“As the residence of Thomas Jefferson, one of the United States’ earliest envoys to France, Monticello reflects Jefferson’s affection for the people of France, the long-standing relations between our two democracies, and the shared values we hold dear: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” the statement said. “President Obama looks forward to sharing this piece of our shared history with President Hollande.”

The visit shut down roads, stalled traffic throughout the city and even required the University to push the men’s basketball game against Maryland from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. The disruptions were forewarned in an email sent to the student body by Pat Hogan, executive vice president and chief operating officer.

“The president’s visit will impact traffic patterns and cause some temporary road closures Monday during commuting hours in the afternoon and early evening,” Hogan said in the email. “As a result, school systems in Charlottesville and Albemarle plan to dismiss early.”

The presidents will return to Washington for a state dinner Tuesday evening.

Published February 11, 2014 in FP test, News

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