Obama launches day 2 of Twin Cities visit, heads to Lake Harriet

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After a full afternoon in the Twin Cities Thursday that included a town hall-style meeting at Minnehaha Park, several stops at area restaurants and shops, and an evening fundraiser, President Barack Obama is beginning the second day of his two-day Minnesota visit.

On Friday, the president’s last scheduled appearance is a speech, expected to be about the economy, at the Lake Harriet Band Shell. Roughly 2,000 people are expected. Follow along on live blogs by the Star Tribune and MPR News.

The speech offers Obama an opportunity to make a case that Democrats have not forgotten the middle class, the Associated Press notes.

Obama's effort to goad Congress to hike the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour has faltered, but a handful of states have responded to Obama's call to action by raising their own wage standards, including Minnesota.

"It must feel kind of discouraging, because it doesn't feel like what's being talked about in Washington has anything to do with what's going on in your lives day today," Obama told the Minnehaha crowd Thursday. "And it must feel as if sometimes you're just forgotten."

The president started his Minnesota visit Thursday by going to Matt's Bar in south Minneapolis for a Jucy Lucy lunch and ice teas with Rebekah Erler, a Twin Cities mother whose letter inspired him to start “day-in-the-life” visits around the country to bolster the middle class.

He then headed to the Minnehaha Park event, where he took questions from a friendly invitation-only crowd. Questions ranged in topic from the cost of college to gun violence and climate change. FOX 9 collected 11 quotes that summed up the Q and A.

The president sounded several optimistic messages. “Cynicism is popular these days,” Obama said. “Hope is better.”

Obama ended his afternoon with a trip to St. Paul, where he ducked into the Golden Fig on Grand Avenue, a Minnesota-made specialty foods shop. He bought salsa, the Pioneer Press reported. MPR News has a detailed description of the shop visit, during which Obama told the owner about the kayaker who went over raging Minnehaha Creek falls with a camera on his helmet.

He also popped into Grand Ole Creamery and chatted up customers:

Obama's last event of the evening was a fundraiser with about 60 people at the Minneapolis home of Sylvia and Sam Kaplan, who are major Obama contributors.

CityPages reports that the president stayed at the Bloomington Sheraton.

Check out images of the president's visit in slideshows on the Star Tribune and Pioneer Press.

Parking/travel restrictions around Lake Harriet today:

No parking in lots or along the streets noted below:
– Lake Harriet Parkway: Roseway Road to W 44th Street on west side of lake
– Roseway Road: Kings Highway to Lake Harriet Parkway
– William Berry Parkway
– Queen Avenue: W 40th Street to W 42nd Street
– W 42nd Street: Linden Hills Blvd to Lake Harriet Parkway

No street parking on:
– Linden Hills Blvd: W 40th Street to W 42nd Street
– W 40th Street: Linden Hills Blvd to Queen Avenue

These facilities at Lake Harriet will close beginning at midnight Friday morning
– Pedestrian and bike trails from W 44th Street on west side of lake to Roseway Road
– Lake Harriet North Beach
– William Berry Playground
– Bread & Pickle
– Roberts Bird Sanctuary
– Lyndale Park Gardens/Rose Garden and parking lots
– No watercraft allowed on Lake Harriet
– No access to buoyed sailboats

Restrictions for Harriet neighborhood residents

Residents living on Queen Avenue S. between W. 40th Street and W. 42nd Street will be escorted by police to and from their homes from early Friday morning through the end of the event.

Ticketholders will take buses to the event from Parade Stadium. Area parking lots are closed to the public until after the event.

All restrictions will be lifted after the event is over.

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