By Jon Campbell, Albany Bureau
ALBANY President Barack Obama's bus tour through upstate New York is expected to cause road delays and temporary closures on the state Thruway this week, according to the Thruway Authority.
As is customary, specific details of Obama's route aren't being made public. But in an alert issued Wednesday morning, the Thruway Authority said motorists should stay flexible, as they may be temporarily blocked from re-entering certain roadways from Thruway exits and rest areas on Thursday and Friday between Buffalo and Syracuse.
According to the White House, Obama is scheduled to give speeches in Syracuse and the Buffalo area on Thursday, before he hosts a town hall discussion at Binghamton University on Friday and makes another appearance in Scranton, Pa.
The Thruway's alert also included this line: "President Obama is expected to visit the Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse areas as well as other parts of upstate."
When contacted, the Thruway Authority sought to clarify the news release, insisting it wasn't meant to suggest Obama is making a stop in the Rochester area. The Thruway connects Buffalo and Syracuse, running south of Rochester in between.
Meanwhile, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus and top GOP officials in New York and Pennsylvania offered a preemptive response Wednesday to Obama's upstate swing, knocking the president for everything from not doing more for young people to not taking more action to encourage hydraulic fracturing for natural gas.
"More campaigning isn't going to change the fact that the Obama presidency and Democratic policies have made life harder for young Americans," Priebus said. "You can be sure that the president will really take every single opportunity he can to do what he does best, which is talk and talk and talk, just like he's done for the last 4 1/2 years."
New York Republican Chairman Ed Cox said he was pleased Obama, a Democrat, will be visiting two State University of New York campuses, the University at Buffalo and Binghamton University. But he said SUNY graduates leave New York "for states with Republican governors and Republican legislatures."
The Friday tour stops appear to have generated the most interest from protesters, as Obama-a supporter of natural-gas drilling-heads from a state that hasn't allowed high-volume hydrofracking to one that has.