The national spotlight shone on Bexley when President Barack Obama visited Capital University in the closing days of one of the most hotly-contested presidential elections in history.

The national spotlight shone on Bexley when President Barack Obama visited Capital University in the closing days of one of the most hotly-contested presidential elections in history.

During his Nov. 1 appearance at the Capital Center Field House, Obama urged the estimated 5,800 attendees to vote early and support Hillary Clinton as well as state and local Democratic candidates.

"Ohio's always a battleground state," Obama said. "I was here so many times in both my campaigns, I had pockets full of Buckeyes."

Before Obama took the podium, Capital President Elizabeth Paul, Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther and Bexley Mayor Ben Kessler welcomed the attendees. Several others addressed the audience, including U.S. Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-OH 3rd District).

Kessler said the city provided support services and personnel for the event, including the city's fire inspector and eight police officers in addition to the 54 police officers from the city of Columbus.

"Lots of different agencies and jurisdictions facilitate a presidential visit," Kessler said.

Rather than a partisan endorsement of a candidate, Capital hosted Obama's appearance to promote diverse political discourse, Paul said.

"As a community that celebrates free inquiry, critical thinking, civil dialogue and the free exchange of ideas, it is no coincidence that Capital finds itself at the center of political debate among presidential candidates, their supporters and opponents, and those who want to observe the process," Paul said in a statement posted to the university's website prior to the event. "There is history here."

Paul noted that Capital has hosted many presidential candidates, including Green Party candidate Jill Stein earlier this fall. In the four weeks leading up to the 2008 election, Capital was the site of appearances by Republican presidential nominee John McCain and then-Gov. Sarah Palin, as well as Libertarian presidential candidate Bob Barr, Constitution presidential candidate Chuck Baldwin, and Michelle Obama, when her husband was a U.S. senator representing Illinois and was a Democratic presidential candidate.

Capital also hosted Obama during the 2012 presidential campaign as well as an appearance by Republican candidate Mitt Romney. In 1996, former presidents Gerald Ford and George H. W. Bush appeared with Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole on the Mees Hall stage just four days before Election Day.

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