Republicans welcome Obama in Knoxville; tea party folk hold a ‘laugh-in’

President Obama will have three Tennessee Republican congressmen with him on Air Force One when he flies to Knoxville today – U.S. Rep. John J. Duncan Jr. along with Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker.

Others will be welcoming him on the ground, ranging from Gov. Bill Haslam to recently-elected state Rep. Eddie Smith, reports the News Sentinel under the headline “Partisan posturing not making the trip with Obama.”

“Any time you get a president that comes to town, it’s great because it puts a spotlight on the community,” Smith said.

In a district that flipped parties, Smith sees the value of reaching across party lines to get things done. That’s one reason, according to Smith, that he’s going to see the Democratic president in person.

“We can disagree on how we get there and some politics,” Smith said. “At some point you have to sit down and work together.”

Granted, a state legislator may not work with the leader of the free world on much legislation, but Smith does recognize common bonds.

“There is a lot more that unites us than divides us,” he said.

…For those not pleased with Obama’s visit, limited roadside access to the presidential motorcade is a problem.

Instead of standing along Pellissippi Parkway in protest, the Knoxville Tea Party has asked its members to stage a “laugh in.”

Details came in an email to members Thursday.

“With security not allowing people on the near roads or overpasses — and no release of what time his majesty will decide to grace us — we’re taking another tack. If there’s one thing dictators hate — it’s being made fun of. So — we’re going to unleash a media ‘Laugh In protest,’ ” the email advised readers.

Members were encouraged to inundate websites of local media, including the News Sentinel, with posts about Obama, “to protest with humor.”