SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — When visitors the Old State Capitol, tour guides explained this was the location Lincoln held his famous “House Divided” speech. Now, any new visitors will be greeted with a plaque detailing another presidential visitor.
State leaders, including Governor Pritzker, unveiled a new plaque Wednesday on the lawn detailing Barack Obama’s two announcements from his 2008 presidential campaign.
The plaque was made to honor two speeches he made at the Old State Capitol. On Feb. 10, 2007, Obama announced he was running for president to a crowd of 17,000. And on Aug. 3, 2008, he introduced Joe Biden as his running mate and Vice President pick.
“Then-Senator Obama recognized the relevance of the Old State Capitol to today’s world when he came here to make his two historic campaign announcements, and we honor him today not in spite of this building’s historic past but because of it,” David Joens, president of the Old State Capitol Foundation, said.
Before running for president, Obama was a Senator for Illinois and an Illinois State Senator. One of Obama’s staffers said the Old State Capitol was a symbolic backdrop for his campaign.
“Then-Senator Obama’s decision to launch his campaign in Springfield was a reflection of lessons he learned working as a state legislator, lessons that continue to guide the work he does today in his post-presidency,” Anita Decker-Breckenridge, President Obama’s current chief of staff, said. “The belief in what we can accomplish when we come together to demand change is what drew 17,000 supporters to Springfield on that cold February morning 15 years ago. That same spirit animated his campaign for the White House and continues to inspire new generations today.”
Current legislators also recognized Obama’s legacy on the state.
“President Obama is a trailblazer and a role model who represents the very best of Illinois,” Illinois Speaker of the House Chris Welch said. “While forging a path to the White House, he carried with him the best qualities and characteristics of the people of this diverse state. This marker is a lasting reminder of this journey, and of the countless individuals across our country who were inspired to dream of a better America.”