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President Barack Obama on Thursday used America’s pastime to tout the economic benefits of tourism and promote new initiatives aimed at encouraging international travelers to visit the United States.
The president visited the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., to unveil measures his administration is taking to make it easier and faster for international travelers to get into the country. The policies will result in more dollars for local economies, he said.
“When visitors come here, they don’t just visit the hall,” Obama said. “They rent cars, they stay at hotels, they eat at restaurants.”
Obama signed a presidential memorandum giving the heads of Homeland Security and Commerce Department four months to develop a plan to reduce wait times for international travelers and work with 15 of the nation’s largest airports to streamline entry into the country.
“If they come into JLK faster, if they come into LaGuardi faster, then they can get to Cooperstown faster,” Obama said. “And they can start seeing Joe DiMaggio’s glove faster. And they can see Babe Ruth’s bat faster.”
During his visit, the president also donated the Chicago White Sox jacket he wore when he threw out the first pitch of the 2009 All-Star Game. He did not, however, donate the jeans he wore during that appearance, which fashion critics widely panned as “Mom Jeans.”
“There was also some interest in the jeans I wore that day, but Michelle retired those jeans quite a while back,” Obama joked.