|Updated: 3/21/2012 6:11 pm
||Published: 3/21/2012 5:43 pm
Air Force One is expected to touch down at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City Wednesday night, beginning President Barack Obama's first visit to Oklahoma as president.
Thursday morning Obama is scheduled to speak at an oil pipeline site in Cushing. The president is expected to talk about his "All of the Above" energy policy.
Wednesday afternoon Cushing was buzzing with excitement as the town prepared for the big visit. Marquee signs in front of gas stations and restaurants across town proudly welcomed President Obama.
"There's definitely a lot of action here," Cushing resident Paul Vandepoel said. "A lot more traffic than we've seen ever."
Vandepoel says the excitement in Cushing has been tangible for days since the president's visit was made public.
"It's certainly a big honor to have the president come visit us, for being such a small town," he said. "But it's not surprising, being that so much oil comes through Cushing."
It's that oil town mentality that had other residents speculating about what Obama might say.
"It would be interesting if he went ahead and went forward with approval for the TransCanada pipeline," fellow Cushing resident Jim Roop said. "Not just the piece going to the gulf coast, but the rest of it going back to Canada."
But preparing for the presidential visit is also a tremendous amount of work. Cushing police chief Terry Brannon said he'll never forget the first call he received from the Secret Service alerting him to the president's visit.
"It's immediately exciting, and also it's immediately overwhelming at the same time, because you begin to think about all the resources when the President of the United States comes to your community," Brannon said. "And we have never experienced that before."
Brannon's department of 15 officers will get help from the Secret Service, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, the Payne County Sheriff's Office and the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office on maintaining order and protecting the president.
But planning for absolutely everything and anything has been keeping Brannon awake at night.
"Either protest groups, or groups who are just wanting to potentially see the president, we're going to designate our Memorial Park as our public area," Brannon said.
And while Cushing isn't exactly Obama's traditional voter base, Mayor Evert Rossiter doesn't expect any problems.
"I didn't vote for him, and I'm a Republican,' Rossiter said. "But that don't mean I don't like him. You know, me and my wife have been married 42 years, and we have had a lot of disagreement, but we're still married."
"I don't think Obama has a lot of fans in the area," Vanderpoel said. "But I think anyone who isn't supportive of having the Commander In Chief come visit them is pretty foolish."