Many U.S. Presidents, or presidents to be, have paid visits to God’s Country in the last 50 to 60 years. Donald Trump has not been to La Crosse since taking office, but he held a rally at the La Crosse Center in April of 2016. Barack Obama spoke on 2nd Street shortly before his 2008 election, and returned as president to UWL in 2015.
On Halloween of 1992, the first President Bush spent the night at the old Holiday Inn on the pike, as he sought re-election. Mr. Bush did a live interview with CNN the next morning, from local GOP headquarters on 5th Avenue. He was the first incumbent president to visit La Crosse since Gerald Ford in 1976. His son, George W. Bush, came to La Crosse three times during his first term, appearing at Logan High, the Omni Center, and the Loggers baseball park.
John Kennedy and Richard Nixon both spoke here in 1960, and Nixon returned in ’68. Jimmy Carter made two stops at UW-La Crosse before his election. And Ronald Reagan visited in 1976 and 1980…but he also addressed the La Crosse Chamber of Commerce in the 60’s, when he hosted the “General Electric Theater” on TV. Lots of chances to see presidents, yesterday in La Crosse.