Obama swaps debate prep for Hoover dam

2012-10-03 12:09

Boulder City - US President Barack Obama on Tuesday broke out of his debate camp and toured the vast bulk of the Hoover Dam, on the eve of his head-to-head showdown with Mitt Romney.

The horseshoe shaped concrete dam, on the Colorado River on the Nevada and Arizona borders 50km west of Las Vegas, is a symbol of public works projects undertaken in the aftermath of the 1930s Great Depression.

Obama said he had had no idea the dam was so close to Las Vegas, where he has been a frequent visitor over the last four years, until he was told by a staff member.

"It's spectacular and I've never seen it before. I said, 'well, we've got to go check it out'."

Obama was told by Rob Skordas, the assistant dam manager for history and operational logistics, that the dam was built by 28 000 men.

It was dedicated in 1935 by then president Franklin Roosevelt, who took office in the Great Depression and has been mentioned by Obama as he seeks to steer the US economy back to health following its worst crisis since the 1930s.

The president has been staying in a secluded Nevada resort as he hones his skills for the first of three debate clashes with Republican Romney in Denver, Colorado on Wednesday.

He ignored questions shouted to him by reporters about how his debate practice was going.