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New Hampshire city to close schools, bill Obama campaign over visit

A New Hampshire city council reportedly is asking President Obama to cover the city's extra costs during his visit Friday, which is also forcing area schools to close down.

The Portsmouth City Council voted 5-4 on Tuesday to bill the Obama campaign, Portsmouth Patch reported, following a fierce debate over additional security costs the city will incur during his visit -- which is also forcing three schools to close due to logistical challenges, according to local press reports.

The president and first lady Michelle Obama are expected to hold a campaign event Friday at Strawbery Banke Museum, along with Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill Biden.

Because the visit will require several road closures, the Portsmouth School Department announced it would cancel school for the day -- a decision that has angered many parents, especially those who must hire babysitters to watch their children, SeacoastOnline.com reported.

"I just think it's unbelievable," parent Kathy Logan told the website. "All of a sudden, the president is coming to Portsmouth and everything has to shut down. I don't think it's right."

She said she blames the Obama campaign.

"I don't think the school department had much of a choice," she said. "I love being in New Hampshire. I love the fact that the politicians come through the state. I think we're so lucky, but I just don't think you shut down your whole school system."

Portsmouth Superintendent Ed McDonough sent an e-mail to parents announcing the closure of three of its schools on Friday due to Obama's visit.

"Because roads in and around the location of the president's visit will be effectively closed, the Portsmouth police department, in coordination with Secret Service personnel, recommended we dismiss three of ours schools by 11 a.m.," McDonough said in a statement on the district's website.

"Unfortunately, in order to dismiss both secondary and elementary schools, we must conduct two separate bus runs," McDonough said. "Given the high volume of traffic expected on Friday, we are better served to close all schools and reschedule a full day of school later in the year."

He apologized for "any inconvenience this may present."

Romney is also holding a campaign rally in New Hampshire on Friday, at Nashua's Holman Stadium, hours after Obama's event in Portsmouth.