Obama to focus on economy in visit to Choctaw Nation

WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama will talk about expanding economic opportunity during a visit to the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.

The tribe is headquartered in Durant, in southeast Oklahoma, and Obama was making that his first stop Wednesday on a two-day visit to the state.

The Choctaw Nation is the country's third-largest Native American tribe, with about 200,000 members, and has been named a "Promise Zone" by the Obama administration.

Under the program, designated urban, rural and tribal communities are given an advantage when they apply for federal grants. They also benefit from more coordinated government assistance and could be singled out for tax incentives approved by Congress.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the Choctaw Nation has used the federal assistance it's received to create economic opportunities for the community.

In Oklahoma, Obama was continuing a weeklong focus on making the criminal justice system fairer by becoming the first president to visit a federal prison while in office.

Obama planned to meet Thursday with law enforcement officials and inmates at the El Reno Federal Correctional Institution, a medium-security facility for male offenders that's located west of Oklahoma City. El Reno housed Timothy McVeigh before he was executed for bombing an Oklahoma City federal building in 1997, killing 168 people.