TAMPA -- President Barack Obama arrived Tuesday evening at Tampa's MacDill Air Force Base in advance of meeting with military leaders to talk strategy against Islamic State militants.
Air Force One touched down at 6:30 p.m. ahead of schedule. Obama was greeted by dignitaries including Rep. Cathy Castor, D-Tampa; Gen. Lloyd Austin III, leader of U.S. Central Command; Gen. Joseph Votel, leader of the U.S. Special Operations Command; and Col. Daniel H. Tulley, commander of the 6th Air Mobility Wing at MacDill.
Obama flew here after visiting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta to discuss the Ebola outbreak.
At the base, the president worked a rope line to greet about 80 to 100 uniformed troops who had gathered for his arrival.
"How you all doing?"
Obama asked the troops. "What's going on, everybody?"
He spent a few minutes shaking hands and greeting the group, some of whom used camera phones to take pictures of themselves with Obama in the background.
He then dropped by a military spouse appreciation reception being held at the Harbor Bay Community Center on the base. Obama spent about 45 minutes at the event, which was closed to reporters.
His motorcade then left the base along Dale Mabry Highway, got on the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway and zoomed into downtown. Scores of people lined the route to watch.
A crowd of perhaps 70 gathered outside the downtown Tampa Hilton Hotel, where he was spending the night, to await his arrival. His motorcade arrived about 8:15 p.m.
On Wednesday, Obama meets with military leaders at MacDill to discuss the strategy against the Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria.
He is expected to issue a statement to reporters afterward.
Staff writer Keeley Sheehan contributed to this report.