Obama embarks on jobs tour

President hopes to convince Americans economy is recovering.
Associated Press
May 10, 2013

Aiming to show he's still focused on creating jobs, President Barack Obama is beginning a series of quick trips around the country to resurrect ideas from his State of the Union address that became overshadowed by the intense debates over gun control, immigration and automatic spending cuts.

Obama on Thursday was dropping in on Austin, Texas, and using that bustling state capital as a backdrop to talk about attracting jobs, providing skills training and ensuring that hard work begets a decent living.

The president argued in February's State of the Union address that an economy that is growing and creating well-paying middle-class jobs must be the guiding principle for Washington policymakers. He proposed a broad expansion of pre-kindergarten to accommodate every 4-year-old, calling it a smart investment that will help improve educational outcomes, along with raising the federal minimum wage to $9 to help working families. Both ideas faced almost immediate resistance from some lawmakers who said the proposals cost too much and could stunt the economy, and Obama has barely discussed either proposal since then.

At the time of the speech, the debate over gun-control legislation was heating up following the December massacre of 20 first-graders and six educators at a Connecticut elementary school. A bipartisan group of senators was drafting a sweeping immigration bill desired by both political parties, and Congress and the White House were blaming each other for $85 billion in automatic spending cuts that would kick in March 1.

The series of field trips Obama begins Thursday marks an attempt by the president to remind the public that he hasn't forgotten about the issue that concerns them the most: the economy and jobs. The outing also comes amid questions about whether the second-term president has enough sway to get his agenda through a divided Congress before attention turns to the November 2014 midterm elections.

Since his second inauguration, Obama has lost a bid to expand background checks for gun buyers and was similarly unsuccessful at getting lawmakers to undo the spending cuts. On Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to begin considering and voting on scores of proposed changes to the immigration bill, which is facing opposition from conservatives, religious leaders and others.

His jobs proposals have stalled in Congress, with Republicans showing no interest in job-creation plans based on new federal spending. They also argue that Obama's regulatory regime and new health care law — the president's signature domestic policy achievement to date — are hindering more robust job growth.

"The president doesn't seem to understand that it's his policies that are undermining economic growth and job creation," House Speaker John Boehner said Thursday as the president departed.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell ridiculed Obama's trip as mere image-building.

"If you're someone who's all about the visual, then of course putting on a pair of goggles or showing up at a factory is a great way to at least look like you're doing something about job creation," he said.

By traveling to Texas to begin this renewed attention to his jobs initiatives, Obama is choosing a state represented by two of the most conservative Republican members of the U.S. Senate — John Cornyn and tea party hero Ted Cruz. Texas also has the second-highest Hispanic population in the country, an attractive demographic group for Democrats and a key audience for Obama as he also pushes for an overhaul of immigration laws.

Obama's effort to highlight jobs and the economy is buoyed by last Friday's positive jobs report, which found that the unemployment rate had dipped to a four-year low of 7.5 percent in April and employers had added 165,000 jobs — and that far more jobs were added in in February and March than previously thought.

"He's focusing on economic issues that are at the core of his agenda, and have always been at the core of his agenda," White House press secretary Jay Carney said.

But the slowly improving economy masks the stagnant wages and fewer working hours that strike directly at the president's base of support — young people, racial minorities and the less affluent. The average unemployment rate in the first three months of the year was 7.7 percent, but the rate was 13.6 percent for blacks and 9.5 percent for Latinos.

Before Obama departed Washington for a stay of about five hours in Texas, the White House announced a pair of initiatives it said would help the economy in the absence of action by Congress.

The administration announced the launch of a competition to create three new Manufacturing Innovation Institutes, partnerships among businesses, universities and government to help U.S.-based manufacturers and workers create good jobs. Five federal agencies — Defense, Energy, Commerce, NASA and the National Science Foundation — are putting $200 million toward the effort. The president also will ask Congress for a one-time investment of $1 billion to create a nationwide network of 15 such institutes.

The White House also announced an executive order and other steps to make government data more easily available to entrepreneurs, researchers and others who can then use the information to create new products and services, build businesses and create jobs.

Obama planned to visit Manor New Tech High School near Austin, where the curriculum is based on science, technology, engineering and math. He'll hold separate meetings with middle-class workers and technology entrepreneurs, and visit Applied Materials, a high-tech company whose products help make goods like smartphones, flat-screen TVs and solar panels more affordable, according to its website.

___

Associated Press writer Jim Kuhnhenn contributed to this report.

___

Follow Darlene Superville on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dsupervil...

 

Comments

Rich Close

hours on vacation and golf (976 hours)
hours in economic meetings of ANY KIND (474.4 hours).

He's a loser as a person and as a president.

http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Gov...

Bluto

looser ? Huh .

luvblues2

(Hooked On Phonics). lol

Contango

Give the guy a break. Mr. Obama WAS pretty "loose" during his Choom Gang days. :)

shucks

I"ll bet you smoked dope, Cont.

deertracker

It's "loser" brainiac!

Rich Close

I'm no longer amazed that Obama became President; many being concerned more about typographical errors than Obama's ineptness, his crimes concerning the murders of Americans in Benghazi or how Obamacare's full potential of economic destruction starts in 2014.
I suspect many change their views concerning whats really important in the next few months.

luvblues2

Every POTUS since I have been able to vote, was not of my choice. Nothing surprises me. Follow the money...

margaritaville88

A Jobs Tour ? Really ? This will be a short tour !! lol

swiss cheese kat

Its the blue team Jobs tour. Austin Tx is a blue team city surrounded by a red state. Baltimore is the next stop on the blue team city Jobs tour.

WHY is it the republican's fault that Obama is incompetent?

Contango

About the only jobs that this economy is "creating" are the part-time ones in order to fill-in for those workers whose hours have been cut due to Pres. Obama's CommieCare employer mandates.

The "true" national unemployment rate (U-6) was 13.9% in Apr.

Without the Federal Res.'s QE (money printing) and ZIRP, this economy would be flat on it's back.

If you wanna thank ANYONE, thank Fed. Chair Bernanke, not the Puppet-in-Chief.

http://www.bls.gov/news.release/...

KnuckleDragger

Once the welfare crowd finally decides to get out of bed, you are gonna pay for that comment. LOL

deertracker

Why is everything always about welfare with you? What makes you judge and jury? How do you know soooooooooo much about welfare recipients? It is easy for those like you to judge others after receiving so much help from the government yourself and it is hypocritical. Well, I also work in healthcare and I see who and what color show up with the Medicaid card and I still don't judge. Try it!

WiseManOnceSaid

It's funny that the guy feels special because he's posting at 10am and "those welfare people" aren't awake yet. I'm not one of those welfare people nor am I a liberal but I find it comical that he probably isn't at work yet complaining about people not working. You can cry about Obama or whatever clever name you put (Obozo Nobama)but the people voted him in. As a libertarian I would still rather have him than that idiot Mittens. The most disturbing part of America is the fact that there is no bipartisanship. It's a for us or against us mentality that has grown and compromise is out of the question. Almost just as disturbing (especially in the Sandusky area) is the number of "confused republicans" who are republican over "moral" issues and guns and such, yet have no idea what Republican legislature would do to them.

luvblues2

You have been misled, WMOS. The way it works is that the repubs and dems are just two cheeks on the same butt.

We are the stuff that comes out from in between them.

Just ask 'em.

Contango

"As a libertarian I would still rather have him than that idiot Mittens."

"Obamny" won.

In relation to the long-term fiscal and societal health of the country, it DIDN'T and it DOESN'T matter.

Mr. Romney would have just possibly delayed our stepping closer toward the edge of the fiscal canyon.

WiseManOnceSaid

With what Paul Ryan's budget? C'mon. I do know that you are not one of the confused republicans i referred to. You have enough wit and financial savvy to be a true republican. But what is good for business is not necessarily good for the customer.

Contango

Ain't a Repub.

I was once a very active member of the Libertarian Party and had dinner with Pres. and VP candidates Andre Marrou and Nancy Lord.

I vote Libertarian whenever possible.

Ryan's budget only would delay the inevitable.

Central banks around the world are printing. This is the beginning of the last gasp of fiat currency.

It ain't about politics - it's financial.

WiseManOnceSaid

I agree. Central Banking needs to stop. The only two presidents to issue non-interest bearing notes....... Lincoln and Kennedy. Ron Paul is a little "controversia" as many say, but had Gary Johnson had a chance I truly believe he would have done better than anyone else. IMO his record as NM gov was impeccable. I believe he vetoed more unneeded things than the other 49 gov's combined.

I sometimes depict myself as a Progressive Libertarian. Sounds ridiculous, but I believe a gov should be like a ref of a game. Make sure the game is fair and things that should be done are, but not making themselves a part of the game. Your thoughts?

Contango

@ WMOS:

End world-wide central bank money printing? They can't and won't:

http://mises.org/daily/6081/The-...

IMO, none of this political philosophizing ultimately matters.

The U.S. is sliding toward socialism (communism). It's only a matter of WHEN - not if. Fabian socialism has been the game plan for decades.

Protect you and your own as best you can.

The Big Dog's back

Did your relatives come here in the 40's from Germany winnie?

Contango

DERP!

shucks

Via Argentina?

44846GWP

You had dinner with who? Boy, I bet they are still talking about that! I'm sure you didn't pay either.

shucks

.

KnuckleDragger

Glad to to see brainless man and queertracker have finally awaken from their drunken stupor. Yup, some of us are up by 5 am because we actually have to work to support you losers.

KnuckleDragger

Still jealous because your wife is paying for my doctorate I see. Go back to bed deerturd, she won't be home from work for a few more hours.

KnuckleDragger

It's nice to see the President, by starting his tour in Texas, is finally admitting that Right to Work is the way to create jobs. He describes Austin as a bustling community while places like Cleveland and Toledo are depressing thanks to the Unions driving jobs away.

deertracker

It's bustling with minimum wage jobs. Those same workers still need government assistance.

KnuckleDragger

Never been to Texas I see. I thought you didn't judge? By the way, median household income in Ohio $45749, median household income Texas $49392 (US Census). The best places to make a living #3 Texas, #13 Ohio (CBS News). Yup, looks like good ole union ohio doing so much better than RTW Texas. I hope the healthcare you deliver isn't as substandard as the research you do.

Pages