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Obama Announces Proposal to Boost Manufacturing Innovation


President Barack Obama gestures during a speech on the economy at the Rolls-Royce engine manufacturing plant in Prince George, Virginia, March 9, 2012.

President Barack Obama gestures during a speech on the economy at the Rolls-Royce engine manufacturing plant in Prince George, Virginia, March 9, 2012.

U.S. President Barack Obama was on the road again on Friday, visiting a factory to discuss the economy and stronger U.S. manufacturing, before heading to Texas for more political campaigning.

For his latest remarks about the economy, the president chose a Rolls-Royce engine manufacturing plant in Virginia, just south of the nation's capital, that the White House calls an example of how more jobs can be created in the United States rather than overseas.

Since his State of the Union address in January, the president has been promoting his proposal for job "in sourcing." He used his remarks at the plant, which makes components for jet engines, to highlight a $1 billion proposal to create a National Network for Manufacturing Innovation.

Obama said these institutes would join with the most advanced engineering schools and innovative manufacturers to collaborate on new ideas and technology.

"We have got to have this all across the country. I want everybody thinking about how are we making the best products, how we are harnessing the best ideas, and making sure they are located here in the United States. And sparking this network of innovation across the country it will create jobs and will keep America in the manufacturing game," said Obama.

A White House statement said the plan would create 15 institutes to serve as regional hubs of manufacturing excellence. He said the goal is to help U.S. manufacturers become more competitive and encourage investment.

Obama also pointed to the latest positive news about job creation.

Employers added 227,000 jobs in February. Unemployment remained at 8.3 percent - good news for the president, whose re-election chances depend to a large degree on maintaining momentum in the economic recovery.

He said it is clear that more than three years after the financial crisis, much work remains to ensure that Americans seeking jobs can find them, but he pointed to good news for the manufacturing sector.

"More companies are bringing jobs back and investing in America and manufacturing is adding jobs for the first time since the 1990s," Obama said.

Alan Krueger, who heads the White House Council of Economic Advisors, said figures show that despite "adverse shocks" hampering growth, the economy added private sector jobs for 24 straight months, for a total of more than 3.9 million payroll positions.

Republicans were quick to note that unemployment remains above the 8-percent level.

In a statement, Republican John Boehner, Speaker of the House of Representatives, blamed Obama for "anti-business policies" and high gasoline prices.

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