First Lady Michelle Obama joined her husband, President Barack Obama in promoting his plan to boost the U.S. economy. The first couple spoke at a military base in Virginia about a provision to encourage employers to hire more veterans.
In the third and final day of his latest bus tour, the president went before a military audience to push the part of his jobs plan aimed at putting veterans to work.
“We ask our men and women in uniform to leave their families, our Guardsmen and Reservists to leave their jobs. We ask you to fight, to sacrifice, to risk your lives for our country. The last thing you should have to do is fight for a job when you come home,” said Obama.
The president received some unusually good economic news Wednesday, when several companies promised to hire large numbers of military veterans and spouses by the end of 2013.
His wife, Michelle, who has been campaigning for programs to help military families, made the announcement.
“So today they are committing to hiring 25,000 veterans and military spouses in the next two years,” said the first lady.
The speech at Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Hampton, Virginia, was Michelle Obama’s first public appearance on the president’s bus tour. Public opinion polls show the first lady remains popular, even as her husband’s approval ratings have declined.
Obama has spent three days trying to build public support for his economic proposals in the traditionally Republican states of Virginia and North Carolina. Both states supported his election bid in 2008, but his recent poll numbers there are down.
The president is asking lawmakers to approve tax credits for businesses that hire veterans, especially those who have been out of work for several months.
The Senate last week refused to vote on his entire $447-billion jobs plan. Congress will, instead, consider the legislation one piece at a time.