News / USA

Visiting North Carolina, Obama Again Focuses on Jobs

President Barack Obama speaks to employees and guests at Cree, Inc., a leading manufacturer of energy-efficient LED lighting, in Durham, N.C., June 13, 2011
President Barack Obama speaks to employees and guests at Cree, Inc., a leading manufacturer of energy-efficient LED lighting, in Durham, N.C., June 13, 2011

Multimedia

President Barack Obama on Monday continued his visits to companies across the nation that he calls examples of how new technology and innovation will help add jobs to the U.S. economy.  Mr. Obama also met with a special council composed of top corporate CEOs (chief executive officers), as well as labor and education figures, advising him on job creation efforts.

The president's visit to Cree, a company in Durham, North Carolina manufacturing LED lighting, was part of his effort to spotlight success stories amid a still-sputtering economic recovery and recent disappointing employment figures.

As he has done in similar visits across the nation in recent months, Obama toured the company's assembly plant, shaking hands with some of the factory's 1,500 employees.

Cree received a $39 million tax credit as part of the president's economic recovery stimulus, allowing the company to add 375 new factory jobs.

The White House sees Cree, which also exports products overseas and established a factory in China last year, as part of a "success story" made possible by administration stimulus funds and tax incentives.

It was a return trip for the president: he visited the company, which has 5,000 workers globally, as a presidential candidate in 2008.  He told employees Monday that they are setting an example, developing energy-efficient products and helping with broader job creation.

"So you are helping to lead a clean energy revolution, you are helping to lead a comeback of American manufacturing," said President Obama. "This is a company where the future is being won."

North Carolina is among states hard hit by the U.S. economic recession: its 9.5 percent unemployment rate is several points above the recently-reported 9.1 percent national level.  It's also one of several politically-important states for the president's 2012 re-election efforts.

Opposition Republicans tried to turn the visit to their political advantage.  A Republican National Committee news release cited the company's investment in China as part of what it called proof that recovery funds are flowing to a major economic competitor.

The White House used the visit to organize the first meeting outside of Washington of President Obama's Jobs and Competitiveness Council, formed earlier this year to advise Mr. Obama on steering the economy toward a faster recovery and to help create jobs.

Headed by the CEO of General Electric, Jeffrey Immelt, the council includes business executives from major sectors of the U.S. economy as well as labor unions.

In remarks to the 23 council members, Obama repeated a description he has used frequently in recent weeks about the economy encountering "headwinds," but said there are reasons to be optimistic.

"It's important for us not to pretend we have fully recovered like we need to," said Obama. "There are a lot of people who are still hurting out there.  But it is also important to remember that we have got enormous assets, we have got everything that is going to be required to make these structural adjustments to make sure that we are competitive.  It doesn't require radical changes, it requires just some common sense approaches to problems."

The president said growing jobs and fixing the economy will not require "radical changes" but what he called "common sense ideas" to improve U.S. competitiveness, adding he hopes these will not be subject to "the usual political gamesmanship" in Washington.

As the president spoke in North Carolina, his administration unveiled the latest stage of an effort it says has identified $33 billion so far in federal government waste.  The new effort came complete with a four minute video in which the president and Vice President Joe Biden appeared.

OBAMA: "We're calling it the Campaign to Cut Waste, and I know Joe is the right man to lead it, because nobody messes with Joe."

BIDEN: "There is a new standard by which the government is going to function from this point on.  The American people are entitled to transparency.  By that, I mean they are entitled to be able to figure out where their dollars are going and they are entitled to accountability, to make sure that we are using the dollars for what we said it was for."

In his remarks in North Carolina Monday, President Obama said again that despite the creation of more than 2 million jobs over the past 15 months, many Americans continue to struggle.   But he said he is "absolutely optimistic" that the United States has everything it needs to succeed in the 21st century.  

You May Like

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countriesi
X
December 16, 2014 2:14 PM
Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.
Video

Video Indonesian Province to Expand Sharia Law

Indonesia has the world’s largest Muslim population and a legal system based on Dutch civil law and Indonesian government regulations. But in a 2001 compromise with separatists, Aceh province in Sumatra island’s north was allowed to implement Sharia law. Since then, religious justice has become increasingly strict. VOA correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh.
Video

Video Some Russian Businesses Thrive in Poor Economy

Capital flight, the fall in oil prices and Western sanctions are pushing Russia's staggering economy into recession. But not companies are suffering. The ruble’s drop in value has benefited exporters as well as businesses targeting increasingly frugal customers. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.

All About America

AppleAndroid