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


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

Guatemala Mudslide Death Toll Rises to 86

Death toll is expected to continue to rise as emergency crews dig through tons of earth for an estimated 350 people still missing More

Debris Found in Search for Missing Ship

Objects located Sunday have not yet been confirmed to be from the 240 meter container ship, El Faro, which disappeared in the eye of Hurricane Joaquin, according to US Coast Guard More

Survivor: Gunman Spared 'Lucky One' to Give Police Message

Law enforcement official says a manifesto of several pages was recovered; contents not revealed More

This forum has been closed.
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.
Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europei
Luis Ramirez
October 02, 2015 4:45 PM
European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video First Self-Driving Truck Debuts on European Highways

The first automated semi-trailer truck started its maiden voyage Friday, Oct. 2, on a European highway. The Daimler truck called 'Actros' is the first potentially mass-produced truck whose driver will be required only to monitor the situation, similar to the role of an airline captain while the plane is in autopilot mode. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Migrant Influx Costs Europe, But Economy Could Benefit

The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants is testing Europe’s ability to respond – especially in the poorer Balkan states. But some analysts argue that Europe will benefit by welcoming the huge numbers of young people – many of them well educated and willing to work. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

Video New Fabric Helps Fight Dust-Related Allergies

Many people around the world suffer from dust-related allergies, caused mainly by tiny mites that live in bed linen. Polish scientists report they have successfully tested a fabric that is impenetrable to the microscopic creatures. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video Burkina Faso's Economy Deeply Affected by Political Turmoil

Political turmoil in Burkina Faso over the past year has taken a toll on the economy. The transitional government is reporting nearly $70 million in losses in the ten days that followed a short-lived coup by members of the presidential guard earlier this month. The crisis shut businesses and workers went on strike. With elections on the horizon, Emilie Iob reports on what a return to political stability can do for the country's economic recovery.

Video Fleeing Violence, Some Syrians Find Refuge in Irbil

As Syrians continue to flee their country’s unrest to seek new lives in safer places, VOA Persian Service reporter Shepol Abbassi visited Irbil, where a number Syrians have taken refuge. During the religious holidy of Eid al-Adha, the city largely shut down, as temperatures soared. Amy Katz narrates his report.

Video Nigeria’s Wecyclers Work for Reusable Future in Lagos

The streets and lagoons of Africa's largest city - Lagos, Nigeria - are often clogged with trash, almost none of which gets recycled. One company is trying to change that. Chris Stein reports for VOA from Lagos.

Video Sketch Artist Helps Catch Criminals, Gives a Face to Deceased

Police often face the problem of trying to find a crime suspect based on general descriptions that could fit hundreds of people in the vicinity of the crime. In these cases, an artist can use information from witnesses to sketch a likeness that police can show the public via newspapers and television. But, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, such sketches can also help bring back faces of the dead.

Video Thailand Set to Build China-like Internet Firewall

Thai authorities are planning to tighten control over the Internet, creating a single international access point so they can better monitor content. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok on what is being called Thailand’s own "Great Firewall."

Video Croatian Town’s War History Evokes Empathy for Migrants

As thousands of Afghanistan, Iraqi and Syrian migrants pass through Croatia, locals are reminded of their own experiences with war and refugees in the 1990s. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from the town of Vukovar, where wartime scars still are visible today.

Video Long Drought Affecting California’s Sequoias

California is suffering under a historic four-year drought and scientists say even the state's famed sequoia trees are feeling the pain. The National Park Service has started detailed research to see how it can help the oldest living things on earth survive. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs