Obama goes small on Texas jobs tour
May 9th, 2013
07:50 PM ET
12 months ago

Obama goes small on Texas jobs tour

Austin, Texas (CNN) – In Texas on Thursday, President Barack Obama used some small-scale campaign tactics to help push his political message.

On a one-day trip the White House called a “Middle Class Jobs and Opportunity Tour,” the president made four separate stops.

He visited with groups of students, local residents, entrepreneurs and tech professionals and toured a high school robotics classroom. He also ate lunch with workers and watched demonstrations at a tech start-up incubator.

Obama’s two speeches were more policy prescriptions than campaign rallies. The rhetoric was less soaring, the crowds were tamer and the message was partly aimed at pushing back against pessimistic perceptions of the U.S. economy, which has recovered slowly from recession.

“You might not know this because if you listen to all the doom and gloom in Washington, in politics, and you’re watching cable TV sometimes, you might get kind of thinking nothing is going right,” the president said, addressing a crowd of 400 students, teachers and local officials at Manor New Technology High School. “But the truth is there’s a lot of reasons for us to feel optimistic about where we’re headed as a country, especially after all the tough times that we’ve been through over the last several years.”

On a conference call with reporters, Deputy White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said the president’s trip to Austin was intended to build on the themes he laid out in his State of the Union address in February: job creation, educating the American work force and expanding the middle class.

“[The trip is] an opportunity for the president to illustrate what he views as priorities for expanding the middle class,” Earnest said.

Gene Sperling, director of the president’s National Economic Council, added that middle class job creation has been a constant focus of Obama’s economic policy. But the U.S. economy, he added, is a “story that is still being written and is dependent on policies.”

With the right policies, Sperling said the country will be “on a path to a manufacturing renaissance.”

Those policies include two executive actions announced as part of the trip. One creates three new Manufacturing Innovation Institutes and a second ordering newly released government data be made digitally available for free.

The manufacturing institutes will be partnerships between the business community, higher education and the federal government geared toward the development and production of new technologies.

Combined, the three new institutes will cost $200 million, Sperling said. That money will come from across several government agencies. The Department of Defense will contribute $100 million, the Department of Energy will contribute $70 million, and the Department of Commerce and the National Science Foundation will contribute $30 million each.

Already, the Obama administration has created one such institute in Ohio, and it will encourage states to compete for the right to host one of the new ones.

As for why the president chose Austin as the site of his renewed push for growth-centered policies, the president said the area is representative of a lot of innovative communities around the country.

“There are some terrific things going on in this area, in communities like Manor,” the president said. “And there are terrific things going on in communities all across the country that are good models for all of America to follow.”

After meeting the president on the tarmac in Austin, Texas Governor and former GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry was more boastful about why Obama chose his state to visit.

“He didn’t go to Detroit,” Perry said. “He didn’t go to Chicago. He didn’t go to some of the cities in California that have declared bankruptcy. He came to Austin, Texas, and he came here because we are a success story. Whether you are playing for the red team or whether you are playing for the blue team you like to hang out with a winner and Texas is a winner.”


Filed under: Jobs • President Obama • Texas
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. Data Driven

    Yo, Cowboy Fonzi, he didn't go to Dallas, he didn't go to Midland. He went to Austin. Austin is on the Blue Team; hence the success.

    May 9, 2013 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  2. Guest

    Obama, Texas is doing just fine without your Socialist crap. You just can't stand the fact that a smaller government that does not over-regulate businesses and private life, and does not over tax a citizen's income and property actually does work. Your answer to everything, Obama, is "what can government do for you?". What government can do for me, Obama, is get the hell out of my life!

    May 9, 2013 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  3. buongiorno

    just more talk and very late on agenda, that was dated to begin years back, their is no room for error. THATS ALL I'VE SEEN!

    May 9, 2013 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  4. U.S. Citizen

    He's campaign is non stop in pushing his Statism upon us all.

    May 9, 2013 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  5. lala lolo

    howdy Mr. President, welcome to the great state of Texas

    May 9, 2013 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  6. InvaderZim

    It's hilarious to see Rick Perry claiming credit for Austin's economic success during the recession and attracts Sillicon Valley type investment not because Rick Perry holds prayer meetings and wills it so, but because it's good business, Austin is a great place to live and work, and they can hire quality people. Austin is a liberal, high-tech university town, and couldn't be more philosophically different from Governor Goodhair and his cronies and lackeys, who are doing everything possible to bring the city to heel under his thousand-dollar boots because of his Aggie inferiority complex (not saying A&M grads are in any way inferior to UT grads, but Perry sure seems to think so). Heck, the Republican Texas Legislature makes special laws that only affect Travis County, like not allowing the county to ban gun shows from county property. I wish Obama had simply snubbed him like the last time, when Perry tried to blindside the president with a letter and he refused to accept it.

    May 9, 2013 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  7. andi lee

    Let's just see if Texas can be bought.

    May 10, 2013 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  8. Getoverit

    So this trip accomplished nothing. No surprise there. Move along. Nothing to see here.

    May 10, 2013 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  9. TW

    Obama isn't worthy to stand alongside the Texas flag.

    May 10, 2013 01:01 am at 1:01 am |
  10. Larry in Houston

    ""He didn’t go to Detroit,” “He didn’t go to Chicago. He didn’t go to some of the cities in California that have declared bankruptcy. He came to Austin, Texas, and he came here because we are a success story. Whether you are playing for the red team or whether you are playing for the blue team you like to hang out with a winner and Texas is a winner, Perry said"”
    well, I'm not a huge fan of Gov. Perry, but I will have to admit that on this one, he's right. This is 2013, and I don't think Ann Richards nor LBJ can turn this state blue, if they were alive today. There's three cities that will pretty much stay blue, but as for the rest of the state, it's going to stay red. (it's Houston /Austin/San Antonio) They are literally thousands of employers that is looking for people to work, in Houston only, let alone the other cities & towns.

    May 10, 2013 01:06 am at 1:06 am |
  11. Free Man in the Republic of Texas

    Watch "MY" finger...

    ALL of america can be like Detroit

    FORWARD >>> >>> >>>
    Yes WE Can

    May 10, 2013 07:18 am at 7:18 am |