Obama: We can't get distracted
May 17th, 2013
02:41 PM ET
2 years ago

Obama: We can't get distracted

Baltimore (CNN) – After a week where the Obama administration appeared knocked off course by a number of controversies, President Barack Obama sought to get back on track Friday by focusing on his jobs agenda.

"I know it can seem frustrating sometimes when it seems like Washington's priorities aren't the same as your priorities…Others may get distracted by chasing every fleeting issue that passes by, but the middle class will always be my number one focus. Period," he said during a campaign-style stop at a dredge manufacturing company in Baltimore, the second leg of what the White House has dubbed his "Middle Class Jobs and Opportunity Tour."

While he didn't address the trio of controversies that have hit his administration-the renewed attention on the Benghazi attack, the IRS targeting of political groups and the Justice Department's subpoena of Associated Press phone records-the president made it clear that the country's main priority is improving the economy.

"The only thing holding us back is a lack of political will. Sometimes our leadership isn't focused where it needs to be focused," he later said, urging the audience to call members of Congress and push them to "focus on getting stuff done."

His comments came the same day he signed a presidential memorandum aimed to speed up the federal permitting processes for infrastructure projects–a move designed to boost jobs.

"We got to up our game," he said. To ensure the economy gets better, he said, the country needs to focus on bringing back manufacturing overseas, increasing wages and better educating and training workers. "That has to be what we're thinking about every single day."

House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer said the White House has "responded appropriately" to the recent dust-ups and agreed that Washington has been distracted, saying the GOP agenda in the House is "essentially nonexistent."

"This is the least productive time I think I've spent in Congress, we are wasting time," the congressman from Maryland told CNN. "All one needs to do is look at the agenda over the last month and see the emptiness of that agenda. It's not focused on jobs, not focused on fiscal responsibility."

Obama toured Ellicott Dredges–which helped dig the Panama Canal–during his Baltimore visit. Since 1885, the company has designed and manufactured more than 2,000 dredges and exports equipment to more than 100 countries. With 120 employees, Ellicott specializes in beach restoration and coastal protection, as well as dredging in canals, marinas, reservoirs, rivers, harbors, and lakes.

"I was told that one of your customers once named a dredge after President Clinton so I've got my fingers crossed. Never had a dredge named after me so I am looking forward to that," he said.

A bit of drama came before the president's speech, however. The company's owner, Peter Bowe, testified before a Congressional subcommittee Thursday in favor of the Keystone XL pipeline, a project he and many Republicans argue would create jobs.

Obama has not yet approved a large portion of the pipeline, which would bring oil from Canada's tar sounds down to the Gulf of Mexico. Environmental activists fiercely oppose the project, saying the ecological impact would far outweigh the benefits of job creation and energy independence.
Before his speech, Obama visited a Baltimore elementary school that provides comprehensive early childhood education and services, including the federal program Head Start.

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, Rep. Elijah Cummings, Democratic Sen. Barbara Mikulski, and Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake also attended the speaking event.

Last week the president kicked off his jobs tour in Austin, where he met with groups of students, local residents, entrepreneurs and tech professionals. He announced an executive action that creates manufacturing institutes in part sponsored by the federal government.

– CNN's Kevin Liptak contributed to this report


Filed under: Jobs • Maryland • President Obama
soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. just sayin

    After a week where the Obama administration appeared knocked off course by a number of controversies, President Barack Obama sought to get back on track Friday by focusing on his jobs agenda.
    ----

    jobs agenda???!!!! bwahahahahaha!!!! 4.5 years later and still no jobs after that 2010 summer of recovery and a trillion dollars down the tube. and the endless printing of money to pump up the economy and buy our own debt.

    seriously obama, enough of this clown act. nobody in their right mind believes you know anything about creating jobs at this point. i think this guy just likes to be the focus of adoring morons with these appearances. 4.5 years of talk, talk, talk, talk, talk. talk, talk, talk.... with no results.

    May 17, 2013 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  2. PaulCat

    Amen Mr. President.
    And also to continue:
    HILLARY "2016"

    Just waiting for her announcement so I can send in my donation to her campaign.
    .........HILLARY 2016...........

    May 17, 2013 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  3. Warren

    jobs agenda???!!!! bwahahahahaha!!!! 4.5 years later and still no jobs after that 2010 summer of recovery and a trillion dollars down the tube. and the endless printing of money to pump up the economy and buy our own debt.

    Couldn't be that the GOP clowns are blocking and spending more time on 2016?? Congress are the ones that should be creating Jobs, jobs, jobs. but they are too busy on a witch hunt, and trying to set up 2016

    May 17, 2013 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  4. Welshmadman

    Just Sayin....you'd better be careful or you'll end up getting audited and 2 months of phone records confiscated. This isn't the country that our forefathers created for us.....Hell....its not even the country my father fought for in WWII. Washington is corrupt and beyond repair. He promised change......we got change alright......changing into a socialist society.

    May 17, 2013 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    "talk, talk, talk.... with no results."

    You sure do.

    May 17, 2013 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  6. Gurgyl

    Benghazi is BS. I am glad IRS is nabbing conservative thugs–these guys should go after these so called Attorneys. These thugs are also looting the nation with dishonesty and Greed without any ethics. These animals are eating s$it for money. Sad.

    May 17, 2013 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  7. wade

    Officials on Benghazi: Mistakes made "but without malice"

    "We're portrayed by Republicans as either being lying or idiots," said one official. "It's actually closer to us being idiots."

    I bet Obama wishes the American people would get distracted. LOL......

    May 17, 2013 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  8. Anderson

    Someone name one thing within the last 4.5 years that the GOP has done on jobs.

    Yes, they all campaigned on it. But once they were elected, they just jointed in with the others (let's see who hate Obama the most game). This has really gotten old.

    May 17, 2013 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  9. ProudDem

    No jobs? It's people like you who deny all the metrics out there that lower the debate.

    May 17, 2013 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  10. Rudy NYC

    just sayin' wrote:

    jobs agenda???!!!! bwahahahahaha!!!! 4.5 years later and still no jobs after that 2010 summer of recovery and a trillion dollars down the tube. and the endless printing of money to pump up the economy and buy our own debt.
    -------------–
    Jobs agenda. The right wing would call it Democrat Class Warfare. That sound familiar to you? It should.

    Whatever happened to the Republican "Jobs, Jobs, Jobs" agenda, anyway? I think it got kicked to the curb when the GOP won in 2010, right after McConnell reminded the masses what the number one priority really should be.

    May 17, 2013 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  11. The Real Tom Paine

    -just sayin

    After a week where the Obama administration appeared knocked off course by a number of controversies, President Barack Obama sought to get back on track Friday by focusing on his jobs agenda.
    --

    jobs agenda???!!!! bwahahahahaha!!!! 4.5 years later and still no jobs after that 2010 summer of recovery and a trillion dollars down the tube. and the endless printing of money to pump up the economy and buy our own debt.

    seriously obama, enough of this clown act. nobody in their right mind believes you know anything about creating jobs at this point. i think this guy just likes to be the focus of adoring morons with these appearances. 4.5 years of talk, talk, talk, talk, talk. talk, talk, talk.... with no results.
    *****************
    BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH FOUR AND THE DOOR BLAH BLAH BLAH. Same lines, same rote responses, same lack of everything except hate. Hatred of the fact that, once again, the Democrats are cleaning up yet another GOP screwup, adn you can't face up to that.

    May 17, 2013 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  12. UpChuck.Liberals

    'Not Distracted', what is his golf game suffering? Focusing on Jobs, which ones, the one's they're destroying or the one's they're destroying? Use to be you had two jobs to get a head, now it's two jobs to supplement your food stamps. He want's something named after him??? How about an outhouse, at least THAT'S useful.

    May 17, 2013 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  13. The Real Tom Paine

    -Welshmadman

    Just Sayin....you'd better be careful or you'll end up getting audited and 2 months of phone records confiscated. This isn't the country that our forefathers created for us.....Hell....its not even the country my father fought for in WWII. Washington is corrupt and beyond repair. He promised change......we got change alright......changing into a socialist society.
    ***************
    Yes, and it all began in January 2009, right? The Right was the driving force in the country for 3 decades prior to Obama being elected: the train wreck he inherited was the result. By the way, you do know FDR was president in WW2, and he was responsible for creating many of the programs your father and otehrs took advantage of to move this country ahead. His last 6 years were spent fighting the Right Wing in this country as much as it was spent fighting the Japanese and the Nazis. Learn a little history before you post.

    May 17, 2013 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  14. Thomas

    @just sayin
    After a week where the Obama administration appeared knocked off course by a number of controversies, President Barack Obama sought to get back on track Friday by focusing on his jobs agenda.
    --

    jobs agenda???!!!! bwahahahahaha!!!! 4.5 years later and still no jobs after that 2010 summer of recovery and a trillion dollars down the tube. and the endless printing of money to pump up the economy and buy our own debt.

    seriously obama, enough of this clown act. nobody in their right mind believes you know anything about creating jobs at this point. i think this guy just likes to be the focus of adoring morons with these appearances. 4.5 years of talk, talk, talk, talk, talk. talk, talk, talk.... with no results.

    =========

    Let me try to understand you ?

    You want to change the subject from ,Benghazi , IRS , AP , Abortion , if Obama was born in Kenya , back to JOBS JOBS JOBS .

    Great ,
    Now pick up your phone and call your do nothing , obstructionist , cigaret smoking , gin drinking , golf ball fondling House Speaker John Boehner , pull his buns out of the tanning booth and have him sign the jobs bill !

    Better yet , come out of your bunker and take a look around , the market is improving , the housing market , sales are up,

    No thanks to you or your party !

    just sayin something dosn't make it true , look at Issa .

    May 17, 2013 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  15. Brian from CO

    just sayin said:

    jobs agenda???!!!! bwahahahahaha!!!! 4.5 years later and still no jobs after that 2010 summer of recovery and a trillion dollars down the tube. and the endless printing of money to pump up the economy and buy our own debt.

    ======================================================================================
    Here are just a few facts for just sayin.

    1.) The economy has added more jobs since Obama took office than it did in his predecessor’s entire eight years in office.

    2.) The CBO just announced that our annual deficit will be 640 billion this year, which is almost half of what it was under Bush's last budget.

    3.) The federal reserve has said on numurous occasions that it would discontinue it's QE program when the unemployment rate drops below 6.5%, or inflations reaches 2.5%.

    May 17, 2013 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  16. Montykoolaid

    2008 – 750,000 jobs lost A MONTH, almost 1,000,000 jobs A MONTH LOST

    Now- 50 months of straight of job growth. Stock markets hitting highs every day. Housing market is coming back. Auto companies not closed.

    Finally, the part that republicans just cant stand to hear.... THE DEFICIT IS FALLING FASTER UNDER OBAMA THAN ANYTIME IN THE LAST 25 YEARS.

    But go ahead. Complain, its all you have left.

    May 17, 2013 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  17. keep an eye on the prize

    CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS are all worried about Obama's image.

    Stay focused on the main issue. We have seen since 2008, the smoke and mirror approach to how this white house likes to run the business of the people. They have been found out. Liberal media can no longer protect him.

    Time to see things as they really are.

    America is tired of the lies. And, the over reach of this administration.

    2016 – Really put America first.

    2014 – vote very carefully and know your candidates. Test them. Don't believe everything they say or promise.

    Don't vote party, vote American values.

    May 17, 2013 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  18. Mike

    Jobs – hey was what the house GOP tea baggers ran on. Ask them where those jobs are at. Oh wait it's been passing multiple appeals of healthcare act, passing Abortion restrictions, investigating this Benghazi BS and basically doing absolutely nothing to move the country forward.

    May 17, 2013 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  19. Sniffit

    "Obama: We can't get distracted"

    Nothing would irritate the MSM more than people taking that advice.

    May 17, 2013 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  20. Travis

    I can't believe there are people still agreeing with the things this administration has/hasn't done.

    May 17, 2013 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  21. keep an eye on the prize

    If his lips are moving, listen for the next lie.

    May 17, 2013 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  22. The Real Tom Paine

    -UpChuck.Liberals

    'Not Distracted', what is his golf game suffering? Focusing on Jobs, which ones, the one's they're destroying or the one's they're destroying? Use to be you had two jobs to get a head, now it's two jobs to supplement your food stamps. He want's something named after him??? How about an outhouse, at least THAT'S useful.
    **************************************
    50 straight months of economic growth, more jobs added than his predecessor did in 8 years, our debt this year is half of what it was projected to be, and you are complaining? Get your head out of the bottom of the outhouse, and look around you. Idiot rightie kool aide drinker.

    May 17, 2013 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  23. Sheila

    I'm already saving up to donate to Hillary come 2016 – I should have saved around 500 bucks by then. she is the only one who deserves it, for the first woman POTUS – I can't wait !!

    May 17, 2013 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  24. Richard Long

    "Others may get distracted by chasing every fleeting issue that passes by, but the middle class will always be my number one focus. Period,”
    If he was focused on the Middle Class, then why, in his second term 100 day period, did he spend so much time on:
    Gun control
    Amnesty for Criminal Immigrants
    Gay Marriage
    Birth Control
    Free Preschool
    Re-campaigning for ObamaCare
    Campaigning against the Sequester
    Traveling across the country for fundraisers
    Traveling to Mexico
    Traveling to Costa Rica
    Fundraising to pay off campaign debt

    Now he is being called out for his failure in Benghazi, DOJ spying on the Press, IRS being used as a political weapon and he wants to smokescreen with promises of jobs he can't produce after 5 years in office?!

    May 17, 2013 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |