January 15th, 2014
06:00 AM ET
6 months ago

In North Carolina, Obama makes move in 'year of action'

(CNN) – President Barack Obama traveled to North Carolina Wednesday to announce another bid to revive America's manufacturing sector, a first step in his newly imposed "year of action" that avoids Congressional approval for measures to boost the economy.

“The pieces are there to restore some of the ground that the middle class has lost in recent decades, start raising wages for middle class families – but it requires us to take action. This has to be a year of action,” reaffirmed Obama.


The announcement Wednesday of a new syndicate of businesses and universities to develop next generation electronics fulfills the President's promise to create "manufacturing hubs" that spur innovation nationwide. He vowed to develop the regional centers in last year's State of the Union address.

The hubs form an element of Obama's 2014 strategy, which relies on executive actions to kick start economic growth, rather than on action from Congress. Obama and the Republican-controlled House have spent most of the President's time in the White House at odds over budgets and job creation plans.

“Where I can act on my own without Congress, I'm going to do so and today I'm here to act,” stated Obama moments before announcing Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina as the location for the latest high tech manufacturing hub.

Speaking to members of his Cabinet at the White House Tuesday, Obama said he needed "all hands on deck" to pursue his economic strategy that bypasses Capitol Hill.

"The economy is improving, but it can be improving even faster," he said, noting his bully pulpit powers – or what he described as the power of the pen and the phone – in achieving his policy goals.

The North Carolina project the President announced Wednesday pairs manufacturers and suppliers with universities to develop new electronic chips that would be produced in the United States. The White House said the consortium is backed by $70 million from the U.S. Department of Energy and another $70 million from the companies and universities, and the State of North Carolina.

“American workers will be able to come right here to North Carolina to learn the skills that companies are looking for and the next generation of manufacturing will be an American revolution,” Obama lauded.

North Carolina State, where Obama spoke on Wednesday, is one of three major research universities near Raleigh that form the state's Research Triangle. Major technology firms also call the region home.

The North Carolina project is one of three "innovation hubs" the White House says it will announce this year, after holding competitions to host the centers in May. The administration has pledged $200 million from the budgets of various agencies to fund the projects.

The remaining two, funded by the Defense Department, will be announced in the coming weeks, the White House says. They'll focus on digital and metal manufacturing, and will fulfill a pledge from Obama's 2013 State of the Union address to create the hubs. Last week, Obama moved to complete another vow to develop "promise zones" in regions beset with high unemployment and crime.

North Carolina has been a favorite stop for Obama over the past five years, both for its status as a presidential battleground and its relative proximity to Washington. He's paid particular attention to the state's Research Triangle, a reliably Democratic enclave, and held a rally at the same university in 2011 in his bid to boost support for his proposed jobs law.

The state proved a disappointment for Obama and Democrats in 2012. Despite holding their national nominating convention in Charlotte, Obama lost the state by two points to his Republican challenger Mitt Romney – making North Carolina one of two states to switch from Obama in 2008 to the Republican nominee four years later.

Republicans have said that loss, paired with Obama's slumping popularity, make North Carolina's Democrat-held U.S. Senate seat prime for the taking in this year's midterm elections. Sen. Kay Hagan currently holds the seat, though she wasn't at Obama's event Wednesday – her spokesman told CNN she would remain in Washington since the Senate is still in session. The National Republican Senatorial Committee is highlighting Hagan's absence from the President's event.

Hagan was one of several Democratic lawmakers who publicly criticized the rollout of Obama's signature health law last year, which coincided with the drop in Obama's approval rating. She and other Democrats called for a legislative fix to the law allowing Americans to keep canceled insurance plans, despite Obama's announced administrative fix.

While Hagan publicly distanced herself from the rollout of Obama's signature health care legislation, she has taken up his call for extending emergency unemployment insurance for the long-term jobless.


Filed under: North Carolina • President Obama
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Name jk. Sfl. GOP CRUZ lee&rubio 24billion dallar LOSS of your tax money conservatives,the garbage of America.

    They SHOULD change the filibuster rule for all legislation and get rid of the 60 vote rule and rule by majority, screw the GOP , they will be totally OUT of power after 2014 midterms and any teaparty idiots left won't matter. The dems only need 17 seats!!!!!!

    January 15, 2014 06:52 am at 6:52 am |
  2. croaton999

    "which relies on executive actions ..., rather than on action from Congress." This from Mr. "I'm no dictator" himself. Hey Mr President, we did away with the Monarchy centuries ago, remember? Besides, Kay Hagan is toast in 2014 for supporting Obamacare

    January 15, 2014 06:56 am at 6:56 am |
  3. Harold Read

    The "Great Uniter", who was supposed to "usher in an unprecedented era of cooperation" yet blames everyone else for HIS shortcomings, now is more than willing to bypass the established system of government like a banana republic dictator.

    Why is Obama pushing so hard anyways? He has already claimed countless times that the economy is doing great. He even claimed victory for having the lowest unemployment rate in 5 years (even though it was caused by a record number of people no longer looking for a job). The December job predictions were another great Obama victory (even though the real numbers were dismally low and it was more of a publicity stunt to get the heat off of the Obamacare debacle).

    January 15, 2014 07:02 am at 7:02 am |
  4. loyalright

    Kay Hagan will distance herself again from Obama by not showing up. She knows his coat-tails will not get her elected again. She knows this is her first and last time as Senator. The Truth will defeat her and she knows it.

    January 15, 2014 07:05 am at 7:05 am |
  5. Gurgyl

    NC needs to wake up and vote all GOP thugs out to improve the life. GOP is the main problem in NC. Vote direct democratic ticket.

    January 15, 2014 07:11 am at 7:11 am |
  6. Gurgyl

    When can GOP thugs stop spending ten billion dollars on war, than spending on infrastructure, unemployment benefit, jobs at home, green energy etc? Voters are uneducated. Educate these sheep first.

    January 15, 2014 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  7. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Too bad Sen. Hagan won't be attending. If she's going to act cowardly in the face of some right wing opposition, then she may be in the wrong party. If you voted for the PP&ACA, then you should stand by your vote and defend your actions.

    January 15, 2014 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  8. Name jk. Sfl. GOP CRUZ lee&rubio 24billion dallar LOSS of your tax money conservatives,the garbage of America.

    And what's the GOP going to do for OUR economy??????ANSWER. NOTHING, the same as they have been doing until we KICK them out in November!!!!!!

    January 15, 2014 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  9. Rick McDaniel

    Let's be honest.........Obama is doing NOTHING to revive this economy. Indeed that is NOT on his agenda. His trip is one to bolster himself and his party, with the public........to impact the mid term elections, as he tries once again to seize total control of America.

    Time to stop the dictator, America......it is entirely up to the citizens, in November.

    January 15, 2014 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  10. rla

    I have been waiting 5 years for him to take action on Jobs and the economy!!! The man is too dull to see the problem let alone craft a plan of positive action... God help those who voted him in last election!

    January 15, 2014 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  11. tom l

    It's become painfully obvious that the hardcore liberals on here, with their "ilk" comments, actually think they are better than conservatives. They think that just because they support democrats in every way, shape and form that this makes them superior to conservatives simply due to the "D" next to their name. They have no desire to understand the other side. They have no desire to listen to why a conservative feels the way they do (such as with long term unemployment, etc.) and feel that conservatives are literally bad people. All day, every day the "gang" talks as though they are better people and care about the poor or minorities more. I have news for you....you are no better, nor worse, than conservatives. You just have a different way that you feel these problems can be solved. Your venomous, vitriolic, sanctimonious comments are just that...full of venom, vitriol and sanctimony. Comments like repubs just hate the poor, women and blah blah blah is lame and childish. Conservatives don't hate the poor...they hate that there are poor people and are trying to do things to make them not poor (and the most important facet to get them out of the hole is to NOT rely on the govt). The big problem is the two parties...both repubs and dems. The goal of these politicians is to get more money and more power so they can be reelected. I don't understand how you can't see that. You think that dems actually care more about poor people? Really? Here's a newsflash. They don't. They may say they do but their actions don't speak to that. Just look how many millionaires there are in Congress now.

    January 15, 2014 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  12. Rudy NYC

    While Hagan publicly distanced herself from the rollout of Obama's signature health care legislation, she has taken up his call for extending emergency unemployment insurance for the long-term jobless.
    --------------------------
    I wish someone would tell the good Senator, "No half steppin'." You're either in it to win it, or you're in it to survive. Right now, she's making herself look like she's trying to survive. Doing so makes you look like you're on the defensive, which is always means you're losing when it comes to politics.

    January 15, 2014 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  13. ramelle tuggle

    Good job mr.presideny

    January 15, 2014 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  14. ramelle tuggle

    Good job mr.president

    January 15, 2014 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  15. CommonSense

    Senator Hagan, you need to support your leader no matter what because I guarantee things will again turn in his favor and you'll need him! It always does...the republicans are not for the American people; only themselves and their pocketbooks! Wake up Congressional Democrats, united we stand on principle or divided we fall like the republicans (who have no plans)

    January 15, 2014 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  16. spike

    Does the money go to campaign donors as it has in the past? Will there be any accountability for the money? There has not been in the past. If he is really worried about jobs why does he pursue policies that destroy jobs such as Obamacare and legalizing all the illegals while importing over a million foreign workers a year? Don't listen to what he says, look instead at what he does.

    January 15, 2014 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  17. Malory Archer

    January 15, 2014 06:52 am at 6:52 am |

    croaton999

    "which relies on executive actions ..., rather than on action from Congress." This from Mr. "I'm no dictator" himself. Hey Mr President, we did away with the Monarchy centuries ago, remember? Besides, Kay Hagan is toast in 2014 for supporting Obamacare

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    When you're dealing with a crew who vows to break you before you even get a chance to start you job – and those same people crow that you gave them "98%" of what they wanted, you've gotta do what you've gotta do – and what the majority of the American people elected you to do.

    January 15, 2014 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  18. jpmichigan

    I don't quite understand how this President can by pass Congress to get his spending of money on projects that he, and only he deems necessary. I thought our government was 3 tiered, Executive, Legislative and Judicial. The Legislative held the purse strings. I guess the only way to stop him is to put more Republicans in the Senate and House, so to over ride his vetoes and make changes to BETTER things (economy, healthcare) for the American taxpayer. REMEMBER WE HAVE THE REAL POWER THE POWER OF THE VOTING BOOTH!!!!

    January 15, 2014 10:04 am at 10:04 am |