November 6th, 2010
02:43 PM ET
12 years ago

On the road, Obama pushes U.S. jobs

Mumbai, India (CNN) - Eager to fend off any criticism that he's globetrotting just days after a disastrous midterm election, President Obama unveiled about $10 billion in new contracts for U.S. exports to India on Saturday as he launched an aggressive push to show his trip to Asia will deliver jobs back home.

"The United States sees Asia and especially India as a market of the future," Obama said at a meeting here with business leaders from the U.S. and India. "For America this is a jobs strategy."

It is a delicate balancing act for Obama to promote broader trade relations with India given American frustration with the outsourcing of U.S. jobs to call centers in cities like Bangalore here in India.

But Obama took the issue head-on, by asserting that the notion of Indian outsourcing being a net drain on U.S. economy is part of a "caricature of India as a land of call centers and back offices that cost American jobs."

"But these old stereotypes, these old concerns ignore today's reality," said Obama. "In 2010, trade between our countries is not just a one-way street of American jobs and companies moving to India. It is a dynamic, two-way relationship that is creating jobs, growth, and higher living standards in both our countries."

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, and other Republicans back in Washington, however, immediately expressed skepticism about Obama's renewed interest in the issue after failing to move forward on pending trade deals with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama.

Don Stewart, spokesman for McConnell, noted that the senator delivered a speech on the Senate floor the day after Obama's inauguration urging the new president to make the trade deals a top priority because "increasing markets overseas for our farmers, entrepreneurs and manufacturers through trade agreements will grow good jobs."

Stewart said at a subsequent meeting, McConnell renewed his call to move the trade agreements but "sadly, Democrats in Congress said 'no' to these agenda items."

But Stewart did add that McConnell is "encouraged" that Obama suggested Saturday he is now moving forward on the trade deal with South Korea, another country the president is visiting later in the week.

"It's certainly welcome," said Stewart. "We know that expanding markets for American goods, services and agriculture overseas will help increase jobs here at home. And maybe the President's renewed focus will encourage Democrats in Congress to join us in this bipartisan effort."

Obama penned an op-ed in Saturday's New York Times headlined "Exporting Our Way to Stability," in which he vowed that in Seoul he will "work to complete a trade pact that could be worth tens of billions of dollars in increased exports and thousands of jobs for American workers."

Obama also reiterated his call to double U.S. exports all around the world in the next five years. "We want to be known not just for what we consume, but for what we produce," he wrote. "And the more we export abroad, the more jobs we create in America. In fact, every $1 billion we export supports more than 5,000 jobs at home."

Obama announced Saturday that about 54,000 U.S. jobs will be created by a total of $10 billion in new contracts for the Indian government and private companies here to buy a slew of American products, including jet airplanes from Boeing as well as engines and gas turbine technology from General Electric.

James McNerney, Boeing's chairman of the board who serves on an advisory council for the president and made the trip to India, credited Obama with helping to encourage the deals that will enable his company to sell ten C-17 military transport planes to the Indian Air Force as well as 30 737's to commercial airlines here.

"Having the President here, it helps," McNerney said. "Ever since the civil nuclear deal which really brought closer ties between India and the United States in a lot of areas, I think the follow-on impact of that has been closer military ties. For the president to state as a priority, by his presence, that closer cooperation, sharing technology across the two countries, can only help. And in this case, it has."

McNerney also addressed the issue of outsourcing by American companies, suggesting that it may have gone too far.

"Big companies like Boeing have gone through a period of making their business models very horizontal," McNerney told reporters. "I think we're all wrestling with that model. It's become overextended in some cases."

He added that he predicts there will be a lot of global cooperation "but somewhat less outsourcing. That's just my take."

Filed under: issues • President Obama
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. vic nashville tn

    November 2nd tsunami or earthquake or end of socialism came and gone

    So far I didn’t hear any idea from republicans after tsunami or earthquake we expected relief plane (balance budget, cut spending, create jobs) so far we didn’t hear anything
    Republicans response is slower than democrats

    Before the election republicans response was faster than light speed to say NO

    November 6, 2010 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  2. Observant

    But Obama took the issue head-on, by asserting that the notion of Indian outsourcing being a net drain on U.S. economy is part of a "caricature of India as a land of call centers and back offices that cost American jobs."

    You are absolutly speaking the truth this time President Obama. Because India also has taken a lot number of finance and accounting job. Just ask your buddy, CEO of Honeywell, David Coty wom sits on the National Commission of Fiscal R esponsibilty and Reform committee. 90% of Honeywell finance and accounting is now in India and Mexico, with 90% of manufacting in Mexico and Chez Republic....Why not just recind the tax`deferrments that allows corporations to make huge profits by outsourcing, level the field and bring the jobs back home to America. It is not that they are more knowledgable than Americans (as we have to train them), it is that they are so much cheaper. However, we still have to perform the clean-up from all of their mistakes. Can we outsource your position and the senate and house? We would save millions.

    November 6, 2010 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  3. ken

    The Republicans like to export jobs to India, not goods!!!!!!!!!!

    November 6, 2010 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  4. Chipster

    And when former President Bush's policies were costing us 500,000+ jobs per month, what advice did McConnell give him? When President Bush signed the TARP BANK BAILOUT legislation, what did McConnell say then. Republicans have criticized Obama for TARP, although it was BUSH who signed it and the Auto Industry bailouts! I don't recall McConnell ranting about job losses then. Why not?

    November 6, 2010 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  5. Jerry in NC

    At least one politician, that the american people voted for, is working! The rest are still busy finger-pointing and making threats from one party to another. There's no doubt, that the main reason President Obama doesn't have "high approval ratings", is his skin color! This man has worked his butt off, trying to bring this country back from the brink of disaster, and millions are doing better as a result of his efforts. Yet, millions of those who are benefiting from his efforts, are against him. When will the citizens of this country wake up?

    November 6, 2010 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  6. Fed Up

    Yeap, he's pushing them right into India. That's exactly what Clinton did.

    November 6, 2010 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  7. anthony

    And repubs still find something to complain about....
    Can this nation ever have a positive outlook on anything...

    November 6, 2010 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  8. FL

    He needs to stop throwing our tax money away and get himself back here. He as been a total joke as a leader and everyone knows it.

    November 6, 2010 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  9. Kara

    "Eager to fend off any criticism"? Really Ed, you should know better. You know perfectly well that this trip, and these deals were in motion before the mid terms.
    With journalists like you writing rubbish like this, it's no wonder Mitch McConnell can come out and congratulate the president as if this trip was his idea when republicans have been criticising it for weeks!

    November 6, 2010 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  10. vic nashville tn

    Obama in India so I want to know what Indian news papers say what I find

    ‘He has clearly said that his stay in Hotel Taj is a message against Terrorism”

    “20 deals with Indian companies that will lead to nearly $10 billion in US exports and support more than 50,000 jobs at home,”

    “She told the children all they needed to worry about was their education. It was not like her family had a lot of money. It was education that brought her to where she is,” First Lady Michelle Obama talking to 23 children from four orphanages

    They are happy Bill Clinton build good relationship with India G.W.Bush tried his best Finally Obama gave confidence to India

    November 6, 2010 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  11. Dirk

    Jobs in the USA aren't something the Republicans are "comfortable" with. They will only applause this IF the CofC and their corporate masters approve. Mitch McConnell needs to stick his head where the sun don't shine and keep it there.

    November 6, 2010 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  12. Hugo

    General convenient.

    November 6, 2010 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  13. shannon

    Nothing will satisfy the nuts on the right, they will just go around and tell their nut friends, that the President is spending 200 million a day on this trip, and it won't matter that it's a blatant lie, if FOX tells them to spread the story, they will do it.

    November 6, 2010 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  14. George of the jungle

    the repos will complaine anyway. Good job Mr President. haven't seen any repos doing such a good job. McConnel is a jerk and if he spent less time running down the president and more time working on the economy himself he might get something done.

    November 6, 2010 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  15. jb

    how about bring our jobs back to amerca.

    November 6, 2010 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  16. nita

    our beloved president obama is doing everything in his power to bring jobs bk to the usa. we created 150,000 jobs just in oct. because yall were impatient with him lk what done happened. u lost good demos and got no to the rhinos. if uneducated, high school diploma think the party of no going to come to their rescue they will be waiting until hell freezes over you think. democratics do right by the american people and rhinos are only unconsider, selfish, money hungry people. they dont care about you are me period and end of the discussion.

    November 6, 2010 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  17. Angel

    Dam if Mr. President do and Dam if Mr. President don't. Mr. President youyare doing a great job with all of these hateful ass people who want to see you fail. The almighty GOD is on your side. Keep doing what you are doing to help the people.

    Love Angel- 504-Uptown New Orleans.

    November 6, 2010 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  18. kate

    I wonder how the republicans will view this. They will find some kind of fault with this. Way to go MR. PRESIDENT. You are trying and trying to be very optimistic...which is better than the pessimists of the party of NO NO NO.

    November 6, 2010 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  19. keepstuffingthis

    Hope all of you believers read where he calls for compromise and then refuses to budge on tax cuts. Sounds like a typical corrupt liberal form of compromise. Remember how that murdering, womanizing Teddy Kennedy screwed over Bush when he compromised on the education bill. Never ever trust a liberal to compromise. Always remember they are really just corrupt union bosses.

    November 6, 2010 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  20. Mike

    Go Mr. President!!! Go!!! Lets Gett'em!!! Sell, Sell, Sell!!! We can work our way out of this mess the GOP has stuck us in. Yes, I am a Republican!!! But We need to work together!

    November 6, 2010 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  21. more lies from HUSSENI obama

    just another obama photo op filled with smoke

    November 6, 2010 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  22. Real American

    No matter what President Obama say or does the Repugblicans. will have something to say against him. Why they cannot support there Commander In Chief ?

    November 7, 2010 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  23. Get A Grip

    Yes, another vacation for the Obama's. At $200 million per day with a total cost of $2 BILLION to the hard working American taxpayer, the Obama's should have a wonderful time.....yes, it must be nice to be "King and Queen'...after all, let the poor folks eat cake.

    November 7, 2010 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  24. David

    Even Indian officials are saying this will translate to few new American jobs.
    I feel more outsourcing coming.
    When are U.S. politicians finally going to take a stand for U.S. workers and penalize U.S. companies for outsourcing jobs?!

    November 7, 2010 05:35 am at 5:35 am |
  25. Uncle Sam

    The Boeing CEO had the airplane deal made in India before Obama arrived. So he is on a Family Vacation in Asia taking credit for deals private company's are negotiating then handing to him to announce. Funny and sad at the same time.

    November 7, 2010 08:19 am at 8:19 am |