Political Headlines May 9, 2013: President Barack Obama Finishes Trip Highlighting Innovation & Technology Industry “Middle Class Jobs & Opportunity Tours” in Austin, Texas





Obama Finishes Trip Highlighting Innovation & Technology Industry in Austin

Source: ABC News Radio, 5-9-13


President Obama rounded out his tour of Austin, Texas, by speaking at Applied Materials, a company that provides equipment, services and software to the semiconductor, flat panel display and solar industries, as he highlighted the innovation occurring in the Austin area.

“If you watch the news sometimes you may think that it’s just doom and gloom out there, but the truth is there’s incredible stuff going on all across America and right here in Austin that I think could be good models for the rest of America to follow,” the president said….READ MORE

Full Text Obama Presidency May 9, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Speech at Applied Materials on Innovation and Manufacturing During “Middle Class Jobs & Opportunity Tours” in Austin, Texas



Remarks by the President at Applied Materials, Inc. – Austin, TX

Source: WH, 5-9-13

Austin, Texas

4:57 P.M. CDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Austin!  How you doing?  (Applause.) Well, it is wonderful to see all of you here today.  First of all, give Nicole an outstanding round of applause for the great job that she did.  (Applause.)

It is wonderful to be here at Applied Materials.  I want to thank Mike and everybody who helped out hosting us and a wonderful tour of the facility.  It was incredible.  Rick was showing me some of your “clean rooms” where you are building the equipment that makes the chips that is basically powering everything that you guys are taking pictures with right now.  (Laughter.)  Smartphones, computers, iPads, laptops.  And it is just remarkable to see.  Every time I walk through these kinds of facilities I’m thinking, this is just magic.  I don’t know how they do it.

Somebody was explaining to me that — I guess one of the wafers was being cleaned, and he said, this would be the equivalent — it was Alex who told me this — Alex is around here somewhere — the equivalent of if you were mowing the South Lawn but every blade of grass was exactly cut at the same height within a single human hair.  That’s how precise things are.  That sounds pretty precise to me.  And if that’s, by the way, the precision that you operate on, if that’s how you define a clean room, then Sasha and Malia are going to have to step up their game at home.  (Laughter.)  Because it is not that clean.  (Laughter.)

I want to thank your Mayor, Lee Leffingwell, who’s doing a great job.  (Applause.)  Lee is doing outstanding work every day and helping to bring the Austin community together.  Congressman Lloyd Doggett is here.  (Applause.)  They’ve been great hosts.  We actually have a special guest — the Mayor of San Antonio in the house — my friend, Julian Castro is here.  (Applause.)

Now, I’ve spent the day in Austin talking with folks about what we can do to reignite the true engine of America’s economic growth — a thriving, rising middle class and a dynamic, cutting-edge economy.  That’s our priority.  That should be Washington’s top priority.  (Applause.)  And I see three things that we need to focus on to do it.

Number one, we’ve got to make America a magnet for good jobs.  Number two, we’ve got to help people earn the skills they need to do those jobs.  Number three, we’ve got to make sure people’s hard work is rewarded so that they can make a decent living doing those jobs.

And if you watch the news, sometimes you may think that there’s just doom and gloom out there.  But the truth is there’s incredible stuff going on all across America and right here in Austin that I think can be good models for the rest of America to follow.

This morning I visited Manor New Tech High School, where students are learning high-tech skills that companies like Applied are looking for right now.  They are getting excited, working with math and science and technology and engineering.  And it’s a hands-on high school where subjects are integrated, and kids are building things and conducting experiments at very early ages.  And it’s sparking their imagination in ways that may lead them to start up the next Applied, or come here and work at Applied.

And then I joined a few local families for lunch to talk about how we can make sure that hard work pays off with wages you can live on and raise a family, with health care that you can count on, and the chance to put away some money for retirement.  And we also had good barbeque — (laughter) — which is necessary for economic growth.  (Laughter.)  Some good barbeque once in a while.  And then I came to Applied Materials to talk about what we can do to make America a magnet for new jobs in manufacturing.

After shedding jobs for a decade, our manufacturers have added now about 500,000 new manufacturing jobs over the past three years.  (Applause.)  That’s good news.  Caterpillar is bringing jobs back from Japan, and Ford is bringing jobs back from Mexico.  And after placing plants in other countries like China, Intel is opening its most advanced plant right here at home.  This year, Apple started making Macs in America again.  (Applause.)

So there are some good trend lines there, but we’ve got to do everything we can to strengthen that trend.  We’ve got to do everything we can to help the kind of high-tech manufacturing that you’re doing right here at Applied.  And we want to make sure it takes root here in Austin and all across the country.  And that means, first of all, creating more centers of high-tech manufacturing.

Last year, we launched our first manufacturing innovation institute in Youngstown, Ohio, to develop new technologies and equip workers with the skills required to master 3-D printing techniques.  And in my State of the Union address, I called on Congress to set up 15 more of these manufacturing hubs all across America, and I said that my administration was going to go ahead and move forward with three new hubs on our own, even without congressional action.

Well, today, we’re launching a competition for those hubs.  We are looking for businesses and universities that are willing to partner together to help their region — help turn their region into global centers of high-tech jobs.  Because we want the next revolution in manufacturing to be “Made in America.”  (Applause.)  We’re going to do that.

The truth is, over the past couple decades, too many communities have been hit hard when plants closed down and jobs dried up.  The economy obviously is changing all the time.  Nobody knows that better than folks here at Applied.  I was talking to somebody who’s — after showing me the wafer and some chips, and then they showed me a smartphone, they pointed to the smartphone and they said, 40 years ago, there’d be about $3 billion just trying to get this much computing power in this little thing, except it would fill up a whole room.

And so the economy is dynamic.  Technology is constantly changing.  That means we’ve got to adapt as well.  And even as we’re working to reverse the trend of communities that have been hard hit with old manufacturing leaving, we’ve got to propose partnerships with local leaders in manufacturing communities to help attract new investment in the infrastructure and the research that will attract new jobs and new businesses, so that communities that have been knocked down can get back up and get back on their feet.

And we should help our workers get the training they need to compete for the industries of tomorrow.  No job in America should go unfilled just because we don’t have anybody with the right skills.  (Applause.)  And that’s a priority.  Now, some of your colleagues that I met, some of them have advanced degrees.  Some of them came to apply basically right out of high school.  But all of you, whether it was, in some cases, through a university education, in some cases the military, in some cases just on-the-job training — all of you have specialized skills that are exactly what we need to continue to grow our economy.  But we’ve got a whole bunch of folks out there who don’t have those skills, either because the education system failed them or because their skills have been rendered obsolete.

And that’s why I want to rethink how our high school kids are prepared.  I want to make sure that we’re training two million Americans at our community colleges for skills that will lead directly to a job.  (Applause.)  And that’s also why we’ve got to make sure that college is affordable and people aren’t burdened by a mountain of debt so that they can continue to upgrade their skills as well.

Now, if we want to manufacture the best products, we’ve also got to invest in and cultivate the best ideas.  Innovation, ingenuity — that’s the constant of the American economy.  That’s one of the constants of our character.  It’s what keeps America on the cutting-edge.

And just before I came here, I visited the Capital Factory, which, as some of you know, is a place that helps start-ups take off.  And everywhere you turn, somebody has got a new idea.  They’re all thinking big.  They’re taking risks.  It’s exciting.

There was a young woman who is in a wheelchair and physically disabled but is just incredibly inspired to make sure that she’s not in any way confined by that situation.  And she’s basically designed and is now manufacturing a car that people in wheelchairs can just drive their wheelchair right into the car and start driving.

And then you had a young man who had a 3-D camera — it was about this big — and basically from filming either a static image or in the round, can basically download that immediately and create a 3-D image, and then use that for 3-D manufacturing  — 3-D printing and manufacturing.  And what currently costs about $80,000 costs about $3,000 — the technology that he’s developed.  So they’re doing amazing stuff.

And one of the things we’re doing to fuel more inventiveness like this, to fuel more private sector innovation and discovery, is to make the vast amounts of America’s data open and easy to access for the first time in history.  So talented entrepreneurs are doing some pretty amazing things with data that’s already being collected by government.

So over at the Capital Factory, I met with folks behind the start-up called StormPulse, which uses government data on weather to help businesses anticipate disruptions in service.  And then you’ve got a Virginia company called OPower that’s used government data on trends in energy use to save its customers $200 million on their energy bills.  There’s an app called iTriage, founded by a pair of ER doctors that uses data from the Department of Health and Human Services to help users understand medical symptoms and find local doctors and health care providers.

And today I’m announcing that we’re making even more government data available, and we’re making it easier for people to find and to use.  And that’s going to help launch more start-ups.  It’s going to help launch more businesses.  Some of them undoubtedly will be using this data powered by chips that essentially started right here at Applied Materials.  (Applause.)

It’s going to help more entrepreneurs come up with products and services that we haven’t even imagined yet.

This kind of innovation and ingenuity has the potential to transform the way we do almost everything.  One-third of jobs in Austin are now supported by the tech sector.  And we should do all we can to encourage this kind of innovation economy all across America, in ways that produce new jobs and new opportunities for the middle class.

And we’re poised for a time of progress — if we’re willing to seize it.  Not even five years after the worst economic crisis in our lifetimes, our jobs market, our housing market are steadily healing.  Our deficits are falling at the fastest rate in decades.  The American auto industry has made a comeback.  It’s thriving.  American energy is booming.  But we’ve got to keep moving forward, and we’ve got to make sure that Washington is not administering self-inflicted wounds when we’re making progress.

So Mike and I were talking about the fact that if we can reform our tax system to eliminate some of these loopholes potentially we could lower some rates.  That would make our businesses more competitive.

Basic research, you’ll hear people talk about how government is not going to do anything for us.  Well, we all understand that the private sector powers and drives our economy.  On the other hand, most of the private sector right now has a lot of trouble financing basic research.  And that basic research is the foundation for everything that’s done at this company, and everything that’s done for most of your customers.  And we can’t afford to fall behind when it comes to basic research.  So there’s some key things that we can do that shouldn’t be ideological.  They’re not Democratic ideas or Republican ideas or independent ideas.  They’re just good ideas that allow the government to help create the foundation, the platform, the environment in which companies like Applied Materials can thrive. And that’s what we’ve got to constantly champion.

And when you’re talking to your members of Congress or you’re talking to elected officials, you’ve got to remind them we don’t want government to do everything for us, but it’s got a role to play on infrastructure, basic research — making sure that we’ve got a tax system that’s fair, making sure that we’ve got some basic stability in our budget so people aren’t always guessing what’s going to happen around the corner.

Think about how this company was built.  Back in 1967, when Applied Materials was just getting off the ground, there were five employees.  They worked out of this small industrial unit in California.  And I suppose they had a “clean room” in there, but I don’t know what it looked like.  (Laughter.)  But what they lacked in size, they made up with ingenuity and imagination and risk-taking.  And over the years, as you grew to become a leader in high-tech manufacturing, that ingenuity never faltered.  Whether you’ve been with this company for decades — as I know some of you have — or just for a year, you’re all focused on the future.  Every day you’re pushing the limits of technology a little bit further.

And you’re not alone, because somewhere over at the Capital Factory, there’s an entrepreneur mapping out a new product on a whiteboard that may be the next big thing.  Somewhere over at Manor New Tech High School, there’s a kid scribbling down an idea for a new invention that one day may turn into an entirely new industry.  That’s America.

And when you look out across this room, what you also notice is there’s talent drawn from every segment of our society.  We don’t care what you look like, where you come from, what your last name is.  We just want to make sure we’re all working together to create a better future for our kids.

That’s America. We innovate.  We adapt.  We move forward.  That’s what Austin is all about.  That’s what’s going on in this city.  (Applause.)  And that’s what I want to keep on promoting as your President of the United States of America.

Thank you, everybody.  God bless you.  God bless America.

END                 5:15 P.M. CDT

Full Text Obama Presidency May 9, 2013: First Lady Michelle Obama & Dr. Jill Biden’s Speeches at Military Mother’s Day Tea



Remarks by the First Lady and Dr. Jill Biden at Military Mother’s Day Tea

Source: WH, 5-9-13 

East Room

4:04 P.M. EDT

DR.BIDEN:  Hello, everyone.  Please sit.  Good afternoon, everyone.  Thank you for being here and it’s wonderful to welcome you to the White House.

Many of you know I’m a proud Blue Star mom.  My son, Beau, is a soldier in the Delaware Army National Guard.  So while I’m always honored to be in the presence of our military families, I feel a special bond with other military moms.  I’ll never forget the day that Beau deployed to Iraq.  It was that mixture of pride and concern that military moms know all too well, right?  Having Beau overseas was a tough year for our entire family, but it was especially difficult for my daughter-in-law Hallie, my granddaughter Natalie and our grandson Hunter.

There were a lot of people who stepped up in different ways to support our family that year.  A neighbor shoveled the driveway during a snowstorm.  Our church included Beau’s name in the church bulletin.  And at Natalie’s school, her teacher hung a photo of Beau’s unit on the wall so that everyone would know that Natalie’s daddy was away.  Through the whole experience, these acts of kindness meant so much to them and to us.

While our sons and daughters serve so selflessly having a community share the burden makes all the difference in the world. Today I am here to say thank you for all that you do, for your selflessness and for your sacrifice on behalf of our country.

And now it is my great honor to introduce our First Lady.  Military families have no greater supporter than my friend and partner, Michelle Obama.  (Applause.)

MRS. OBAMA:  Thanks so much.  Well, everyone, welcome.
Thank you.  Thanks, Jill.  Thanks so much for that gracious introduction.  But, more importantly, thank you for being such a phenomenal military mom and such a spokesperson for military families.  You’ve been just a great partner in Joining Forces and everything we do.  And I’m just grateful to have you as a friend and as a partner.

Isn’t it pretty in here?  (Laughter.)  It really is.  I walked in and was like, oh, my goodness!  And everyone looks so nice.  (Laughter.)  Must be a tea going on here or something like that.  (Laughter.)

Well, welcome.  I hope you guys are doing good, having fun  — everything going well.  So far, so good?  That’s good.  (Applause.)  Well, we’re happy to have you here.

And I want to start by recognizing a few people.  I want to recognize Patty Shinseki, who is also a dear friend.  Patty, where are you?  Are you here?  Patty is right there.  (Laughter.) Patty, wonderful to see you.  Thank you for being such a tremendous supporter of both Jill and myself, and for all the sacrifices that you make.

I want to recognize Lilibet Hagel who is here.  Please stand, the both of you.  (Applause.)  Thank you, as well, for your service to this country and for all that you do for Jill and myself as well.

And I want to take a minute to embarrass somebody in the room, because I have a special person here as well — a woman who is my rock in so many ways.  I couldn’t do what I do every single day if it weren’t for this woman.  I just did an interview the other day where somebody asked me what was one of the most important things that my mother taught me — and I could go on and on and on.  But my mom has taught me most to be a good listener, to be patient, to use common sense.  She has taught me to be open-minded.

And what she still does for me today is that she will give me endless amounts of time just to talk and talk and talk and talk — and all she does is listen.  (Laughter.)  That’s all she does, is listen.  And sometimes that’s all we need.

So it is my honor to recognize my mommy, Marian Robinson, who is here.  Stand up, Mommy.  (Applause.)  It’s Grandma.  (Laughter.)

And finally, I want to thank all of you for being here today as we celebrate Mother’s Day at the White House.  It’s really good.  We’re doing it just a little bit early, so get double duty, moms.  (Laughter.)  We get today and we get tomorrow.  Let’s stretch this out.  (Laughter.)  We get Saturday, Sunday — and I think we should just figure out what we need to do on Monday, too.  (Laughter.)  So I think this is a good way to start off the weekend.

Today, we have some of the most extraordinary moms in the country with us.  We have active duty troops and veterans and military spouses from all across the country.  And we knew we wouldn’t be celebrating motherhood properly if we didn’t have you guys bring along some special guests — your children — and some people have brought their own moms as well.  So this is quite a beautiful crew — and handsome, too.  (Laughter.)  So we are thrilled to have several generations of families here with us today.

We also have a group of very special women who I’d like to take a moment to recognize — some of the Military Spouses of the Year from each branch of our Armed Forces.  And as I say your name, please stand so that we can recognize you.  Verenice Castillo from the Air Force.  (Applause.)  Stay up.  (Laughter.) I want you to get your moment.  Tara Crooks from the Army.  (Applause.)  Karen Guenther from the Marine Corps.  (Applause.) Shelley Kimball from the Coast Guard.  Alisha Youch from the Navy.  (Applause.)  Where’s Alisha?

DR. BIDEN:  Alisha had another event that she had to race to.  She’s so sad —

MRS. OBAMA:  Well, give her a hug from us.

And just a couple of hours ago, Alicia Hinds Ward from the National Guard was named the National Military Spouse of the Year for 2013.  Is she here?  There you go — Alicia.  (Applause.)

Thank you all so much.  We are so proud.  You all are just a reflection of what you know folks like you are doing all over this country.  And it is an honor to have you here.  We are grateful for what you do.  And have a good time.  You can sit down now.  (Laughter.)

But I’m going to talk a little bit more about our Military Spouse of the Year, Alicia.  Alicia’s story probably sounds pretty familiar to many of you in this room.  She’s a mother of three boys — ooh, sorry.  (Laughter.)  Her husband is in the Air National Guard here in Washington.  And every day, she finds a way to give back in some way, shape or form — working to build morale and support family members who are going through deployments, leading monthly forums to educate families about their benefits in the military, distributing book bags to military kids.  And she’s doing it all because, as she says — and these are here words — she says, “I believe each of us as the ability to be as phenomenal as we choose or we are given the opportunity to be.  Empower someone and watch them soar.”

Those are Alicia’s words.  And that’s what military moms do every day.  You all help people soar.  You help our country soar. When somebody needs you, whether it’s your family, or your community, or your country — you lift them up.  You answer the call every single time.  You find a way to fit that meeting into your calendar — which is why Alicia is gone — (laughter) — or stop by that neighbor’s house on the way home to lend a hand.

And even though you’ve got families to raise and jobs to do all your own, you never complain.  And Jill and I say this all the time, as we meet with thousands of military families — you all just never complain.  Never complain.  You just keep moving along, getting it done.

And I hope that you know how much your country appreciates you.  I really hope you do.  I hope that you know that people across America have your backs, from everyone here at the White House and the Department of Defense to CEOs of some of the largest companies in this country, to doctors and college professors and community and faith leaders in cities all over this country — people are responding to your service with service of their own.

And that’s why Jill and I — one of the things that we’ve seen as we’ve been working with Joining Forces over these past several years — every time we’ve issued a call to action on your behalf, whether it’s for jobs or educational opportunities or volunteers to do more for you, Americans have responded overwhelmingly, in such positive ways.  We haven’t had a single person tell us no when we’ve asked.

I mean, that’s what we’ve learned.  A lot of times when people don’t step up, they don’t know — they don’t know what to do.  But when we explain, when we share, when we ask them to do it, they step up.  And I know that’s not just because Jill and I are asking.  I mean, we’re cool and everything, but — (laughter) — but it’s really because of all of you and everything your families have given to this country.

So I want you all to know that this country is here for you and your families now and in the years ahead — because everything we’re doing with Joining Forces isn’t about the Obama administration.  The goal is that this is a forever proposition, that anyone who occupies the White House from now on will take this mission up as a primary focus of everything they do.  All of these changes we hope to be part of the bureaucracy from now on. So that’s what Joining Forces is all about, and that’s what today is all about.

So we really do want you to make yourselves at home.  When the lights go off and all the cameras leave, it’s just tea with us.  (Laughter.)  Eat all you want.  As I say, have all the cookies you want.  (Laughter.)  Today is the day to forget about Let’s Move.  This is the balance part of it.  (Laughter.)  We’ve earned it, moms.  (Laughter.)  We can have our cookies.

And we’re going to walk out, Jill and I, for a second.  And we’re going to ask all the young people in the room to come with us because we’ve got some surprises for you.  So we’re going to leave, do a little business, and we will be back for a few surprises for you all.

So, moms, hold tight.  You get a couple of minutes of free babysitting.  (Laughter.)  So any kids who are ready who want to leave and come with us, you guys follow us.  We’re coming.  We’re going to march on out.  Let’s go.

* * * * *

MRS. OBAMA:  Well, surprise!  (Laughter.)  You guys, your kids will be coming in, they’re going to find their places.  They’ve been working so hard on some special surprises.  You all, please, be seated.

Well, it is my honor to welcome Prince Harry to the White House today.  As you all might know, Prince Harry is a Captain in the Army Air Corps in the British Armed Forces.  (Applause.)  In January, he returned from his second deployment to Afghanistan, and for the past few years he has focused on honoring the sacrifice and service of our veterans and military families, especially now that the war in Afghanistan is drawing to a close.

He has spent much of his time supporting our wounded warriors and the families of our fallen.  And this weekend — absolutely.  (Applause.)  And this weekend, he will be attending the fourth annual Warrior Games in Colorado Springs.

So we are absolutely thrilled that he could be with us today, that he took the time.  He just arrived in D.C. and only has a limited time with us because he has a very busy schedule.  But when he heard about this tea and all of you — as I said, when people know about you and the sacrifices you make, they want to be a part of it — he wanted to be here to personally thank you for your service.

So we are going to head into the Blue Room — Jill, Prince Harry and myself — and we’re going to take time to greet each one of you.  So Prince Harry is going to stay as long as he can, and our goal is to get through everyone.  But as soon as he — whenever he has to leave we’ll pull him out, and Jill and I will be here to the very end.

So Happy Mother’s Day.  (Applause.)  I hope you guys enjoyed yourselves, and we’ll see you inside.  (Applause.)

4:49 P.M. EDT

Political Headlines May 9, 2013: President Barack Obama Declares Economy is ‘Poised for Progress’ on “Middle Class Jobs & Opportunity Tour” in Austin, Texas





Obama Declares Economy is ‘Poised for Progress’

Source: ABC News Radio, 5-9-13

File photo. SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

Speaking before a group of high school students and teachers at Manor New Tech High School near Austin, Texas, on Thursday, President Obama said that the innovation and persistence of the American people has fostered an economy that is “poised for progress.”….READ MORE

Full Text Obama Presidency May 9, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Speech at Manor New Technology High School on “Middle Class Jobs & Opportunity Tour” in Austin, Texas



Remarks by the President at Manor New Technology High School

Source: WH, 5-9-13 

Austin, Texas

1:38 P.M. CDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Texas!  (Applause.)  Howdy, Manor.  (Applause.)  Go Titans!  (Applause.)  I hear that there’s a rule that anyone who gives a presentation in front of the class has to dress up, so I made sure to wear a tie.  (Laughter.)  I didn’t want to lose points.

I want to thank Tevyn for the very generous introduction.  Give Tevyn a big round of applause.  (Applause.)  I want to thank Principal Zipkes for his great work.  (Applause.)  I want to thank Dylan and Jahman for showing me around.  Great job.  (Applause.)

We’ve got a number of other luminaries here today.  First of all, we’ve got Acting Secretaries of Commerce and Labor, Becky Blank and Seth Harris.  There they are right there.  (Applause.)  Becky is going to be leaving us to become the president of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  So if you all are interested in cold weather, you can apply.  (Laughter.)  You’ve got the hook-up right here.  And she’s going to do a great job.

We’ve got Congressman Lloyd Doggett, who’s here.  (Applause.)  We’ve got Mayor Jeff Turner, who’s here.  (Applause.)  And it is Teacher Appreciation Week.  (Applause.)  So all the teachers, raise your hands.  Everybody give them a big round of applause.  (Applause.)  We appreciate you.  Teachers work hard every single day, and they don’t do it for the money.  They do it because of the love of learning and love of their students.  And so we could not be prouder of them, and we are grateful to all of them.  And I want to thank all of you for a Texas-sized welcome.

Now, those of you who have seats, feel free to sit down.   Those of you who don’t, you’re out of luck.  (Laughter.)  You got to keep standing.

So this is the first stop that I’m making on a tour of the Austin area today.  And I chose Austin partly because I just love Austin — (applause) — but also because there are some terrific things going on in this area, in communities like Manor.  And there are terrific things going on in communities all across the country that are good models for all of America to follow.

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.  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.  And that should encourage us to roll up our sleeves and work even harder and work together to take on the challenges that are still holding back parts of our economy.

In a little over three years, our businesses have now created more than 6.5 million new jobs.  And while our unemployment rate is still too high, it’s actually the lowest that it’s been since 2008.  But that’s not good enough.  Now we’ve got to create even more good, middle-class jobs, and we’ve got to do it faster so that by the time you guys graduate from college the job market is strong.

Corporate profits have skyrocketed to all-time highs.  But that’s not good enough.  We’ve got to make sure that middle-class wages and incomes are also going up, because most families haven’t seen their take-home pay rise for years now.  Our housing market is healing, but that’s not good enough.  We still need to help a lot more families stay in their homes, or refinance to take advantage of historically low interest rates.

Our deficits are falling at the fastest rate in years.  But now we’ve got to budget in a smarter way so it doesn’t hurt middle-class families or prevent us from making the critical investments that we need for your future.

So a lot of sectors of our economy are doing better.  The American auto industry is thriving.  American energy is booming.  American ingenuity and our tech sector continues to be the best in the world and has the potential to change almost everything that we do.  And thanks to the grit and determination of the American people, we’ve cleared away the rubble of the worst economic crisis in our lifetimes.

So we’re poised for progress.  All across America, Americans are working harder and they’re living up to their responsibilities, both to themselves and to one another and to their communities — every single day.  Part of our challenge, though, is you’ve got to try to see the same kind of seriousness of purpose in your leaders.  From Washington to Wall Street, all of us have to commit ourselves to doing better than we’re doing now.

And all of us have to rally around the single-greatest challenge that we face as a country right now, and that’s reigniting the true engine of economic growth, a rising, thriving middle class, where if you work hard — no matter what you look like, where you come from — you can succeed.  (Applause.)  That’s what we’re fighting for.

Now, there are three things that we’ve got to focus on to create more jobs and opportunity for the middle class.  First of all, we’ve got to make America a magnet for good jobs.  Second, we’ve got to help people earn the education and develop the skills they need to do those jobs.  And number three, we’ve got to make sure that people who are working hard are able to achieve a decent living.  (Applause.)  All right?  That’s what we’ve got to focus on.

And I’ve sent Congress proposals on a whole range of ideas that will help in these three areas:  creating jobs, helping families stay in their homes, lifting wages, helping more young people get a good education and afford college.  But some of them have been blocked in Congress for, frankly, political reasons.  And I’m going to keep on trying.  I’m an optimistic guy, so I’m just going to keep on talking to members of Congress, because I believe that America does best when we work together.  (Applause.)  I believe that.

Every once in a while I’m going to need your help to lean on your elected representatives and say, hey, let’s do something about this; even if don’t like it politically, if it’s a good idea, let’s go ahead and support it.  So sometimes I’m going to need constituents to pressure their members of Congress to do the right thing.

But where I can, I’m just going to go ahead and take action on my own, including some executive actions that I’m taking today that I’m convinced will spur innovation and help businesses create more jobs.  Because we know what’s possible when Americans — whether they’re Republicans or Democrats or independents — are working together, and when parents and teachers and business owners and local leaders come together.

And that’s what we’re seeing here in Austin.  We’re seeing people working together — not because of politics, not because of some selfish reason, but because folks here understand that when we’re all working together everybody does better, everybody succeeds.  (Applause.)

So over the last three years in the Austin area, businesses have created 85,000 new jobs.  And companies like Apple and Visa are getting ready to open new offices.  General Motors is already hiring at its new innovation center.  According to one report, the tech sector now drives more than one-quarter of Austin’s economy.  And all of this has helped to make Austin one of the fastest-growing cities in America.  (Applause.)

So folks around here are doing something right, and I think the rest of the country can learn from what you’re doing — because I’ve always believed that the best ideas usually don’t start in Washington, they trickle up to Washington.  So I’ve come to listen and learn and highlight some of the good work that’s being done.

This afternoon, I’m going to go visit a local factory where workers are building the equipment that makes cutting-edge microchips — all those smartphones and iPads that you guys are using, a lot of this stuff is made there.  I’m going to have lunch with some local families to talk about what they’re facing, the challenges that they’re facing, and figure out how we can make sure that people’s hard work pays off.

But as you can see, my first stop was Manor New Tech.  (Applause.)  That’s my first stop.  (Applause.)  And the reason is because our economy can’t succeed unless our young people have the skills that they need to succeed.  And that’s what’s happening here, right at Manor New Tech.  There’s a reason why teachers and principals from all over the country are coming down to see what you’re up to.  Because every day, this school is proving that every child has the potential to learn the real-world skills they need to succeed in college and beyond.  (Applause.)

And you all are doing it together.  At Manor, a history teacher might get together with a math teacher and develop a project about the impact of castles on world history and the engineering behind building castles.  Or a group of students might be in charge of putting together a multimedia presentation about the moral dilemmas in literature as applied to World War II.  Internships help students get even more hands-on experience.  And while most high school students in America give a handful of speeches by the time they graduate, a student at this school might give as many as 200.  That’s a lot of speeches.  (Applause.)  I can relate.  (Laughter.)

And I just had a chance to see some of the incredible work that some of the young people here are doing — folks who used mathematical equations to build musical instruments, and tests on bungee jumping with rubber bands and weights, and robots that were being built, all kinds of great stuff.  And you’re doing things a little differently around here than a lot of high schools, and it’s working.  (Applause.)  It’s working.

And, by the way, the majority of students at Manor don’t come from wealth or privilege.  Some folks here might have come from some pretty tough backgrounds.  And yet, the vast majority of students here stay in school, they graduate.  Your test scores in most subjects have been higher than the state average.  Almost every member of the recent graduating class went on to college, and about 60 percent of them were the first in their families to do so.  (Applause.)  You should be proud of that.  (Applause.)

And you can see it when I was talking to some of your classmates on the projects they were working on.  There were a couple of your classmates who were studying how earthworms regenerate when they’re injured.  I saw solar cars.  Your championship regional “TEXplosion” robotics team — (applause) — competed in the world championships a couple of weeks ago.  And this program has only been around for five years.

So this is an impressive group.  And the teachers here you can tell are passionate about what they do and couldn’t be more impressive, although some of them look like they were in high school.  (Laughter.)  There were a couple of them I met, I said, are you sure you’re a teacher?  (Laughter.)  No, not you.  You look like you’re — (laughter) — I’m teasing.  You really are a student.  I know.  (Laughter.)

But it’s important to remember that, every year, schools like Manor New Tech hold blind lotteries to determine who gets in, because there just aren’t enough spots for all the students who want to go to a school like this one.  There are too many kids in America who are not getting the same kinds of opportunities through no fault of their own.  And we can do better than that.  We can do better than that.  (Applause.)

Every young person in America deserves a world-class education.  We’ve got an obligation to give it to them.  And, by the way, that helps the whole economy.  Every business in America we want to draw from the world’s highest-skilled and most educated workforce.  We can make that happen.  But we’re going to have to put our shoulder against the wheel and work a little harder than we’re doing right now as a nation.

So, number one, we’ve got to start educating our kids at the earliest possible age.  And that means giving every child in America access to high-quality, public preschool — something that I’m pushing for.  (Applause.)

Every dollar that we put into early childhood education can save $7 down the road because it boosts graduation rates, reduces things like teen pregnancy and violent crime, helps young people succeed not just in high school but beyond.  So let’s make that happen.  Let’s make every child’s early success a recipe for long-term success.  We can do that.

We’ve also got to make sure that we help more students at more schools get the kinds of skills they’re getting here at Manor Tech to compete in a high-tech economy.  (Applause.)  So that’s why we’re working to recruit and train 100,000 new teachers in science and technology, engineering and math; helping our most talented teachers serve as mentors for their colleagues so that they can help to push the great stuff that’s going on here out to other schools throughout the state and throughout the country.

We’ve also got to start rethinking and redesigning America’s high schools.  That’s part of what’s happening here is there’s innovation going on that equip graduates for the demands of a high-tech economy.  There’s a lot of hands-on learning here.  People aren’t just sitting at a desk reading all the time.  Reading is important.  I’m a big reader.  But part of what makes this place special is, is that there’s all this integration of various subjects and actual projects, and young people doing and not just sitting there listening, so we’ve got to reward schools like this one that focus on the fields of the future — (applause) — schools that focus on the fields of the future, use technology effectively to help students learn, and are also developing partnerships with local colleges and businesses so that a diploma here leads directly to a good job.

And finally, we know that even with better high schools, if you want a good job and work your way into the middle class, most young people are going to need some higher education.  Unfortunately, in recent years, college costs have skyrocketed and that’s left too many students and their families saddled with a mountain of debt.  So we’ve worked to make college more affordable for millions of students already and families through tax credits, grants; more access to student loans that go farther than before.  We’ve reformed the student loan process by putting students ahead of big banks, providing options to make it easier for young people to repay these loans.

But even if we do all that, if the price of higher education keeps going up, then eventually there’s not going to be enough money to help young people.  So we’ve got to figure out how to reduce college costs.  And that’s why my administration has released what we’re calling a “College Scorecard” that gives parents and students the clear, concise information that you’ll need to find a school that best fits your needs but also gives you the best value.  (Applause.)  Gives you the best value.  It’s like a consumer report for colleges — because you don’t want a lemon, and you don’t want too much debt.

And going forward, colleges that don’t do enough to keep costs down I think should get less taxpayer support.  We want to support the schools that are doing a great job giving good value to students.  That’s what we want.  (Applause.)  And, young people and families, you shouldn’t have to subsidize skyrocketing costs if the colleges aren’t trying hard enough to keep costs down and provide a high-quality education.

So I could not be prouder of what’s happening here at Manor.  That’s why I wanted to come.  Last month, students in a digital media class made a YouTube video describing why this school was so special.  Some students talked about how they’re looking forward to being the first in their family to go to college.  Others talked about learning new skills, taking on more responsibility.  And one sophomore summed it up nicely when she said, “This school is a lot more than just a school.  It’s a family.  And it’s filled with people that are going to care about you and are going to help you.”

Manor, that’s what every school should be.  That’s what our country should be — (applause) — caring for each other, helping each another, being invested in each other’s success.  We’re not just a collection of individuals, we’re one American family.  And if we follow Manor’s example — if we give every child the chance to climb new ladders of opportunity; if we equip every American with the skills and education they need to succeed in the jobs of the future; if we make sure that hard work pays off, and responsibility is rewarded; and if we fight to keep America a place where you can make it if you try, then you’re not just going to be the ones who prosper, we’ll all prosper.  And together, we’ll write the next great chapter in America’s history.  (Applause.)

So thank you very much, everybody.  God bless you.  God bless America.  (Applause.)

2:00 P.M. CDT

Political Headlines May 9, 2013: President Barack Obama Turns Attention to Manufacturing with New Executive Orders





Obama Turns Attention to Manufacturing with New Executive Orders

Source: ABC News Radio, 5-9-13


While legislative battles over gun control and government spending have dominated much of the president’s agenda this year, President Obama heads to Austin, Texas, on Thursday to bring attention to job creation and manufacturing.

While in Texas, the president will announce two new executive orders during his first of a series of “Middle Class Jobs & Opportunity Tours.”  The executive actions are a fulfillment of promises made in the president’s State of the Union address this year to strengthen manufacturing….READ MORE

Political Headlines May 8, 2013: House Democrats Say They Were Encouraged by Dinner with President Obama





House Democrats Say They’re Encouraged by Dinner with President Obama

Source: ABC News Radio, 5-9-13

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Obama’s charm offensive continued Wednesday night, this time with an easier crowd.

After similar meetings with Republicans, President Obama met House Democrats for dinner at The Jefferson Hotel in downtown Washington, D.C….READ MORE

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