Obama Tours Intel Plant, Pushes Job-creation
Trying to draw attention to the need for high-tech jobs, President Barack Obama toured Intel’s semiconductor manufacturing facility with Intel CEO Paul Otellini. Obama promoted his job-creation agenda at Intel, the Silicon Valley giant known for its processors and a commitment to math and science education. Before the visit, the White House announced that Obama had picked Otellini, a sometimes critic, to serve on the presidential economic advisory council charged with finding new ways to promote economic growth and bring jobs to the United States.
Obama’s West Coast swing is highlighting his vision of making the U.S. more competitive globally through increased spending on research and education, while cutting or freezing spending elsewhere. His February 18, 2011, stop at Intel followed a private dinner in San Francisco with the leaders of Facebook, Apple and other innovators.
Otellini was among 20 business CEOs who met privately with Obama in December. Otellini has been a critic of Obama administration policies, saying they have created too much uncertainty for business. He told CNN in September that the policies had not resulted in either job growth of increased consumer confidence.
In explaining Obama’s choice of the Intel leader, White House spokesman Jay Carney said Obama was not seeking to “collect people who agree with him on every issue, every policy decision made, but to create an environment, a council, where ideas, good ideas, can be generated.”
Obama created the council last month and named General Electric chief executive Jeffrey Immelt as chairman.
Besides touring the semiconductor facility, Obama learned about programs the company has to encourage studies in science, technology, engineering and math, and get people the skills they need to compete for new high-tech jobs.
Intel last year announced a 10-year, $200 million commitment to promote math and science education. It also is one of four companies that are working to help meet Obama’s goal of getting the U.S. to first place in science and math education in a decade.
With unemployment holding at nine percent and millions out of work, a seal of approval from Silicon Valley’s leading innovators could bolster Obama’s sales pitch. He is pushing for new spending on education, high-speed rail, faster Internet service and other programs.
At the February 17 dinner, Obama was joined by Eric Schmidt of Google, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and Steve Jobs of Apple, who is on his third medical leave as concern about his health mounts. Also present were the chief executives of Yahoo!, Oracle, NetFlix and Twitter, and the president of Stanford University.
Pushing back on Obama’s agenda, Republicans say government spending without restraint is hindering job creation. They want to slash the budget. On Capitol Hill, the Republican-controlled House neared a vote on whether to cut $61 billion from government spending this year.
Oregon is a solidly Democratic state. Its governor and two senators are Democrats and Obama won the state handily in 2008.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press
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