February 18th, 2011
05:06 PM ET
HILLSBORO, OREGON (CNN) - In an ongoing effort to push innovation, job creation, and a new relationship with the business community, President Obama toured the Intel facilities in Hillsboro, Oregon, and learned from young math and science students how his boyhood LEGO towers are a far cry from their bio-medical LEGO robots.
“I used to build some pretty mean LEGO towers when I was a kid,” the president told an audience of mostly Intel employees. “I thought I could participate, only these students used their LEGO’s to build models, to build robots that were programmable, to model brains that could repair broken bones.”
The students are part of Intel’s STEM program which is tapping into young minds to help push the limits of technology. “This is really exciting,” the president said as the middle and high school students proudly explained nuclear fusion or asked him to press a button to make their robot move. Mr. Obama, who said it all felt like Thomas Edison, exclaimed “it worked!”
It was a sobering experience for the Harvard educated leader of the free world. Young people, the ages of his two daughters Sasha and Malia, talking “about things like quantum ternary algorithms,” the president said then added “it gave me a chance to nod my head and pretend that I understood what they were talking about.”
The Oregon visit is one stop on the White House’s “Winning The Future” tour. While Republicans have criticized the administration for spending too much time focused on investing in the future, and not enough time on reigning in the federal deficit, the president insisted new technology will create jobs and help the ailing economy recover.
The president said he was committed to “knocking down barriers that stand in the way of a company’s growth.”
“If we start rowing in the same direction, I promise you, there is nothing that we cannot achieve.”