May 31st, 2012
12:47 PM ET
(CNN) - President Obama will focus on jobs Friday continuing to press Congress on his so-called "to do" list. Friday’s item: pushing for the establishment of a Veterans Job Corps. At a Honeywell International plant in a Minneapolis suburb, he will make his case that the country needs to "honor our commitment to returning veterans," according to a White House release.
Friday’s event coincides with the release of the May unemployment numbers. Economists will be closely watching the jobs numbers after two months of slowdown in the sputtering U.S. economy.
Mr. Obama announced his plan to establish a jobs program for veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars earlier this year. Currently the unemployment rate for veterans is 9.2%, more than a full percentage point higher than the overall unemployment rate which stands at 8.1% for April. The so-called Veterans Jobs Corps would be similar to a 1930's government program, the Civilian Conservation Corps. It is designed to put veterans to work building infrastructure like roads and bridges.
Another part of the plan would provide additional money to communities across the country to hire veterans as police and firefighters. But the price tag of $1 to $5 billion dollars has been a stumbling block in Congress. The bill, aimed at establishing the Veterans Corp, was introduced in January by Ohio Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D) and remains stuck in a House committee.
Friday’s “to-do list” event is just a 2 hour diversion from what could be seen as the president’s main event – raising money. The president's campaign could earn more than six and a half million dollars from fundraisers in both Minneapolis and Chicago also on Friday.
Joined by Minnesota's Democratic Governor Mark Dayton, Mr. Obama has three back-to-back fundraisers at the trendy Bachelor Farmer Restaurant in the city's warehouse district. It just so happens the governor's sons own the restaurant.
The first fundraiser will be a luncheon for one hundred people, each paying $5000, according to a Democratic campaign official. Two intimate fundraisers will follow, allowing much more face time with the president at "campaign round tables". Those opportunities come with a hefty price tag. One is for 20 people, each paying $40,000 for the opportunity. The other is for only 8 people who will pay $50,000 to chat with the president.
From Minneapolis, the president flies to his former hometown of Chicago for more fundraising. He speaks at the Chicago Cultural Center, the only event of the evening open to press cameras. Three hundred fifty people will attend each paying a minimum of $2500 a ticket.
From there Mr. Obama will attend two fundraisers at private residences in the city. Fifty to 60 guests will pay $35,800 a ticket at each affair.
Proceeds from Friday's events will go to the Obama Victory Fund, a joint fundraising committee of Obama for America, the Democratic National Committee and several state Democratic parties.
The president is expected to spend Friday night at his Chicago home before returning to the White House Saturday.