January 11th, 2012
04:10 PM ET
(CNN) – A White House official says President Obama’s speech Wednesday proposing tax breaks to businesses that keep jobs in the United States has been in the works for weeks.
But politically, the timing couldn’t have been better.
Just as Democrats and Republican opponents to Mitt Romney heighten their lines of attack against Tuesday’s big New Hampshire primary winner as a onetime “vulture capitalist” who destroyed many more jobs than he created while growing wealthy at Bain Capital, the president subtly weighed in.
Flanking himself with more than a dozen business executives, he pledged to unveil tax incentives for companies to bring back jobs to the United States and create more products in America
"I don't want America to be a nation that's primarily known for financial speculation," the president said during the event in the East Room. “I want us to be known for making and selling products all over the world stamped with three proud words: "Made in America."
To be sure, the president made no mention of Romney directly, but he has been critical of Wall Street before and the tenor of his remarks neatly complimented Vice President Biden’s assail on the former Massachusetts governor Tuesday, when he told New Hampshire Democrats via teleconference that Romney cares more about stockholders than employees.
“He thinks it’s more important for the stockholders and the shareholders and the investors and the venture capital guys to do well than for those employees to be part of the bargain,” Biden said.
December 2nd, 2011
12:16 PM ET
(CNN) – President Obama announced Friday the federal government and private sector partners will invest $4 billion over the next two years in energy upgrades to buildings across the country, an initiative the White House says will create several thousand new construction jobs.
The president made the announcement on the top floor of a building currently under renovation and only steps from the White House with former President Bill Clinton at his side. The collaboration is part of the White House’s “We Can’t Wait” campaign – a series of executive orders Obama has issued over the last two months without congressional involvement.
"Making our buildings more energy-efficient is one of the fastest and cheapest ways for us to create jobs, save money, and cut down on harmful pollution. It is a trifecta,” the president said. “It could save our businesses up to $40 billion a year on our energy bills."
Obama also called on Congress to provide added incentives to private sector businesses that agree to undergo energy upgrades.
Half of the $4 billion commitment is the result of a presidential memorandum to upgrade federal buildings nationwide. The White House says the up-front costs will be completely defrayed by the long-term savings that the more energy-efficient upgrades will produce.
The other $2 billion investment pledge comes from a partnership of 60 mayors, university presidents, business CEOs, and labor leaders. The goal is to achieve a 20 percent upgrade in energy performance by the year 2020 in 1.6 billion square feet of office space.
“Over the past decades we’ve seen what happens if we don’t make investments like these - wages flat line, incomes fall, and employment stall. But we’ve also seen what happens if we do what’s right,” Obama also said.
The new partnership builds on one already forged by the Clinton Global Initiative, which has secured commitments from 14 private sector partners to make a $500 million investment in energy upgrades.
The announcement won quick plaudits from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, an organization that often spars with the Obama administration over economic policy.
In a statement, U.S. Chamber of Commerce president Thomas Donahue, who was also at the event, said the new initiative has “tremendous potential.”
“It is a surefire way to create jobs and make our nation’s federal buildings more energy-efficient, all without using a penny of taxpayer money,” he said.
November 30th, 2011
09:34 AM ET
Scranton, Pennsylvania (CNN) – Planning to push for an extension of the payroll tax holiday at a high school in Scranton,Pennsylvania on Wednesday, President Obama is taking his jobs message to a familiar setting.
Pennslyvania is among the states Obama has visited most as president. It's no surprise: Pennsylvania's penchant for close elections makes its 20 electoral votes a tempting prize for both parties. But a win here in November may be particularly important to the president, who could use a bit of breathing room as he faces tough odds to hold some of the Republican-leaning states he won in 2008.
Officially, the White House maintains this is not a campaign trip, but the 2012 overtones will be impossible to ignore when Air Force One touches down in this city that once thrived on the back of the coal-mining industry but now faces an unemployment rate bordering on nine percent – the highest among the state's most populous cities.
Obama has a bit of a complicated history here, having gotten his clocked cleaned by Hillary Clinton in the 2008 Democratic primary before walloping Sen. John McCain eight months later. Now, the state appears solidly up for grabs: a recent Quinnipiac poll showed him with a razor-thin lead over Mitt Romney, currently the odds-on favorite to win the GOP nomination.
Still, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Monday presidential travel decisions are based on a variety of factors, not least of which is their proximity to Washington.
November 8th, 2011
09:38 AM ET
YEADON, PA (CNN) -President Obama is not easing up on taking executive actions to install new plans where he believes Congress won't act.
As he heads to a state-of-the-art preschool facility in Yeadon, PA to tour and visit a classroom of 3-5 year olds, a senior administration official confirmed he'll be announcing new steps to strengthen the nations education system.
Highlights of plan:
-Low-performing Head Start programs for preschool children will be required to compete for federal funds And HHS will review performance to determine eligibility.
-New rule is designed "to promote accountability and improve the quality of Head Start programs,"
-A third of Head Start grantees will be required to compete for funds.(Admin estimates)
President Obama has gone around Congress recently with highly touted executive actions to help underwater homeowners and college students drowning in debt.
Republicans who continue to criticize the presidents "we can't wait" campaign have repeatedly pointed to House bills stuck in the Senate that they believe if acted on will bolster the economy.
November 2nd, 2011
03:04 PM ET
This morning President Obama visited yet another deficient bridge to continue his push for increased infrastructure spending. Choosing a location a little closer to home this time, the president spoke in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington D.C., citing the bridge behind him as an example of why Congress must act on funding for roads and bridges, but reiterating that "if they won't act, I will."
“It's the Key Bridge; one of the five major bridges that connect the Commonwealth of Virginia to Washington DC,” the president said. “Two of these five bridges are rated structurally deficient, which is a fancy way of saying you can drive on them but they need repair. Nearly 120,000 vehicles cross these two bridges every single day carrying hundreds of thousands of commuters and families and children.”
As part of his new ‘we can’t wait’ campaign, President Obama also unveiled today that he was pushing a new initiative to get federal money to infrastructure projects faster, telling several hundred unemployed construction workers and representatives from the labor, business and infrastructure communities that “if there's money already in the pipeline, we want to get it out faster.”
Continuing his attacks on Congress, the president pointed to a vote this week on the infrastructure portion of his American Jobs Act, saying that this week “Congress has another chance.” He went on to cite two recent votes creating a commemorative coin for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and reaffirming “In God we trust” as the nation's motto as proof that Members of Congress had plenty of time to take up what proposals he argued will help create jobs. FULL POST
November 2nd, 2011
10:09 AM ET
Imagine having behind the scenes access to the White House, the president and his cabinet and all of it, on camera. For a TV reporter that might be just a dream. But the Obama administration is using that carrot to try to take its message, particularly on pressing for passage of the president's jobs program, directly to voters–in their living rooms. This week the White House opened its doors to nine television anchormen and women from local markets key to the president's agenda or his re-election in 2012.
"There are Americans all around the country in the many, many millions who get their news primarily through local television, local affiliates," said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney. "And the president's very interested in communicating with them and telling them what he's doing here."
A special area was set up on the South Lawn for the media blitz. The local anchors interviewed members of the cabinet including Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan –all talking about the importance of passing the president's jobs bill.
After defeat of his $447 billion jobs bill in Congress the president has crisscrossed the country to press his case to voters and appeal for passage of key parts of the legislation.
Amelia Santaniello from Minneapolis TV station WCCO asked Carney at Tuesday's White House briefing why the president is issuing so many executive orders lately to circumvent Congress. "Why did he wait until now to do this?" she asked. FULL POST
October 24th, 2011
05:28 PM ET
When President Obama rolled out his American Jobs Act last month, the administration chose not to include with it specific projections of the bill’s possible economic effects. Instead, it left the prognosticating up to third-party analysts who quickly filed various projections of the plans potential benefits. Since then, the president has been traveling around the country touting these independent analyses and challenging Republicans to submit their jobs plan to similar scrutiny.
At a press conference on October 6, Obama took this tack when he gave the members of the White House press corps a “homework assignment.”
“Go ask the Republicans what their jobs plan is if they’re opposed to the American Jobs Act, and have it scored, have it assessed by the same independent economists that have assessed our jobs plan,” Obama said. “These independent economists say that we could grow the economy as much as 2 percent, and as many as 1.9 million workers would be back on the job. …Have those economists evaluate what, over the next two years, the Republican jobs plan would do. I’ll be interested in the answer.”
Well, last week a group of Republican senators released the Jobs through Growth Act and today Macroeconomic Advisers – one of the firms who helped provide Obama with his numbers – posted its analysis of the plan on its blog. Among other proposals, the GOP plan calls for the adoption of a balanced budget amendment to the constitution, an idea that MA took issue with. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney wasted little time highlighting the firm's analysis as proof that the president’s plan does more for job creation, even reading from the blog post before taking questions from members of the media traveling with the president aboard Air Force One today.
Here’s the portion of MA’s blog post that Carney read: FULL POST
September 25th, 2011
09:56 AM ET
WASHINGTON (CNN) –President Obama's fiery speech at the Congressional Black Caucus awards dinner Saturday night, in which he challenged Republicans in Congress to show they care about job creation and explained how his jobs bill would help the black community, was well-received by the CBC audience.
As he has done frequently in the weeks since he introduced the American Jobs Act, the president repeatedly called on Congress to pass the bill.
September 20th, 2011
01:43 PM ET
Crumbling bridges and highways, aging water systems and airports- these are the real life concerns a group of mayors from the nation's 50 biggest cities is bringing toWashingtonless than one week after the president's jobs proposal. Mr. Obama's jobs bill would create an infrastructure bank to finance new projects and at the same time help create jobs.
Meeting today at the White House, half a dozen key members from the non-partisan U.S. Conference of Mayors told the president's top advisors they're tired of the gridlock inWashington.
"At a time here inWashingtonwhen those in the beltway bubble don't seem to be listening, we think it's important that we hear fromAmerica's cities," said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, president of the group. "We want them (Congress) to do their job." FULL POST