Deep in the heart of Texas?
(photo credit: AFP/Getty Images)
March 9th, 2012
09:19 PM ET

Deep in the heart of Texas?

HOUSTON (CNN) - President Obama spent his Friday night deep in the heart of Texas raising cash for his campaign but why spend time in a place where he doesn't have a chance of winning?

According to Mark Jones, chairman of the political science department at Rice University and a fellow at Baker's Institute for Public Policy , he won't actually be campaigning in Texas, just raising money.

"Texas is a wealthy state," Jones said. "There are a lot of wealthy democrats and pragmatic voters so it is a very good source of funds for the democratic party."

But does he have a chance at winning the state in a general election?

Not really, according to Jones. "If Texas comes into play, it's only because Obama would have won so many other states and it would turn into a Reagan-Mondale situation.' he said.

Obama lost the state to McCain in 2008 by 12 percentage points and a bloc of voters feel that the Obama administration's policies have been anti-Texas. His energy policy, which focuses on an increase in alternative fuels, doesn't always sit well in this major oil-producing state.

The president told the crowd at a fundraiser gathered at Minute Maid Park, that oil production in America is at the highest level in eight years but that other forms of energy will help Texas too.

"Rather than continue a hundred years of taxpayer subsidies to an industry that’s very, very profitable, let’s double down on our investments in clean energy industry," Mr. Obama said.  "It’s never been more promising.  That will create jobs in Texas -– solar power and wind power, biofuels."

"Some large groups feel like he's not looking out for the future of Texas," Rice said. "There is somewhat of an echo chamber of the Republicans' message that Obama is  anti-Texas that resonates with the broader public."

But there is another group of Texans who fully support the president's policies. Almost 750 people were in attendance at the fundraiser at Union Station at Minute Maid Park where tickets started at $500. The second fundraiser of the evening was at the home of  Tony Chase, CEO of Chasesource, a recruiting firm. Tickets for the second event were the maximum $35,800 for each of the 70 guests.

Topics: 2012 Election • Fundraising
Obama talks jobs in southern Virginia
President Obama speaks after touring the Rolls-Royce Crosspointe plant in Prince George County, Virginia.
March 9th, 2012
02:57 PM ET

Obama talks jobs in southern Virginia

At the Rolls Royce jet engine facility in Prince George, VA on Friday, President Obama announced a new proposal to create a National Manufacturing Innovation Network meant to link industry stakeholders in a national conversation about best manufacturing practices. The cost of the president's new proposal is $1 billion, but the White House is committed to creating a pilot program using appropriated funds from various departments rather than waiting for Congress to approve funds requested in the president’s budget.

"Think of this as a place where companies can share access to cutting edge capabilities," Obama told a crowd of nearly 1,500 about the proposed manufacturing institute. "At the same time students and workers are picking up new skills. They're training on state of the art equipment. They're solving some of the most important challenges facing our manufacturers. You've just got all this brain power and skill and experience coming together in this hub."

According to the White House, the location of the proposed pilot program will be decided based on a competitive process and will cost $45 million. Funding will come primarily from the Departments of Defense, Energy and Commerce with some additional money provided by the National Science Foundation.

Obama's visit came on the same day the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced overall job creation for the month of February had exceeded analysts' expectations. The manufacturing sector alone added 31,000 jobs in February, a feat Obama lauded.

Topics: Economy • jobs • President Obama • The News • Virginia
Obama Calling Vladimir Putin
March 9th, 2012
11:48 AM ET

Obama Calling Vladimir Putin

Update:  The White House Readout of the president's call:

President Obama called Russian President-elect and Prime Minister Putin to congratulate him on his recent victory in the Russian Presidential election.  President Obama highlighted achievements in U.S.-Russia relations over the past three years with President Medvedev, including cooperation on Afghanistan, the conclusion and ratification of the START agreement, Russia’s recent invitation to join the World Trade Organization (WTO) and cooperation on Iran.  President Obama and President-Elect Putin agreed that the successful reset in relations should be built upon during the coming years.  The President said that he looked forward to hosting President-Elect Putin at the G-8 Summit in May at Camp David.  The two leaders outlined areas for future cooperation, including strengthening trade and investment relations arising out of Russia’s pending accession to the WTO. President Obama and President-Elect Putin agreed to continue discussions on areas where the United States and Russia have differed, including Syria and missile defense. President Obama and President-Elect Putin agreed to continue their efforts to find common ground and remove obstacles to better relations.


Aboard Air Force One just now Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest announced that President Obama would be placing a call to President-elect Vladimir Putin during his flight to Virginia this morning.

"Technology-willing it's probably occurring right now," Earnest said just before 11:30 AM.

He did not provide a preview of what the two leaders would talk about on the call, but he did say that the White House would be providing a read out later this afternoon. So stay tuned.

Obama quietly prepares for fall as Republicans fight
March 9th, 2012
10:19 AM ET

Obama quietly prepares for fall as Republicans fight

Washington (CNN) - The campaigns of President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney don't agree on much. But on one subject, officials from both sides are in sync.

As the GOP primary race goes into its third official month, the biggest winner appears to be the president.

Referring to rivals Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, a Romney campaign staffer said, "The only person's odds of winning are increasing are President Barack Obama's," arguing it was time for Gingrich and Santorum to depart the race.

Several leading Republicans have publicly echoed that sentiment in recent days, confronted with poll numbers showing the president's job approval rating above 50% for the first time in months - a far cry from last fall when he was mired in the low 40s.

The ongoing Republican infighting has dragged down Romney's favorability rating among swing voters, forced him to awkwardly pivot right from stances that otherwise would have resonated with a broader electorate in the fall and led to a series of gaffes that could have been avoided had the former Massachusetts governor sewed up the nomination weeks ago.

All the while, Obama's own campaign machinations have largely skated under the radar, allowing him to appear to be the adult in the room as the Republican candidates fight over contraception, illegal immigration, the minimum wage and each others' pasts.

President to Announce New Manufacturing Initiative
President Barack Obama sits in the cockpit of a 787 Dreamliner during his tour of the Boeing Plant production facility in Everett, Washington on February 17. In Washington he announced new import/export initiatives to make it easier for U.S. manufacturers to sell their products overseas. Today, the president will announce more new manufacturing proposals.
March 9th, 2012
10:18 AM ET

President to Announce New Manufacturing Initiative


In Virginia today President Obama will unveil new manufacturing initiatives during a visit to the Rolls Royce Crosspointe jet engine disc factory. According to a fact sheet put out by the White House, the president will call for a “National Network for Manufacturing Innovation,” which it says will help up to 15 manufacturing “Institutes” to foster innovation around the country.

The president’s budget calls for $1 billion to create the new network, but in the meantime the administration plans to use $45 million from the Departments of Defense, Energy, and Commerce and the National Science Foundation to create a pilot institute.

Obama has made manufacturing a central part of his economic proposals in recent months, and in doing so his administration has repeatedly highlighted the recent success the industry has had creating new jobs. Here’s how the White House describes its latest initiative:

The Institutes will bring together industry, universities and community colleges, federal agencies, and our states to accelerate innovation by investing in industrially-relevant manufacturing technologies with broad applications to bridge the gap between basic research and product development, provide shared assets to help companies – particularly small manufacturers – access cutting-edge capabilities and equipment, and create an unparalleled environment to educate and train students and workers in advanced manufacturing skills. Each Institute will serve as a regional hub of manufacturing excellence, providing the innovation infrastructure to support regional manufacturing hubs and ensuring that our manufacturing sector is a key pillar in an economy that is built to last.

Topics: President Obama
Daily Briefing: Unemployment Numbers, Greek Bond Swap
March 9th, 2012
07:40 AM ET

Daily Briefing: Unemployment Numbers, Greek Bond Swap

The 1600 Report's daily roundup of what the White House is reading this morning online and in the papers:

Stocks: Investors await jobs report (CNN Money)

Greece Pushes Through Debt Swap as Euro Chiefs Ready Rescue (Bloomberg)

Oil Rises a Third Day on Greek Debt Swap, U.S. Economy (Bloomberg)

White House Works to Shape Debate Over Health Law (NY Times)

Israel’s ex-spy chief says more efforts needed before considering attack on Iran (AP)

Lebanon snubs U.S. plea to protect Syrian rebels (Reuters)

Sherrod firing: emails reveal White House role (AP)


Topics: Uncategorized
POTUS Day Ahead: Rolls Royce Crosspointe, Texas Fundraising
March 9th, 2012
07:25 AM ET

POTUS Day Ahead: Rolls Royce Crosspointe, Texas Fundraising

On Friday, President Obama heads to Prince George, VA to visit Rolls Royce factory and roll out a plan to push for $1 billion in grant money to establish a series of regional manufacturing institutes. Following a tour and some remarks in Prince Georgy, Obama heads to Houston, TX for two fundraisers – the first at the Houston Astro's Minute Maid Park, and the second at a private residence.

Here's the schedule as released by the White House: FULL POST

Topics: Daily Schedule