President Barack Obama was in campaign-mode during his stop at N-C State University yesterday. His jobs speech was more like a re-election campaign speech. There was chanting, cheering and waving – and Mr. Obama didn’t mind the attention at all.
The mood in Reynolds Coliseum was patriotic.
NC State Men's Accapella Group: " Oh say can you see, by the dawn’s early light, what so proudly we hailed..."
And in many ways – with more than nine-thousand people packed in – Reynolds was a party. (NC State Marching Band playing "Forget You" - Cee Lo Green)
President Obama: "It is good to be back at NC State! (cheers) Good to have all these wolves in my wolf-pack! (cheers)"
President Barack Obama strutted to the stage with his sleeves rolled up and a smile on his face. He said the “American Jobs Act” he introduced last week and is pushing Congress to pass, is a top priority. Mr. Obama says it means bringing back good jobs – middle class jobs.
President Obama: "Jobs that pay well, jobs that offer some security, jobs that are available for all the young people who are going to be graduating from NC State! (cheers) Because I know that’s what the students are thinking about."
The White House says passage of the jobs bill would mean hundreds of millions of dollars for North Carolina – in money to fix roads and bridges and money for teachers and police officers. The president also says 170-thousand small businesses across the state would benefit from having their payroll taxes cut by half.
Mr. Obama stopped in Apex before his speech in Raleigh. He toured West-Star Precision with owner Erv Portman – who is also a Wake County Commissioner. West-Star is a manufacturer specializing in components for aerospace, medical and alternative energy. Portman introduced President Obama at NC State.
Erv Portman: "Employers like West Star want to invest in new equipment to expand capacity and to grow. Employees need that investment to compete and win. The president’s plan will help us do just that."
Mayra Navarro is an 18-year-old Math Education major at N-C State. Navarro says she liked what President Obama had to say but she’s still wonders how the jobs bill will be paid for.
Mayra Navarro: "I’m kind of worried about how are we supposed to get the money, you know what I mean"
Republicans agree. They are against raising taxes to pay for the 447-billion dollar initiative. During a G-O-P conference call, Congresswoman Renee Ellmers of Dunn said once again, the president is out with failed policy.
Renee Ellmers: "It’s failed in the past, it will fail in the future and no matter what he calls it, giving it a new name, whether we’re talking about infrastructure growth, or we’re talking. What thing you put on it, what name label otherwise, it’s still the same thing and it’s not going to work."
Prof. Steven Greene: "Well, let’s put it this way. For him to be successful in his 2012 campaign, it would really help him if this legislation passes."
Steven Greene is a Political Science professor at N-C State. He says Mr. Obama needs the “American Jobs Act” to pass Congress for several reasons.
Prof. Steven Greene: "He needs the economic benefits that most economists say this will bring. He needs the political win – if you will - the Republicans want to deny him. But again mostly, anything that can help get more people back to work is good for any president running for re-election."
And it is very clear – the president is campaigning hard for re-election – in a state that will be a battleground in 2012.
President Obama: "We need to build an economy that lasts and Raleigh that starts now. (I love you Barack!) (cheers) I love you back. (cheers) If you love me, If you love me, you"