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Obama Returns to Ohio to Pitch Stimulus Plan

President-elect Barack Obama holds a large bolt presented to him during a visit to Cardinal Fastener and Specialty Co. in Bedford Heights, Ohio. (Mark Duncan/Associated Press)

Updated 1:45 p.m.
By Eli Saslow
BEDFORD HEIGHTS, Ohio -- It felt, for many who watched, like déjà vu. Barack Obama put on a pair of goggles and toured a factory in a swing state. He delivered a 10-minute speech. He shook a few dozen hands before heading back to the airport.

He even left the manufacturing plant with its equivalent of a giant key to the city: an 18-inch long bolt.

The beginning of Obama's final trip as President-elect resembled a campaign stop, except for the product he was selling. Instead of pitching his own credentials, Obama asked a small audience at Cardinal Fastener & Specialty Company to help support his economic stimulus proposal, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan.

Obama picked the factory because it manufactures small parts used in wind turbines. The company, which employs 65 people, has expanded quickly in the last few years. Obama toured the small plant for about 20 minutes before making his speech.

"Renewable energy isn't something pie-in-the-sky," Obama said. "It's not part of a far-off future. It's happening all across America right now.... With all the bad news going on out there, with all the news of jobs lost and businesses shuttered, jobs were created right here."

Obama cautioned that the economy "might get worse before it gets better," and thanked the employees at the manufacturing plant for their work. Then he exited quickly. He will fly tonight to Philadelphia and make his way by train to Washington for good on Saturday.

Obama's remarks, as prepared for delivery, follow:

I want to start by thanking the folks here at Cardinal Fastener for the tour you just gave me. The story of this company - which began building wind turbine parts just two years ago, and is now poised to make half its earnings that way - is that a renewable energy economy isn't some pie-in-the-sky, far-off future. It's happening all across America right now. It's providing alternatives to foreign oil now. It can create millions of additional jobs and entire new industries if we act right now.

The need for this action has never been more urgent. We've started this year in the midst of a crisis unlike any we've seen in our lifetime. Last month, we lost more than half a million jobs - a total of nearly 2.6 million in 2008. Another 3.4 million people who want and need full-time work have had to settle for part-time jobs. With each passing day, families here in Ohio and across America are watching their bills pile up and their savings disappear. And economists from across the spectrum tell us that if nothing is done, and we continue on our current path, this recession could linger for years - and America could lose the competitive edge that has served as the foundation for our strength and standing in the world.

It's not too late to change course - but only if we take dramatic action as soon as possible. The way I see it, the first job of my Administration is to put people back to work and get our economy working again. That's why I've moved quickly to work with my economic team and leaders of both parties on an American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan that will immediately jumpstart job creation and long-term growth. And I'm pleased that Congress has seen the urgency as well, and is moving quickly to consider such a plan.

It's a plan that will save or create three to four million jobs in businesses large and small across a wide range of industries - and 90 percent of these jobs will be in the private sector. And I want to be clear - we're not looking to create just any kind of jobs here. We're looking to create good jobs that pay well and won't be shipped overseas. Jobs that don't just put people to work in the short-term, but position our economy to be on the cutting edge in the long-term.

That starts with new, clean sources of energy. We know that the possibilities here are limitless. Here in Ohio and across America, we've seen old factories become new clean energy producers. We've seen entrepreneurs turning solar energy into electricity, and corn and soybeans into bio-fuels. Our scientists and engineers are hard at work developing cars that use less gas, homes and appliances that require less energy, schools and offices that are greener and more efficient than ever before.

But we also know that we are nowhere near realizing the full potential of their work. Take the example of wind power alone: I'm told that if we don't act now, because of the economic downturn, half of the wind projects planned for 2009 could wind up being abandoned. Think about that. Think about all the businesses that wouldn't come to be, all the jobs that wouldn't be created, all the clean energy we wouldn't produce.

And think of what's happening in countries like Spain, Germany and Japan, where they're making real investments in renewable energy. They're surging ahead of us, poised to take the lead in these new industries.

This isn't because they're smarter than us, or work harder than us, or are more innovative than we are. It's because their governments have harnessed their people's hard work and ingenuity with bold investments - investments that are paying off in good, high-wage jobs - jobs they won't lose to other countries.

There is no reason we can't do the same thing right here in America. That's why, as part of our Recovery and Reinvestment plan, we're committing to double the production of renewable energy in the next three years, and to modernize more than 75% of federal buildings and improve the energy efficiency of two million American homes.

In the process, we'll put nearly half a million people to work building wind turbines and solar panels; constructing fuel-efficient cars and buildings; and developing the new energy technologies that will lead to new jobs, more savings, and a cleaner, safer planet in the bargain.

Here at Cardinal Fastener, that could mean going from operating at 50 percent capacity to 90 percent capacity and creating even more good, made-in-America jobs right here in Ohio.

With our Recovery and Reinvestment Plan, we'll also create hundreds of thousands of jobs by improving health care - transitioning to a nationwide system of computerized medical records that won't just save money, but save lives by preventing deadly medical errors. And we'll create hundreds of thousands more jobs in education, equipping tens of thousands of schools with 21 st century classrooms, labs and computers to help our kids compete with any worker in the world for any job.

We'll put nearly 400,000 people to work by repairing our infrastructure - our crumbling roads, bridges and schools. And we'll build the new infrastructure we need to succeed in this new century, investing in science and technology, and laying down miles of new broadband lines so that businesses across our nation can compete with their counterparts around the world.

Finally, we won't just create jobs, we'll also provide help for those who've lost theirs, and for states and families who've been hardest-hit by this recession. That means bi-partisan extensions of unemployment insurance and health care coverage; a $1,000 tax cut for 95 percent of working families; and assistance to help states avoid harmful budget cuts in essential services like police, fire, education and health care.

Now, given the magnitude of the challenges we face, none of this will come easy. Recovery won't happen overnight, and it's likely that, even with these measures, things will get worse before they get better.

But if anyone doubts that we can dig ourselves out of this hole, I invite them to come here to Ohio and look what you've done at Cardinal Fastener. I know it hasn't been easy - and it hasn't been without risk. But you've set your sights on the future, and you haven't looked back. In an economy that's losing jobs, you're creating them. And they're the kind of jobs that don't just support families and sustain communities - but also help transform our economy, spurring growth not just today, but for decades to come.

That's what we've always done in moments like this. We've looked ahead to the next big idea, that next new breakthrough. We've experimented and innovated, and when we've failed, we've picked ourselves up and tried again. And I know that if we can summon that determination and that great American spirit once again, we will meet the challenges of our time and build a better future for our children.

By Web Politics Editor  |  January 16, 2009; 1:26 PM ET
Categories:  Barack Obama , Primary Source  
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Come on here WAPO and msm as your still giving this creep a free pass,just like you
did George W Bush and we all saw where that
got us,didn't we now then? ..The Bush43
entire Presidency was one damn endless phony photo op and so far so is the Obama
Presidency BS as well..But then again what
can we expect out of anything run by Fred
Hiatt at WAPO?...Wake up a Presidency is not based on doing endless damn photo ops
or reading teleprompter speeches you fools.

Posted by: Carleen19771 | January 19, 2009 8:01 AM | Report abuse

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Posted by: bhttina | January 18, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

There could be no better investment in America than to invest in America becoming energy independent! We need to utilize everything in out power to reduce our dependence on foreign oil including using our own natural resources. Create cheap clean energy, new badly needed green jobs, and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. OPEC will continue to cut production until they achieve their desired 80-100. per barrel. The high cost of fuel this past year seriously damaged our economy and society. Oil is finite. We are using oil globally at the rate of 2X faster than new oil is being discovered. We need to take some of these billions in bail out bucks and bail ourselves out of our dependence on foreign oil. Jeff Wilson has a really good new book out called The Manhattan Project of 2009 Energy Independence Now. He explores our uses of oil besides gasoline, our depletion, out reserves and stores as well as viable options to replace oil.Oil is finite, it will run out in the not too distant future. WE need to take some of these billions in bail out bucks and bail America out of it's dependence on foreign oil. The historic high price of gas this past year did serious damage to our economy and society. WE should never allow others to have that much power over our economy again. I wish every member of congress would read this book too.

Posted by: BeyondGreen | January 17, 2009 10:48 AM | Report abuse

"I hope he talked to those working class grunts about clinging to their guns and bibles!

Posted by: dcn1 "
Yeah and how about that Jeremiah Wright huh?

It's THOSE grunts that he is trying to help ding-dong

Posted by: JRM2 | January 16, 2009 8:01 PM | Report abuse

"Golly, I wonder how many Illegals arrived while we were losing all those Jobs?"
The Saint
You can bet that many of the illegals are returning home with their restaurant, construction and consumer goods businesses cutting jobs.

It's not that the jobs are being taken, it's that the jobs do not exist anymore.

Posted by: JRM2 | January 16, 2009 7:59 PM | Report abuse

With a little help for my friend.

The fear of
the darkness
again disappears
when my
memory lives,
saving the pleasure
of a natural life;
and a thanks
overcomes, like
a delicate bird
near a shining

Francesco Sinibaldi Italy/Usa.

Posted by: Frasin66 | January 16, 2009 6:57 PM | Report abuse

I hope he talked to those working class grunts about clinging to their guns and bibles!

Posted by: dcn1 | January 16, 2009 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Mr. President-Elect, Please stop outsourcing of all service jobs and high tech jobs!!!

Force the employer to bring back these jobs!! Otherwise it will be cyclical.

This will make us restore more than 2 million high paying jobs!!! Those people will pay decent taxes to support other government initiatives.

Posted by: KentheCitizen | January 16, 2009 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Obama hitting the trail? TV ads hitting Republicans? Are these the last vestiges of the ‘08 campaign or is this the new style of getting your way in American politics? I’m guessing this constant campaigning, initiated by the Bush regime, is the new normal.

Posted by: parkerfl1 | January 16, 2009 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Jobs = Income = Consumer Spending = More Demand for Products and Services = More Employees Needed = More Jobs = More Incomes = More Spending etc etc = Econmic Recovery.

Bush did not want this because wealthy greedy Republican jerks like him don't want you to make money, they want you to starve and die. and they want to steal all your money and keep it all for themselves.

Bush didn't protect us, he robbed us and impoverished us, wake up.

On Tuesday Jan 20th we take our country back.

Posted by: Hillary08 | January 16, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

The First few thousand Jobs should be Federal!
As in Federal Agents authorized to go to Job sites, and screen Workers for IDs. Then, simply FINE their EMPLOYER!
Appeals can be made when proper ID is produced.
Otherwise, $1,000 Fine per un-Documented Worker.

THAT, will create 5 MILLION Jobs for the People who should be working them.

Then, we will need to get San Fran Nan to get HR 1940:Birthright Citizenship Act off her desk, Ratified, and made retro-active;

so all the NO LONGER "Dual" National Children can go back where they belong with their parents!

THAT, will free up BILLIONS of Dollars from our Medical costs!

Golly, I wonder how many Illegals arrived while we were losing all those Jobs? How many Children they dumped on us? SCHIPs Recipients every one!


When do we REVOLT?

Posted by: SAINT---The | January 16, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Increasing employment in the private sector is the key and if he does not deviate from that path we may recover. I hate to think that at some point he is forced by congress to increase employment in the public sector (in toher words bigger govt). The other area he and congress must work on is cancelling China's "most favored nation" trading status. Of course China will retaliate, but they are already tightening the screws. So it is a 'pay me now or pay me later' situation.

Posted by: yard80197 | January 16, 2009 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Oh God not another George W Bush Absentee
or AWOL Photo Op and Endless Empty Speechs
President again and right after Bush no less. How disgusting and waste of our US
Tax Payer Money This Endless Phony Travel
by BOTH George W Bush and Barack Obama is
folks. Obama doesn't have a clue how to be
President Just Like Clueless George W Bush.
The Obama Presidency Is A Disaster Even
Before Playboy Jetsetter Obama is sworn in.

Posted by: Amy2009 | January 16, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

I urge people to check out this short video, President Elect Obama sock gets to the very core of the economic issue. Interestingly this solution was taken up by Margaret Thatcher in the early eighties. The Uk was in deepest recession with unemployment at twelve percent. By investing in the unemployed and creating a tidal wave of small business. This movement carried the UK out of one of it's worst economic eras. check it out

Posted by: captainincredibleincredible | January 16, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

This is absolutely spot on. Isn't it refreshing to have a president elect with his finger on the pulse? People don't want hand outs, they want jobs. Start there and the rest will take care of itself.

Posted by: SarahBB | January 16, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse



CANCEL Risky "Sitting Duck" Obama-Biden Train Excursion

(There is a basis for serious concern here. And it's too cold for spectators, anyway...)

• What happened to Homeland Security warnings of "heightened risk" during Presidential transition?

• How about the late November FBI warning about possible Northeast train station attacks?

• "Amtrak Joe" Biden's longstanding warnings about security flaws along the Amtrak Northeast corridor -- why isn't he waving this whistle stop tour to a halt?

It is both mystifying and frightening to contemplate the unnecessary risk to which President-elect Barack Obama and Vice-President-elect Joe Biden are subjecting themselves by going through with Saturday's planned pre-inauguration "whistle stop" train ride from Philadelphia to Washington.

In his farewell press conference on Monday, President Bush seemed to go out of his way to twice repeat that the greatest threat the nation faces is another terrorist attack. At one point in his presser, he said that by giving official voice to the threat, he was not "trying to set something up."

Here are President Bush's exact words:

"There is an enemy that still is out there.

"You know, people can maybe try to write that off as, you know, 'he's trying to set something up.'

"I'm telling you there's an enemy that would like to attack America -- Americans -- again. There just is. That's the reality of the world."

George W. Bush could not have been more plain-spoken, candid and direct. The incoming White House team ignores his words -- which he most likely thought about before uttering them -- at their peril.

OR (if link is disabled):

Posted by: scrivener50 | January 16, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

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