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Pitching His Budget, Obama Makes a California Swing

By Scott Wilson
COSTA MESA, Calif. -- President Obama begins a visit to southern California today where he plans to use a backdrop of job losses and home foreclosures to argue for a budget proposal he says will begin building a new economy.

California supported Obama in last year's election, and Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger endorsed the president's stimulus package, which will bring a state with a double-digit unemployment rate more than $30 billion in federal help.

But an angry populism fed by the financial crisis is rising in the country, including among moderate Republicans, whose support for Obama in this state was important to his success. Here in traditionally conservative Orange County, where he will hold a town hall-style event tonight, his visit is as much a show of solidarity as sales opportunity.

"I think people are right to be angry," the president said before leaving Washington, referring to the AIG bonuses issue. "I'm angry. What I want us to do, though, is channel our anger in a constructive way."

Obama's two-day California agenda is planned, event by event, to showcase the short-term benefits of the recently passed stimulus package and also longer-range plans embedded in his $3.6 trillion budget to change the nation's economy.

Some of those ideas on health care, energy and education have been received skeptically in Washington. The popular president is taking them to a place looking hard for remedies.

Once a hub of manufacturing and agriculture, before housing developments replaced the acres of citrus groves, Orange County has been pummeled by the economic downturn. The housing bubble popped with devastating effect here, undermining public finances and private-sector employment.

More than 700 foreclosures were recorded last month, an improvement from a year ago but a sign the economy continues to move in the wrong direction. The county unemployment rate stands at 7.5 percent and the labor force continues to shed thousands of jobs a month.

Before leaving Washington today, the president said, "We have to move beyond a constant bubble-bust mentality and start establishing a foundation for long-term economic growth."

Obama, who lost the county in the general election, will make the case that short-term help is on the way in the form of $28 million in stimulus money for five road projects.

The place is infamous for traffic congestion. In all, Orange County transportation projects are scheduled to receive $200 million from the $787 billion stimulus plan.

Jerome Ruddins, a construction manager on a highway project that will receive federal aid, will introduce the president at today's town-hall event, scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. Eastern. It is being held at the county fairgrounds, and the line of those planning to attend started forming hours earlier.

The president plans to hold two town-hall forums -- one today, and one Thursday in Los Angeles, where Schwarzenegger will introduce him.

Obama's budget includes proposals designed to bring down the cost of health care and improve public education, a major concern in a state where much of the system is funded by now-falling property tax revenue.

In a summary of the county's economic straits, the White House listed an appeal by the city of Mission Viejo for the local school district to cut salaries by 4 percent to keep open an elementary school. It is being closed to help fill a $10 million budget shortfall.

Conservatives have criticized Obama's budget proposal as too big given the country's poor economy, enormous debt burden and trillion-dollar Bush-era deficit, which the president says his plan would cut in half by 2012. In defending it, Obama has said the country must spend now to make changes that may not be evident for years.

His visit Thursday to an electric-vehicle manufacturing laboratory in Los Angeles will give him the forum to make that point.

Obama said this week that his budget plan contains billions of dollars in new spending on renewable and alternative energy proposals, saying this "will finally spark the transformation we need" in a potentially job-creating field.

The president will end his California trip Thursday with an appearance on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno."

By Web Politics Editor  |  March 18, 2009; 5:29 PM ET
Categories:  Barack Obama , Economy  
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Next: Obama Drops Controversial Third-Party Billing Proposal for Veterans


One other point, change the immigration laws to do away with anchor babies.

Posted by: Bubbette1 | March 19, 2009 6:36 PM | Report abuse

Obama said yesterday he wants to grant amnesty to all illegal aliens so they could all join unions. I think he needs to step away from the crack pipe.

Mean while back at the Communist Retraining Camp, Pelosi (aka The Great Mother of All Wing-Nuts) calls enforcement of immigration laws "un-American". See it here:

While Obama is saying there are 12 million illegal aliens, others say the true number is something between 20 to 40,000,000. The cost to the tax payers to support these illegal immigrants is staggering.

I think Obama and Pelosi have misread the temperament of the American People on this issue. Find and register or deport these illegal aliens. Secure our borders. If there is a need for registered alien workers then set-up the agency to handle it and ensure they are registered before they enter the USA. Send business owners who hire illegal aliens to do some jail time. Send stimulus money to the States along the Mexican border so they can do their job.

Posted by: Bubbette1 | March 19, 2009 6:30 PM | Report abuse

If you support these core initiatives:

-Effective, empowered teachers and school leaders;
-Student assessments that stress 21st century skills;
-Universal access to high-quality early education;
-A safe, healthy learning environment; and
-Affordable college for all students,

Then let President Obama know! Visit EDVOTERS.ORG and sign the petition today!

Posted by: dangiaco | March 19, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

California here I come right back were REAGAN started from.

Now if he would only resign and allow a special election to replace him and Biden, Happy days would be here again

VJ Machiavelli

Posted by: VJMachiavelli1 | March 19, 2009 2:08 AM | Report abuse

Our new president is a hundred times smarter with more wisdom than the last Republican presidents and certainly much more gifted than the Republican leadership. Making up stuff doesn't change those facts. He's authentic. And musings by those that are full of anger and hate doesn't make that go away. Over 60% of our voting public support this president. The world people's are supporting him. Get over it.

Republicans are trying to rewrite history and make up information to meet the messages they want. The Heritage Foundation is a so called think tank that is not respected by any respectable academic institution in the world. They make up and make up. Some think tanks are better, like Stanford's Hoover Institute, but they are few and between. The new Bush fool's tank is a joke and he's having a tough time funding it. It's a joke to put it on a mediocre college campus without any standards to guide it. This is where the Republican party has come to. My family left the party ages back once the Southerners left the Democratic party to become Republicans. That became a step towards right wing religion, neoconservatism and old white men's causes.

It's not the Home of the Brave. It's the Nursing Home of Disenfranchised.

Posted by: lucy2008 | March 18, 2009 8:34 PM | Report abuse

Do we really have anything positive to say about the Democratic leadership? When the would promote illegal immigration over their own countryman? 300.000 jobs in construction (stated Heritage Foundation) for illegal aliens in the in the Senate bill loophole?

Hundreds of billions of dollars are soaked up, in mostly undisclosed benefits--health care---education--prisons---and a conglomeration of government handouts, unavailable to legal residents.

In an atmosphere of underhanded secrecy, Democrats pushed through the Stimulus, then the Omnibus bills, but removing funding for 13 year old---E-Verify. With a stroke of the pen its actual draft disappeared mysteriously accept to observant sources. But they are irate because it's extended with funding till September.

Attracting no attention from the public Sen.Harry Reid, Speaker Pelosi and 48 other devious plotters, including:- Akaka--Inouye--Begich--Bennet--Udall--Bingaman--Udall--Boxer--Feinstein--Brown--Burris--Durbin--Byrd--Rockefeller--Cantwell-- Murray--Cardin-- --Mikulski--Carper--Kaufman--Casey--Conrad-- Dorgan--Dodd--Lieberman--Feingold--Kohl--Gillibrand--Schumer--Hagan--Harkin--Johnson--Kerry-- Landrieu--Shaheen--Leahy--Sanders--Levin --Stabenow--Lincoln--Pryor--Menendez--Lautenberg--Merkley--Wyden--Nelson--Reed--Whitehouse--Warner/

With complete and utter shameful disregard for the American worker they had killed E-verify, so that illegal alien workers could be hired. Could be they snuffed E-Verify, because their are millions of illegal labor in Sanctuary cities, like Los Angeles, San Francisco, Salt Lake City and many more. Call these rogues up and ask their aides why are you supporting the illegal immigrant workers. Then tell them a vote of no-confidence or better still a recall for their traitorous acts against Americans. Why even a Stimulus, when the legal population, have to compete with illegal labor. Why are Americans and documented residents even having to support illegal immigrants with billions in their tax money. Don't accept these corrupt lawmakers time restraints---tell them you want E-Verify for an-- INCESSANT--period.

Your Senators and Representatives all have website and probably cringing from the banshee wails of angry people. To find your Senator: To phone your Representative: Leave a comment for the President: 202) 456-1414, To comment: (202) 456-111

Posted by: infinity555 | March 18, 2009 6:27 PM | Report abuse

Aw shucks Obama. You've come here to Cali to grace us with your presence. Are you in Cali visiting your acting coach? You should be. This phony outrage is worse than Tammy Faye's crocodile tears back in the day.

Posted by: luckyseven323 | March 18, 2009 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Aw shucks Obama. You've come here to Cali to grace us with your presence. Are you in Cali visiting your acting coach? You should be. This phony outrage is worse than Tammy Faye's crocodile tears back in the day.

Posted by: luckyseven323 | March 18, 2009 5:57 PM | Report abuse

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