Obama: If you love me, help pass jobs bill

President Barack Obama greets people on the tarmac upon his arrival at Raleigh Durham International Airport in Morrisville, N.C., Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2011 where he will speak about the American Jobs Act. (AP Photo/Jim R. Bounds)

September 14, 2011 8:02:48 PM PDT
President Barack Obama toured an Apex business Wednesday morning before heading to NC State in an effort to promote his $450 billion jobs program.

Air Force One touched down at the Raleigh-Durham International Airport shortly before 11 a.m.

The President then went on a brief tour of WestStar Precision in Apex before addressing a big crowd at Reynolds Coliseum on the campus of North Carolina State University.

Click here for the raw video of the speech

The White House said WestStar - a small manufacturing business - would benefit from the American Jobs Act Obama presented to Congress Monday.

The company's CEO introduced the President before his speech around 12:30 p.m.

Obama talked about his proposal to pay for the plan by raising taxes on big corporations and the wealthy, an idea that has not sat well with Republicans in Congress.

"We need to build an economy that lasts," he said. "If you love me, you gotta help me pass this bill."

Obama says the bill would put 19,000 construction workers in North Carolina back on the job. The administration hasn't released estimates of how many jobs the bill would create nationwide.

"If you want teachers back in the classroom, pass this bill ... If you want tax cuts for the middle class, pass this bill ...," Obama added.

In a statement sent out Wednesday, the National Republican Campaign Committee said Obama is just trying to sell his plan to "fund more wasteful stimulus spending."

The President would cover most of the cost of his jobs initiatives, nearly $400 billion, by limiting the itemized deductions wealthier people can take. He would get $40 billion by closing tax loopholes for oil and gas companies, $18 billion from imposing higher taxes on certain income from investment fund managers and $3 billion from changing how the tax code treats corporate jets.

Obama has run those ideas by Congress in the past and has gotten nowhere. So, the President hopes his fired up base will start calling Washington and push his idea.

NC State University alum and the Obama administration's first press secretary Robert Gibbs said the president's visit to North Carolina was no coincidence.

"North Carolina like in 2008 is going to be a hotly contested state," he said.

Obama won the state in 2008, but based on numbers from Democratic firm Public Policy Polling, the president would lose North Carolina if the election were held today. And unemployment's now at 10.1 percent statewide with layoffs slated for hundreds of workers here and across the country.

"Some of this is going to depend on the President hearing from people right here in North Carolina about how important it is to help build roads and bridges ... put people back to work," Gibbs said.

Former Charlotte mayor Pat McCrory said Wednesday before Obama's speech that with North Carolina's unemployment rate well above the national average, he was anxious to hear what the President had to say.

"I'm very concerned about the mention of tax increases," he said. "That's exactly what our economy doesn't need right now - particularly in the energy sector. We need to implement an energy plan that will create jobs and produce more American energy - not stifle this productivity.

"But we can't rely on the federal government to pull us out of the economic ditch," McCrory added. "We must foster an economic environment in our state that allows small businesses to grow and create jobs and makes North Carolina a destination of choice for companies looking for a place to relocate."

Obama's speech in North Carolina was his third event to promote the jobs bill in as many days.

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