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President Obama Visits the Triad

President Obama at Guilford Technical Community College
Jeff Tiberii

On Tuesday morning President Obama was in the Triad to promote his American Jobs Act.

Day two of a three-day bus tour brought President Obama to the campus of Guilford Technical Community College. His speech lasted 25 minutes in front of a gymnasium full of spectators. The message deviated slightly from remarks he made in Western North Carolina on Monday.
One new area of emphasis was the possible effect his jobs bill could have on taxes.

President Obama: "If we don’t pass the Americans Job Act, if we don’t pass the provision in there that extends the payroll cut we passed in November, most people here, your taxes will go up by $1,000. So voting no against the jobs bill is voting in favor of middle class families income taxes going up"

With his sleeves rolled up Mr. Obama’s delivery at times offered a sense of urgency. Last week his jobs bill was voted down by the U.S. Senate. Now, the President is proposing breaking the measure up in parts in an effort to pass it piece by piece. During his speech, he stressed one of those pieces, education. 

Mr. Obama: "One North Carolina teacher said, we didn’t cause the poor economy. If anything we built the good parts. And that teacher is absolutely right; our teachers build the good parts of our economy. It gives our children the skills they need to compete. It gives our children a future that is bright."

Linda Phillips is a reading and communications teacher at Ragsdale High School – located across the road from where President Obama spoke. Her program is funded by a grant that expires after this school year. She and four others participated in a roundtable conversation with the President before his public remarks. Philips described the President as attentive. very genuine, relaxed and interested in what she did.

Linda Phillips: "We talked about the importance of early childhood education, and the importance of taking high school into a more relevant realm. And that’s a big issue for him."

Phillips said the president did not discuss his Jobs Act during the roundtable discussion.
Meanwhile, some spectators had mixed reviews of the plan. Davidson County resident Ken Hubble describes himself as a staunch republican. He supports the new approach separating Mr. Obama’s jobs bill into parts. However, Hubble says it needs to include more workers.

Ken Hubble: "I like the small business components of it. I like the fact that he has ideas on how to fund it. I wish it addressed the rest of folks who are out of work, as well as the teachers, firefighters and builders; because I think everyone right now is in pretty bad shape."

Specifically, Hubble wants the president to pay more attention to computer programming. Both Hubble and Phillips – the school teacher – shared that they voted for Senator McCain during the 2008 presidential election, but that their votes are up for grabs next year.
During his speech the President stayed on point and didn’t address the 2012 election. He said that Congress will have an opportunity to vote on a piece of his jobs bill later this week.

President Obama: "It’s a vote that would put hundreds of thousands of police officers back on that beat, firefighters back on the job and teachers – like Linda, back in the classroom where they belong."

Following his address the president left for Virginia, where he will conclude his three day bus tour on Wednesday.

Jeff Tiberii is the co-host of WUNC's "Due South." Jeff joined WUNC in 2011. During his 20 years in public radio, he was Morning Edition Host at WFDD and WUNC’s Greensboro Bureau Chief and later, the Capitol Bureau Chief. Jeff has covered state and federal politics, produced the radio documentary “Right Turn,” launched a podcast, and was named North Carolina Radio Reporter of the Year four times.
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