Obama’s advisers acknowledged that the two actions alone are not enough to spur an economic revival — for that, they said, “bold congressional action” is needed — but that they will make a difference.
Back in Washington, Republicans mocked Obama’s tour, saying that his agenda would stunt job growth and that they would play no part in making his proposals law.
“The president doesn’t seem to understand that it’s his policies that are undermining economic growth and job creation,” House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) told reporters Thursday.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Obama’s tour is merely an attempt to dupe Americans into thinking he is focused on growing the economy.
“The idea, I presume, is to show folks that the White House has once again ‘pivoted’ to jobs,” McConnell told reporters Thursday. “And if you’re someone who’s all about the visual, then of course putting on a pair of goggles or showing up at a factory is a great way to at least look like you’re doing something about job creation.”
There was a political irony to Obama’s decision to play up the bustling economy in Texas, where the unemployment rate was 6.4 percent in April, well below the national average.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination to challenge Obama last year, greeted the president as he stepped off Air Force One at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. The president clasped Perry on the shoulder, and they exchanged pleasantries.
But before Obama even touched down in Austin, Perry already had claimed credit for the “Texas success story” that the president came here to praise. The governor said his policies of low taxes and lax regulations allowed Texas employers to create more than half a million jobs over the past five years while the nation as a whole lost 2.5 million positions.
“In fact, the very school he will visit today, Manor New Technology High School, was created as a result of a collaborative effort with Manor ISD, Samsung and my office, as part of a multibillion-dollar capital investment project by Samsung for a semiconductor facility. I was proud to cut the ribbon on opening day,” Perry wrote in an editorial published in the Austin American-Statesman.
Obama’s stop at Manor New Tech High School was his first of four events Thursday. He planned to meet with local middle-class residents and tech entrepreneurs. He also was scheduled to tour and give a speech at Applied Materials, a growing tech company in Austin.
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