By Amie Parnes - 01/11/12 06:32 PM EST
President Obama on Wednesday urged the nation’s corporate executives to invest in the United States by insourcing jobs to help the economy rebound, saying it’s “a race I want America to win.”
Appearing at an “Insourcing American Jobs” forum at the White House and standing before business leaders who have brought jobs home, Obama said now is a “unique moment” for other American businesses to do the same.
“That’s exactly the kind of commitment to country we need — especially now, at this make-or-break moment for the middle class,” Obama said during remarks in the East Room. “And I’m calling on those businesses that haven’t brought jobs back to take this opportunity to get the American people back to work. That’s how we’ll rebuild an economy where hard work pays off and responsibility is rewarded — and a nation where those values live on.”
The White House also released a report Wednesday, highlighting the increasing trend of insourcing and how corporations large and small are staying put in the United States. The manufacturing sector, the president pointed out, has created jobs for two years in a row.
“There is opportunity to be had, right here and right now,” Obama said. “There are workers ready to work, right now.”
A day after Mitt Romney advanced a step closer to clinching the GOP presidential nomination, Obama sought to draw distinct lines between him and his probable future opponent while hosting the jobs event.
He also looked to cater to the middle class, specifically mentioning the potential for job growth in such swing states as Michigan and Ohio.
In his remarks, Obama — who spent part of the morning with business leaders to discuss the plan — said he doesn’t want the United States to be “a nation known for financial speculation and outsourcing and racking up debt buying stuff from other nations.”
“I want us to be known for making and selling products all over the world stamped with three proud words: ‘Made in America.’ I don’t want the next generation of manufacturing jobs taking root in countries like China or Germany — I want them taking root in places like Michigan and Ohio, Virginia and North Carolina.
“That’s a race I want America to win. That’s the race businesses like these help us win.”
In a statement, Vice President Biden, who also participated in Wednesday’s forum, said the Obama administration has been “focused” on job growth since “day one.”
“The business leaders coming here from across the country today have looked at the facts and concluded what the president and I have been saying all along: that America is the best place in the world to do business and create jobs. We’re calling on other companies to follow their lead and bring jobs back to America — jobs that provide middle-class families not just with a paycheck, but with a fundamental sense of dignity.”
On Wednesday, while the forum was taking place at the White House, Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee, said Obama should focus on moving forward with proposals that would create jobs, including the controversial Keystone XL oil sands pipeline.
“There is a clear path forward on creating jobs here at home,” Price said. “It begins with moving forward on those proposals that have bipartisan support, including the Keystone XL pipeline.
“The White House ought to make this decision sooner, rather than later, and stop ignoring this obvious partial solution to creating American jobs and helping our energy challenges.”
But Wednesday at the White House, Obama focused on insourcing. In his remarks, he called his message to the business leaders “simple.”
“Ask yourselves what you can do to bring jobs back to the country that made our success possible — and I will do everything in my power to help you do it,” he said. “We must seize this moment. Right now. It can make all the difference for the strength of our economy.”
After the event ended, Obama was expected to head to Chicago for a string of campaign events.