President's Speech Raises Job Questions

Reported by: Bill Mitchell

Edited by: Ashley Henderson
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Updated: 7/31/2013 6:26 pm
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WDEF) - President Obama's whirlwind visit to Chattanooga has kicked up some dust that hasn't settled.
In a speech that focused on creating jobs in a sluggish economy, the President got rave reviews from some...and criticism from others here in the area.
But local leaders are reluctant to discuss his failure to mention the Volkswagen plant during his talk.
The president's visit to the Amazon Fulfillment Center Tuesday was a major news story for the Tennessee valley, although it hardly made a blip on the national news radar.
It was the 4th speech in a series of appearances proposing various ways to create jobs.

PRESIDENT "So, here's the bottom line.: if folks in Washington really want a grand bargain..how about a grand bargain for middle class jobs."

It was Mr. Obama's emphasis on "good paying, middle income" jobs that attracted the attention of a UTC economist.

PROF. BRUCE HUTCHISON, UTC ECONOMIST "You don't create jobs from the middle out..you create jobs primarily from the bottom up."

Hutchison challenged Obama's remarks about one possible jobs creator.

PRESIDENT "They keep talking about this..an oil pipeline coming down from Canada that's estimated to create about 50 permanent jobs..that's not a jobs plan."

PROF. BRUCE HUTCHISON "But the real effect of the pipeline is going to be in the many thousands of immediate jobs over the next several years in construction."

SEAN PAUL KIMBALL, PRES. CHATT. AREA LABOR COUNCIL "What he said resonated well with me, you know". "Not just job creation, but job creation that'll create livable wage jobs....with insurance and benefits."

The Volkswagen Plant has created thousands of new jobs for this area, but did not get a mention by the President.
Local leaders were reluctant to criticize that omission.
The mayor was Mr. Obama's official host.

MAYOR ANDY BERKE, CHATTANOOGA " He was talking about job creation and Volkswagen across the street did create a lot of jobs..should he have talked about that? He was talking about building a better bargain for the middle class, that's something we're trying to do here in Chattanooga."

A spokesman for Volkswagen told us that Tuesday was "Amazon's Day" and the company did not want to do anything that would detract from that.
The Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce also would not address the President's perceived slight, saying the city is fortunate to be able to tell its story because of his appearance here.




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