In Ohio, Obama Pushes Economic Policies

President Obama took a day trip to Youngstown, Ohio, on Tuesday, for the latest in a series of economic policy-themed events outside of Washington. The administration calls it the "White House to Main Street Tour." The goal is to show that President Obama is in touch with Americans' concerns about jobs and the economy.

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President Obama was in Youngstown, Ohio today, promoting his economic policies. It's the latest stop on his White House to Main Street tour.

NPR White House correspondent Ari Shapiro reports from the factory where President Obama delivered his pep talk.

ARI SHAPIRO: At the heart of Youngstown's steel corridor, a mountain of wrecked cars and other scrap metal marks the entrance to V&M Star. A hundred workers at this factory chosen by lottery stood in line in the cold and drizzle before the president arrived. When he walked onto the stage, the response suggested that everyone in the crowd was a fan.

(Soundbite of applause)

SHAPIRO: They were not.

Mr. LARRY COLLINS(ph): I don't like the bailout plan. I think that was the stupidest thing anybody could've done.

SHAPIRO: Larry Collins is a Navy veteran who works at this plant. He wears a stars and stripes bandana every day and he voted for John McCain in 2008. Before the president's speech, Collins said he's very concerned about President Obama's freeze on new offshore oil drilling.

Mr. COLLINS: Our job here is to make oil and gas rig pipe. That's what we do every day. So if he's putting it on hold, how is that helping us?

SHAPIRO: So what do you want him to tell you?

Mr. COLLINS: Well, I'd like for him to say it's a go and let's start drilling. The more rigs we have out there drilling, the more demand for our product.

SHAPIRO: This company is America's leading producer of pipe for oil wells. Perhaps not the best backdrop for a presidential speech while the White House fights a massive oil spill. But President Obama did not talk about oil today, he talked about jobs.

Pres. OBAMA: And a lot of people, let's just be blunt, aren't always real impressed when a governor or a president comes swooping in and talking about the economy. Because the only headline they want to see is the headline that says: You're hired.

SHAPIRO: This factory is adding 350 jobs. President Obama said his Economic Recovery Act is responsible. Federal money helped extend the rail line and other infrastructure in Youngstown. That prompted the parent company of this plant to decide to grow here. President Obama attacked Republicans, calling them the just say no crowd.

Pres. OBAMA: But I think it's fair to say, any fair-minded person would say that if we hadn't acted, more people in the valley, more people in Ohio, more people across America would be out of work today.

SHAPIRO: After the speech, factory worker Larry Collins said: He did a good job, but it doesn't change my mind.

Ari Shapiro, NPR News, Youngstown, Ohio.

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