SAN FRANCISCO – President Barack Obama's search for innovative ideas to spur job creation has led him to the West Coast to brainstorm with some of the brightest technological minds in the country.
Obama was touring Intel Corp.'s semiconductor manufacturing facility in Hillsboro, Ore., on Friday and learning about programs the company has to encourage studies in science, technology, engineering and math, and get people the skills they need to compete for new high-tech jobs.
He also was speaking about education's role in fostering job creation and innovation.
Continuing his outreach to business leaders, Obama met over dinner in the San Francisco Bay area Thursday with a dozen top innovators, including Eric Schmidt of Google, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and Steve Jobs of Apple, who is on his third medical leave as concerns about his health mount. Also present were the chief executives of Yahoo!, Oracle, NetFlix and Twitter, and the president of Stanford University.
Obama is pushing for new spending on innovation, education, high-speed rail, faster Internet service and other programs that he says will better position the U.S. to compete against other nations.
But Republicans are pushing back, arguing that government spending without restraint is actually hindering job creation. They want to slash the budget. The Republican-controlled House was also nearing a vote on whether to do just that by cutting $61 billion from government spending this year.
"We're broke," says House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, about the country's finances.
As that money fight raged in Washington, Obama left town Thursday on the latest in a series of weekly trips he's been taking to promote the competitiveness agenda he outlined in the State of the Union address.
A seal of approval from Silicon Valley's leading innovators could bolster his sales pitch.
At the Woodside, Calif., home of venture capitalist John Doerr, Obama and the innovators brainstormed ideas. White House spokesman Jay Carney said afterward that Obama wants to keep exchanging ideas with the group "so we can work as partners to promote growth and create good jobs in the United States."
Obama discussed his proposals to spend on research and development and to expand incentives for companies to grow and hire, Carney said. The president also talked about his goal of doubling exports within five years to help support and create new jobs, his plans for spending on education and a new initiative to assist small businesses and start-up companies, he said.
The group also discussed ways to encourage people to study science, technology, engineering and math and to pursue careers in those fields, he said.
In Oregon on Friday, Obama was being led on the tour of Intel's facility by CEO Paul Otellini, who has criticized the president's economic policies. Otellini said as recently as September that the administration created too uncertainty for businesses and had failed to encourage job growth or consumer confidence.
Otellini was among a group of CEOs who met privately with Obama in Washington last year.
Despite the criticism, Intel is working with the administration on the education front.
Last year, Intel announced a 10-year, $200 million commitment to promote math and science education in the U.S. It also is one of four companies that are working to help meet Obama's goal of getting the U.S. to the top in science and math education over a decade.
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