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Monday, September 26, 2011

Obama Talks Jobs at LinkedIn

Posted By on Mon, Sep 26, 2011 at 1:45 PM

obama_linkedin_616.jpg

On his swing through the West Coast, President Barack Obama stopped in Silicon Valley today where he answered questions for an hour at LinkedIn's campus in Mountain View. His main focus: Jobs.



He deftly turned almost every question from the audience back into a endorsement for his newly proposed jobs bill.

Obama's stop through the South Bay came after a weekend of pricey fundraising events in the Bay Area  -- including a private dinner chez Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg, where Lady Gaga paid the $38,500 to sit down for a bite to eat with the president.

When a woman in the audience today asked about what resources were available to help the long-term unemployed, he told her that his new bill prohibits discrimination against a job candidate because of their unemployment status; the bill also gives employers a $4,000 tax credit when they hire long-term unemployed workers.

The president also heaped praise on Silicon Valley, pointing to its spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation. The region's reputation for success also came up when Obama picked a man from the audience to ask a question. He rose and explained that he'd been successful at a "search engine" company "down the street" and was now "unemployed by choice."

"Would you please raise my taxes?" he asked, to applause from the audience. Obama took that as a launching pad, continuing with statistics about current tax rates compared to the 1950s (hint: they're the lowest now since then) and tax changes since he began (another hint: they've been lowered for small businesses 16 times since he's been in office).

Obama also fielded questions from a veteran from Arizona with 25 years of service, acknowledging that the U.S. has "not done as good a job" as in the past when it comes to helping veterans transition into civilian jobs and calling it a "failure on the part of the DOD and VA."

But the highlight came when a woman in the audience asked questions on behalf of her mother, who is nearing retirement age and worrying about her Social Security and Medicare. And after giving a heartfelt reassurance that Social Security will be there for her, no matter what, Obama punctuated his statement with a heartfelt: "tell [your mom] I said, 'Hi.'"

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Ellen Huet

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