ABC News’ Mary Bruce (@marykbruce) Reports:
PITTSBURGH, Pa. – The president continued his jobs push in Pittsburgh today where he touted the manufacturing sector and announced a $500 million investment in high-tech innovation, calling it a “renaissance of American manufacturing.”
“We are inventors and we are makers and we are doers. If we want a robust, growing economy, we need a robust, growing manufacturing sector,” the president said in a speech to roughly 200 people at a robotics laboratory at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.
The president’s “Advanced Manufacturing Partnership” is intended to bring together industry, universities and the federal government to invest in technologies that will improve America’s manufacturing and create jobs.
“This partnership is about new, cutting-edge ideas to create new jobs, spark new breakthroughs, reinvigorate American manufacturing today, right now — not somewhere off in the future, right now,” he said.
Obama noted that a lot of companies don’t invest in early ideas because they won’t pay off immediately, saying that’s where government can step in. “The purpose of this partnership is to prove that the United States of America has your back, is going to be supporting you, because that's the kind of adventurous pioneering spirit that we need right now,” he said.
Despite a spate of lagging economic indicators, including last month’s 9.1 percent unemployment rate, Obama touted that his administration has created more than 2 million new jobs in the private sector over the past 15 months, including almost 250,000 in manufacturing.
The president, however, clearly fears losing the U.S. industry to other countries. “We have not run out of stuff to make; we've just got to reinvigorate our manufacturing sector so that it leads the world the way it always has… That's how we're going to create jobs, grow the middle class and secure our economic leadership,” he said.
The AMP, which is being developed based on the recommendation of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, will be led by Andrew Liveris, the CEO of Dow Chemical Corp., on the company side, and MIT president Susan Hockfield on the university side.
Before his speech the president toured the National Robotics Engineering Center at the university to get a first-hand look at some of these emerging technologies that he hopes will ultimately boost job creation.
Among the technologies that he saw was a robotic pipe inspector, named “Ned,” that navigates through wastewater pipes to collect data. “This is pretty cool,” Obama declared.
The president’s decision to stop in the battleground state also has political undertones. According to a recent Quinnipiac poll, 48 percent of Pennsylvanians think Obama deserves a second term, 46 percent do not.