The Presidential Planner: First Lady Joins Obama Bus Tour to Tout Jobs for Vets

HAMPTON, Va. – First Lady Michelle Obama brought some positive news to her husband’s jobs campaign today during her first appearance on the president’s three-day American Jobs Act bus tour.

In front of more than 2,000 retired and active-duty service members and their families, the first lady said that 270 companies plan to hire 25,000 veterans or their spouses by the end of 2013.

“These are bold commitments, and these are companies that are making these pledges not just because it’s the right thing to do or because it feels patriotic,” Obama told the crowd at Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Hampton. “They’re also doing it because it’s good for their bottom line, it’s good for business, because they know that veterans and military spouses, like all of you here today, represent the best our country has to offer. And they want you on their tea.”

President Obama also heralded the companies, which include big names such as Procter & Gamble, Tyson Foods and Hewlett-Packard, saying the announcement is a “testament to these businesses’ commitment to this country.”

“We ask you to fight, to sacrifice, to risk your lives for our country. The last thing you should have to do is fight for a job when you come home; not here, not in the United States of America,” Obama told the service members.

While the president had high praise for the new initiative, he made clear “we’ve got more work to do” and urged lawmakers to act on the portion of the American Jobs Act that would provide tax breaks for companies that hire veterans.

“Congress hasn’t acted on this proposal. But I want you to know that I’m pushing them a little bit,” he said. “I’m hopeful we can get both parties onboard for this idea.

“Standing up for our veterans is not a Democratic responsibility or a Republican responsibility. It is an American responsibility,” the president added. “It is an obligation for every citizen who enjoys the freedoms that our heroes defend.”