Obama Plugs Minimum Wage Increase, Carryout BBQ on North Carolina Visit
Update at 3:26 p.m. ET -
Obama got his ribs after all. While the President did not stop by the 12 Bones BBQ joint, as he suggested during his speech in Asheville, a White House official told the traveling press pool that White House staffers picked up barbecue "for the President and staff to enjoy on the way back to Washington, DC."
ASHEVILLE - After steering clear of North Carolina for most of the 2012 campaign, President Obama today held up the Tar Heel state has a poster child for his economic vision and "signs of solid progress" that developed during his first term.
Reprising the themes of his State of the Union address, Obama touted a resurgence in American manufacturing jobs and calling for steps to keep the trend going: expanding manufacturing institutes across the states; reform the corporate tax code; and boost worker training to match them with open high-skilled jobs.
He said the Linamar Corp., a Canadian based manufacturer which hosted the event, illustrates a positive " insourcing" trend - setting up shop in Asheville in 2011 and hiring hundreds of workers for high-skilled jobs.
Those workers make well above the minimum wage, but Obama said those who make less often work just as hard and deserve help to earn more.
"I believe we reward effort and determination with wages that allow working families to raise their kids and get ahead," Obama said of his proposal to raise the minimum wage to $9.00. "If you work full-time you shouldn't be in poverty."
In a lighter moment at the top of the speech, Obama tried to soften some of the criticism that has surrounded his avoidance of the state for the past year.
"I love coming to Asheville!" he exclaimed.
"Michelle and I always talk about how, if after this whole presidency thing, you know… we're looking for a little spot to come down… playing a little golf, doing a little hiking, fishing," he said. The first family vacationed here early in Obama's first term.
"There are two things that keep bringing me back here," he added. "Number one is I really like the people; number two is 12 Bones, which I will be stopping at on the way back to the airport."
After the speech, however, Obama did not make a pit-stop at the barbeque joint. Instead his motorcade headed straight to the airport to fly home.