President Obama Declares Economy 'Poised for Progress'

President Obama today said today the innovation and persistence of the American people has fostered an economy that is "poised for progress."

"A lot of sectors of our economy are doing better," Obama told students and teachers at Manor New Tech High School near Austin, Texas. "The American auto industry is thriving, American energy is booming, American ingenuity in our tech sector continues to be the best in the world and has the potential to change almost everything that we do. And thanks to the grit and determination of the American people, we've cleared the way, the rubble of the worst economic crisis in our lifetime. So we're poised for progress."

The president was in Texas to begin his "middle class jobs and opportunity tours," a new series he is beginning as he looks outside Washington, D.C., for models of job creation and innovation.

"This is the first stop that I'm making on a tour of the Austin area today. And I chose Austin partly because I just love Austin, but also because there's some terrific things going on in this area in communities like Manor," the president said. "Folks around here are doing something right, and I think the rest of the country can learn from what you're doing because I've always believed that the best ideas usually don't start in Washington, they trickle up to Washington."

Earlier in the day, the White House announced two executive orders aimed at bolstering the nation's manufacturing sector. The first launched competitions for three "manufacturing innovation institutes" and pushed Congress to dedicate $1 billion to the creation of 15 such centers. The second required new government data be made available in "open, machine-readable formats" to help technology entrepreneurs and researchers.

Upon his arrival in Texas, Obama was greeted on the tarmac by Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who said conservative "red states" like Texas have shown they are better capable of creating jobs and strengthening the economy.

"If you're interested in creating jobs, if you're interested in creating an environment where people are freer … these red states are the ones that are doing a better job of that," Perry said. "He came here because we are a success story and, whether you're playing for the red team or whether you're playing for the blue team, you like to hang out with a winner - and Texas is a winner."

Prior to his speech at Manor New Tech High School, President Obama met with students of the varsity and junior varsity robotics teams.

"These look like some serious engineers here," he said as he walked into a classroom.

As he spoke with various students about their robotics projects, one group's robot, which is capable of shooting Frisbees, had a technical glitch and wouldn't work, at first. When the robot finally started functioning, the president said told the group their robot, with the word "YOLOTRON" emblazoned across its side, was "fantastic." He gave the students a fist bump after hearing they took the project to the "world championships."

After his speech, the president sat down for lunch with four local Austin residents at Stubb's BBQ, a popular restaurant in downtown Austin, to discuss jobs and the economy.

Later this afternoon, the president will continue his tour through Austin when he speaks at Applied Materials, Inc., a high-tech company in the city.