Obama heads to Michigan to tout jobs plan

WASHINGTON, August 11, 2011 (AFP) – President Barack Obama takes his fight against high unemployment on the road Thursday, highlighting a Michigan firm that makes batteries for hybrid vehicles to tout his green energy jobs plan.

Obama will also attend two lucrative fundraisers in New York as he returns to filling his campaign coffers following a month-long showdown with Republicans over debt that pushed his 2012 reelection bid into the background.

He will visit the Johnson Controls Inc.’s battery facility in Holland, Michigan, an area settled by 19th Century Dutch immigrants that boasts its own tulip festival, as he digs out of the worst period of his presidency.

Obama is being assailed from his foes in the Republican Party and elements of his own Democratic political base over turmoil in the economy, especially over unemployment, which remains at 9.1 percent amid a stagnant recovery.

“The president will highlight the key role that innovative technologies will play in the future of the US auto manufacturing industry,” said Heather Zichal, Obama’s deputy assistant for energy and climate change.

Obama will also discuss his recent initiative to help auto firms reach historic fuel efficiency standards and his plan to spur economic growth through cutting edge energy industries, Zichal said.

Johnson Controls received a 300-million-dollar investment from the president’s economic stimulus plan and has created 150 jobs in Michigan and Wisconsin.

The White House said its efforts will ensure that the United States produces 40 percent of the world’s advanced batteries by 2015.

Republicans frequently ridicule Obama’s expenditures on green energy jobs and manufacturing, arguing that the government should get out of the way of private business and allow the market to dictate where jobs are created.

Obama will step up his bid to connect with U.S. voters on a bus tour of Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois next week amid rising criticism of his leadership and mounting fears of a return to recession. â– 


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