Obama Stumps for Jobs Plan in Denver

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3min 31sec

President Barack Obama returned to Dener, the city where he accepted the Democratic nomination back in 2008. The President was campaigning for his jobs bill. Colorado Radio’s Ben Markus was there, and has this report.

Reporter Ben Markus: It’s a far cry from Mile High Stadium three years ago. This time, President Obama was at Lincoln High School pushing his American Jobs Act. He took the lectern surrounded by students and teachers baking in the midday sun. A massive banner behind him reads Lincoln Lancers.

Barack Obama: How’s it going Lancers!

Reporter: With unemployment stubbornly high, jobs have become the political issue. And Denver’s just the latest stop on an all-out tour promoting the bill -- which is more than 200 pages of tax cuts and spending meant to spur a sluggish economy.

Obama: I know it’s kind of thick, but it boils down to two things: putting people back to work and putting more money in the pockets of working Americans.

Reporter: At Lincoln High Mr Obama focused his speech on the boost his bill would give to education. It includes 25 billion dollars in spending on education infrastructure – repairing, he says, some 35-thousand schools. Schools like Lincoln High.

Obama: The science labs here, built at Lincoln High were built decades ago, back in the ‘60s. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but science and technology has changed a little bit since the 1960’s.

Reporter: And Mr Obama said schools need to upgrade in order to compete with fast-growing nations like China and South Korea.

Obama: And that won’t just create a better learning environment for students, it’ll create good jobs for local construction workers right here in Denver, and all across Colorado and across the country.

Reporter: And jobs are in short supply in this southwest Denver neighborhood. Macarena Via Gomez is a junior at Lincoln High. She was one of the hundreds who waited three hours in the heat to hear the president.

Macarena Via Gomez: It was really good, yeah, I was really close up to him. It’s nice, really impactful speech, relates to all of us living here.

Reporter: Gomez -- wearing her cheerleader outfit -- says her mom just found a job after being out of work for more than a year. It’s been so bad that Gomez is working as a cashier to help her single mom.

Gomez: We have to get through the world somehow, step it up, yeah.

Reporter: Not everyone was fond of the president’s message. In conference call with reporters before the speech, State Republican Chairman Ryan Call dismissed the Mr Obama’s visit as campaigning. Colorado is a battleground state in the 2012 Presidential Election.

Ryan Call: Speeches don’t change the reality of the failed policies. And now Obama is trying to use Denver as a backdrop to pass his campaign spending bill. You know, this second round of stimulus, despite the fact the so many promises for the first stimulus packages failed to come through.

Reporter: Mr Obama’s also faced stiff resistance in Congress from fiscally conservative Republicans who worry about the bill’s nearly half-trillion dollar price tag. Back at Lincoln High, Iris Foster, a registered Republican from Denver says she’s embarrassed that her party won’t work with the President.

Iris Foster: You know, this partisan stuff, it’s not the time for it right now. You know whatever it is we need to do to get there, that’s what we need to do.

Reporter: Mr Obama’s trip to Denver was a short one. But given how important the state is to his reelection he’ll be back.