ALBANY — Using the University at Albany’s nanotechnology center as a backdrop, President Barack Obama delivered a speech about the U.S. economy that touted a combination of private and public funds that go into the high-tech school.
He also fired a broadside at Republicans in Congress who he blamed for inaction on White House proposals he said would spur economic growth.
“This is one of the only colleges in the world dedicated to nanotechnology,” Obama, a Democrat, said.
“This school and this community represent the future of our economy.”
“The true engine of job creation in this country is the private sector. It’s not Washington, but we can make it easier for these companies to hire.”
But in a sign the White House is looking ahead to the campaign against Republican Mitt Romney, Obama criticized Congress for failing to act on jobs legislation his administration proposed.
“The Republicans in Congress got together and said, ‘No,’” he said.
“I know it is an election year but it’s not an excuse for inaction.”
He offered a to-do list of items he wants Congress to tackle.
He urged lawmakers to pass legislation to allow homeowners to refinance their homes at a lower rate and to give small businesses a tax break for hiring workers. He also advocates a program to help Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans find jobs.
Obama suggested the burgeoning nanotech industry in the Capital Region could be a model for the nation, noting the presence of GlobalFoundries and IBM.
” I want what’s happening in Albany to happen all across the country,” he said.
HE talked about importance of work being done at the NanoCollege, calling New York is model for his ideas to spur American manufacturing. “We know the true engine of job growth in America is the private sector, not Washington,” the president said.
“Some of the most advanced manufacturing work in the world takes place in upstate New York,” President said.
Earlier, Gov. Andrew Cuomo gave Obama a rousing introduction, telling a crowd at the NanoCollege that the President is responsible for the nation’s financial recovery.
“This nation, this state went through hard times,” Cuomo said.
“We felt the economic pain from one end of this state to the other.” Cuomo said. “There is also no doubt today is a much different day and your leadership has brought this nation through the storm and we thank you.”
Before the speech, Obama and Cuomo toured the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering.
In a clean room, they examined an applied materials chip manufacturing tool.
“This looks like a pretty fancy piece of equipment,” Obama said to students showing off the device.
The President arrived aboard Air Force One shortly before noon at Albany International Airport and made the quick trip to the nanotech center.
Cuomo, Mayor Jerry Jennings and Colonie town Supervisor Paul Mahan were waiting on the tarmac as Obama got off the plane. U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko was with him.
It is the President’s third trip to the region. “The President has been coming to Albany so much, the rest of the state is going to get jealous,” Cuomo joked.
When Obama visited Hudson Valley Community College in 2009, hundreds lined Albany Shaker Road in Colonie to get a glimpse of him. Last year’s visit General Electric’s plant in downtown Schenectady also featured large crowd near the plant.
But there were few people on Albany Shaker on Tuesday. Some huddled in the entrance to The Desmond hotel and planned to run out into the rain when Obama’s motorcade passed.
About 70 people waiting at the rotary outside the main entrance of the Nanotech building were disappointed by the President’s arrival because Obama’s motorcade slipped into an entrance between the rotary and Washington Avenue Extension that is usually locked and gated. The group barely caught a glimpse his car.
“That was anti-climactic,” said Keri Young, of Altamont, who took her three teenagers out of school and pushed her 9-month-old baby in a carriage to see the President’s arrival.
Read more: Times Union