WEDNESDAY’S BIG STORY:
Looking for a swing: President Obama heads to Ohio on Wednesday, more than two years after he started, what proved to be his successful, White House to Main Street tour.
He will focus on jobs, specifically his administration’s job-training initiatives that are designed to help shrink the skills gap and pick of the pace of hiring.
Obama will deliver remarks about the initiatives at Lorain County Community College in Elyria, where he also will meet with a group of unemployed students in the college’s job-training program.
Some congressional Republicans have called for the elimination of job-training programs amid burgeoning federal debt while employment experts have called the programs vital to help fill openings, especially in rapidly growing sectors.
Jobs are a major focus for the president as he campaigns for a second term, especially in Ohio, a state he won in 2008 but could be a challenge to capture.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich said recently that his state has rocketed to the top of the job-creating list in the past year after floundering near the bottom through the recession. He has suggested that Washington take a big hint from Ohio, and other states, that have bolstered their economies.
Meanwhile, the economy has been churning out job gains during the past several months, but that growth slowed in March to 120,000, while the unemployment rate dropped to 8.2 percent.
Republican leaders in Congress have peppered the White House with criticism over its lack of job-creation policies and inability to bring down the jobless rate as much as was promised under the 2009 economic stimulus.
The stop comes after a busy Tuesday, in which Obama tried to stem the tide of the political fallout from high gasoline prices, challenging Congress to pass legislation to ensure speculators aren’t manipulating energy markets.
“We can’t afford a situation where speculators artificially manipulate markets by buying up oil, creating the perception of a shortage and driving prices higher, only to flip the oil for a quick profit,” Obama said during a Rose Garden speech Tuesday.
“We can’t afford a situation where some speculators can reap millions, while millions of American families get the short end of the stick.”
Before Obama takes off for Ohio, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner will make remarks at the Brookings Institution on the state of the global economy.