Supportive Crowd Asks Obama to Focus on Jobs

Several hundred people were outside Master Lock in Milwaukee as President Barack Obama came to visit.

Dennis Gray is quite familiar with Master Lock, having worked for the company for eight years in the 1990s before leaving for a different job.

Now unemployed, Gray stood outside the Master Lock plant on a warmer-than-usual, sunny Wednesday, anxiously awaiting the arrival of President Barack Obama.

Gray, a boilermaker by trade, is hoping Master Lock will hire him back. But he has his name on several waiting lists, desperate for just about any kind of job.

He expressed optimism that Obama's plans will help create more jobs, especially in areas like this one.

"The central city needs it," he said.

That statement summed up the general mood Wednesday at the corner of 33rd and Clarke streets, outside the Master Lock employee parking lot. Some hope and a feeling just a little short of desperation for the president to do something – anything – to help people find work.

The crowd swelled to hundreds of people as Obama's visit drew closer, with a line down the block about three-deep. People checked their phones and announced updates on the president's location.

"Air Force One has landed!" a woman yelled.

A large group outside the plant entrance held a sign urging Obama to pass legislation creating more jobs. Pro-jobs chants like "Bail out the people, not the banks" were shouted as a drum beat loudly, and a few people made their support of a recall of Gov. Scott Walker clear.

A heavy police presence was on hand and blocked off the streets surrounding the facility.

Many of the people lived in the neighborhood and came to catch a glimpse of the president's motorcade. Many screamed excitedly when the motorcade finally made its way down the street about 12:30 p.m.

Damian McClendon, who lives just two blocks away, said he tried to get his kids excused from school to see the "historic event."

That didn't happen, but McClendon and his wife were still on hand to watch the president arrive. Like Gray, McClendon was hopeful the president would be able to expand on the "insourcing" for which Master Lock has been praised.

Master Lock says it has brought about 100 jobs back to the United States since mid-2010. Its efforts gained attention from Obama, who invited chief executive John Heppner to the White House and mentioned the company in his State of the Union speech.

Obama took it a step further Wednesday when he visited the plant in person and continued to emphasize the importance of bringing jobs to America.

In his speech, he called for tax cuts for American manufacturers and higher taxes for companies who send jobs overseas, according to an Associated Press report.

"Ask what you can do to bring jobs back to your country, and your country will do everything we can to help you succeed," he said.

Obama arrived at Mitchell International Airport in the late morning. He was greeted by Gov. Scott Walker, who presented him with a Brewers jersey, and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. Check out Fox 6 for video of the president getting off the plane.

morninmist February 19, 2012 at 02:37 PM
Thanks John. Spot on! John Nichols: Walker made right call by not appearing with Obama at Master Lock ......A Republican National Committee line holds that the economic upturn of the moment has been created by Republican governors. But Walker can't make that claim. He's stuck suggesting that job losses in Wisconsin are the fault of Obama and the Democratic president's policies. That is, of course, a fantasy. But Walker can maintain it when Obama is not around, and when the media is not looking at the fact of how Wisconsin trails neighboring states when it comes to actual job creation. Standing next to Barack Obama at Master Lock would have exposed Scott Walker's false premises, and his false statements. So, suddenly, the governor wasn't feeling well. Yes, he was up for a photo opportunity at the airport. And, yes, he was strong enough to put out a series of "I," "I," "I" statements regarding Obama's visit — including one in which Walker claimed credit for making things happen with the Wisconsin companies Obama mentioned. But Walker avoided the factory floor. The governor likes the limelight, and he wanted to grab the glory that goes with a presidential visit. But he did not want the scrutiny. http://host.madison.com/ct/news/opinion/column/john_nichols/john-nichols-walker-made-right-call-by-not-appearing-with/article_8cc4743c-58a4-11e1-80b8-0019bb2963f4.html?mode=story
Drive To 24 February 19, 2012 at 02:52 PM
Yes and he suddenly got better the next day. The truth is he's running from reality. He can't handle the truth.
Drive To 24 February 19, 2012 at 02:55 PM
Hoffa: same old lies and distortion. It ain't working with your talking points. Give it up man.
Drive To 24 February 19, 2012 at 03:02 PM
Yep- JUST YOU- so sad your party has conceded the presidency.
morninmist February 19, 2012 at 05:21 PM
How can anybody be supportive of a Governor who LIES all the time?? Coffee Bean @CoffeeBean26 Gov Walker claims on state owned website balanced deficit reforms.wi.gov/docview.asp?do… NOT TRUE: bloggingblue.com/2012/01/18/doa… #wiunion #wiriseup #wirecall http://bloggingblue.com/2012/01/18/doa-secretary-mike-huebsch-wisconsin-has-budget-deficits-for-fiscal-years-2012-2013/ By Zach W On January 18, 2012 DOA Secretary Mike Huebsch: Wisconsin has budget deficits for fiscal years 2012 & 2013 Have you heard those new TV ads Republican Gov. Scott Walker is running touting how he eliminated Wisconsin’s budget deficits? Don’t believe a word Walker says, because Department of Administration Secretary Mike Huebsch has the truth, which is that Wisconsin has projected budget deficits for fiscal years 2012 and 2013. What’s more, if we use Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) to take a look at Gov. Walker’s first biennial budget (as Walker himself promised to do as a candidate), we’d have budget deficits in the billions of dollars....


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