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Obama touts high tech, business investment at Intel in Oregon

President Obama visited Intel Corp.'s large manufacturing plant in Oregon Friday. He named Intel CEO Paul Otellini – who's been critical of the administration's economic policies – to the Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.

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In a private dinner Thursday evening, Obama was joined by Eric Schmidt of Google, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, and Steve Jobs of Apple, as well as the chief executives of Yahoo!, Oracle, NetFlix, and Twitter, and the president of Stanford University.

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The Oregon visit continues the same theme, while also reaching out to a top-level Republican CEO who has been critical of the Obama administration – particularly its program to stimulate the economy by helping fund local construction projects.

"Swimming pools in Mississippi are not going to create lasting jobs," Intel CEO Paul Otellini told CNN last fall.

Looking beyond such criticisms, Obama Friday named Mr. Otellini to his Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, which is headed by GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt.

In their meeting, the two men praised each other.

“I want to commend the president for his leadership and focus on improving our science, technology, engineering, and math education,” Otellini said. “He has taken actions – including key steps like making STEM a priority – in his $4 billion Race to the Top competition and his Educate to Innovate campaign.”

Obama noted that three-fourths of Intel’s employees are in the United States.

"This year you’ll hire another 4,000 American workers. You’ll create good construction jobs upgrading your facilities and building new plants in Arizona and right here in Oregon," Obama said. "And this kind of commitment has always been part of Intel’s philosophy."

In his speech to the US Chamber of Commerce last week, Obama urged business leaders to “invest in America” now rather than sit on the nearly $2 trillion they have in reserve.

“As all of you know, it’s investments made now that will pay off as the economy rebounds,” Obama told the business organization. “And as you hire, you know that more Americans working will mean more sales for your companies.”

Obama continues his economic tub-thumping next week in Cleveland, where he’ll attend the “Winning the Future Forum on Small Business.”

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