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President Obama talks economy, political gridlock in Holland

Lindsey Smith
Michigan Radio
Obama toured a Saft-Johnson Controls joint venture in Holland before speaking to an invitation-only crowd of about 200 people.

President Obama toured an advanced battery manufacturing plant in Holland Michigan this afternoon. The newly retooled plant will produce batteries for electric and hybrid vehicles.

The facility is one of two new advanced battery plants in Holland that recieved money from president Obama’s stimulus package. The president called the plant “one the most advanced factories in the world.”

He says the new plant is leading the way in the advanced battery industry.

“That just doesn’t mean jobs in Michigan you’re buying equipment and parts from suppliers in Florida and New Mexico and Ohio and Wisconsin and all across America.”

Listen to Obama's full 25 minute speech here.

Obama says the technology developed in Holland will help automakers meet new fuel efficiency standards. He says those higher standards will also spur the American economy.

During Mr. Obama’s 25-minute speech, he spoke more about the economy and the gridlock in Washington than advanced battery manufacturing.

Obama says there are several things politicians in Washington should be doing right now to help the economy, like reforming the patent system and passing trade bills he says will level the playing field for U.S. manufacturers.

“We’ve got a lot of Americans driving Kias and Hyundaies. I want folks in Korea driving Fords and Chevies and Chryslers. I’d like to see that.”

Obama chided Republicans he says are working to score political points at the country’s expense.

He says last fall, Americans voted for divided government not dysfunctional government. He scolded Republicans, who he says are more interested in their party succeeding than they are the country.

Lindsey Smith helps lead the station's Amplify Team. She previously served as Michigan Radio’s Morning News Editor, Investigative Reporter and West Michigan Reporter.
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