Local Matters: President Obama’s jobs speech at the Asheville Regional Airport

(Listen to the entire address here)

President Barack Obama swooped in to the Asheville Regional Airport, Oct. 17, praising the town and delivering a combative speech to hundreds of supporters gathered on the tarmac to greet him as he kicked off a bus tour of North Carolina and Virginia.

Throughout the 20-minute address, he lambasted Republican lawmakers for failing to pass the American Jobs Act, describing the local airport as an example of a facility that would get much-needed infrastructure improvements under the plan.

“In this airport, right here in Asheville, you’ve got a runway that needs to be widened and repaired. You’ve got a taxiway that’s in the wrong spot, which means that planes sometimes get too close together. So we could be doing some work right here at the Asheville Airport that would help boost tourism, help to boost the economy here, put people to work right now!” he said to applause. “But it’s not just here in Asheville. It’s all across the state. You’ve got highways that need to be built, bridges that need to be fixed, schools that need to be modernized. And that’s what America used to do best. We used to build things.”

He also offered praise for the town, remembering previous trips to Asheville fondly (he vacationed here last year and campaigned here in 2008) .

“Our family has great memories of staying here. And it’s always nice to get out of Washington and breathe some of that mountain air,” he said. “I love Asheville. In fact, I think I should be on the tourism and promotion bureau of Asheville. Every time, I meet someone, I say ‘have you guys gone down to Asheville? That’s a nice place to be.’ It is wonderful to be back in one of my favorite parts of the country.”

In addition, he commended Democratic Senator Kay Hagan and Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy, calling Hagan “one of the outstanding Senators in the U.S. Senate” and describing Bellamy as “lovely and intelligent.”

“The last time I was here Terry said she could play basketball. It turned out she was a cheerleader and not a basketball player,” he joked. “She’s doing an outstanding job overall.”

After the address, Obama boarded a fortified black bus and made his way to West Wilkes High School in Wilkes County to deliver another speech on his jobs plan. Along the way, he stopped by Countryside Barbecue near Marion for lunch. He plans to spend the night in Greensboro, N.C., according to his press office.

Listen to our podcast for more observations from the Asheville Speech:

Podcast hosted by News Editor Margaret Williams. Podcast produced by Steve Shanafelt. The theme music is “Jam Band Spy Song” by E. Lee.

Read a full transcript of the speech here. Or watch a video of the full remarks here (via News Radio WWNC)

And click here for Associated Press coverage.

Photos from the event by Jonathan Welch

About Jake Frankel
Jake Frankel is an award-winning journalist who enjoys covering a wide range of topics, from politics and government to business, education and entertainment.

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7 thoughts on “Local Matters: President Obama’s jobs speech at the Asheville Regional Airport

  1. Jack

    Taxiway? You got bigger problems BO. In our state for 5 minutes and already complaining on whats wrong and how he wants to fix it. Don’t come back, you hear?

  2. Viking

    It will be interesting to find out if the NRCC is right that Shuler was in Sri Lanka today.

    I called his DC office today and asked if there was important congressional business today or if the House was in session. The receptionist had no real answer as to why Shuler was not out at AVL showing his support for the President of the United States of America and standing in solidarity with NC 11 constituents.

    She did mention this is ‘Constituent Week’. Shuler thinks his constituents are in Sri Lanka?

    I don’t think of myself as Shuler’s constituent any longer. After the years of garbage under Taylor we got Taylor Lite. Politically, I feel lost in limbo here. At least we’ll know what the deal is under McHenry (a landfill of garbage packed in his little skull).

    At least OWS AVL is a loud voice that says ‘different’.

  3. Thunder Pig

    Congressman Shuler is in Sri Lanka exposing the lies told by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International regarding the recent war with the Tamil Tigers terrorist group.

    Sri Lanka has been one of the major foreign policy issues he has focused on since 2009.

    Here is the full text of a letter he sent to his fellow Congress Critters regarding Sri Lanka:

    Dear Colleague:

    Today, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International -USA are screening a controversial documentary about Sri Lanka. There is a great deal of misinformation and debate about what occurred during the final days of Sri Lanka’s civil war. I am not an expert in international law or Southeast Asia, but I do wish to share what I have seen with my own eyes.

    In May of 2009, I visited Sri Lanka just Days after the 26-year civil conflict against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (“Tamil Tigers”) ended. I saw the toll that the 26-year long terror campaign waged by the Tamil tigers had on the nation. Our own government designated the Tigers as one of the world’s worst terror groups. The Tigers invented the suicide bomber’s vest. Over the past quarter of a century, the Tigers rained terror on the nation, including suicide bombing, summary executions, ethnic cleansing, recruitment of child soldiers, drug smuggling, piracy, international money laundering. The Tamil Tigers embraced brutal tactics like the use of child soldiers and female suicide bombers. The terrorists killed a long list of government officials, including a Sri Lankan president, a foreign minister and former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. In the final phase of the war, the Tigers took nearly 145,000 Tamil civilian hostages as a human shield.

    When I arrived in Sri Lanka, after the end of the war, the optimism and hope of the Sri Lankan people was palpable. With the defeat of the Tamil Tigers, for the first time in decades Sri Lankans felt safe from terror. Even the Tamils I met in the recently constructed IDP camps felt optimistic about the future of their country, knowing that security would bring much-needed progress to everyone in the country.

    Since my visit, I have been following the progress Sri Lanka has made. Sri Lanka is the only democracy to have defeated a terrorist organization in recent memory. Since the end of the civil war, there has not been a single terrorist attack in Sri Lanka. Based on news accounts and UN documents, almost all of the 300,000 internally displaced persons in Sri Lanka have returned to their homes, over 11,000 former LTTE fighters and child soldiers have been rehabilitated and re-integrated into society, and nearly 60% of the 2 million landmine have been cleared. The government has established a commission to investigate wrongdoing conducted by both sides during the conflict and to foster national healing and reconciliation.

    Neighbored by Pakistan, Afghanistan and China, Sri Lanka is an enduring democracy and long time ally of the U.S. In this region of the world, we cannot discount our long- standing and strategic relationship with Sri Lanka, Including naval and Intelligence Corporation. Based on my experience on the ground, I believe U.S.

    Policy towards Sri Lanka should be focused on supporting their ongoing efforts towards reconciliation and engagement with the United State. As we work together to develop our policy on Sri Lanka, I am happy to tell you about my experience there. If you are interested in arranging a meeting with me to discuss Sri Lanka, Please do not hesitate to contact Julie Fishman in my office at Juile.fishman@mail.house.gov. or 225-6401.

    Source: http://www.defence.lk/new.asp?fname=20110716_05

  4. OneWhoKnows

    ‘lovely and intelligent’ describing the Mayoress
    compares to Obama’s own past description as ‘clean and articulate’ by Harry Reid.

    (somehow I doubt Mr. Shuler actually wrote that letter)

  5. Margaret Williams

    why are all the photos distorted?

    Good question! We’ll get the tech team on that.

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