The President of the United States Barack Obama visited Savannah today as part of his "White House to Main Street Tour."
Included on his itinerary was a tour of several local businesses, meetings with several business owners, a tour of Savannah Tech facilities and an announcement of a new job creation program, known as Home Star, which will concentrate on incentives for owners to make their homes more energy efficient.
Air Force One landed at Hunter Army Air Force base at about 11:35 this morning. Upon his arrival, he met with several groups, and toured the Savannah Tech facilities, including the YouthBuild program, a federally funded program providing high school drop outs with vocational training.
At 12:30 p.m., the President entered Eckburg Auditorium at Savannah Tech, where hundreds of invited guests, elected officials and media had been waiting for his arrival. After rounds of applause and a barrage of camera flashes, the President began his comments against a backdrop of blue curtains and several American flags.
Obama talked about his tour of the campus, including facilities where students learn about green technology that will "help transform how we produce and use electricity."
He pointed out that the Recovery Act has helped fund 300 road projects in the state at the moment, and also mentioned the billions of dollars in loan guarantees he announced last week for the construction of Georgia Power's Plant Vogtle, which he says will create 3,000 construction jobs and over 800 permanent jobs upon completion. This drew applause from the crowd.
The loan guarantee also drew several anti-nuclear protesters outside, including one who was wearing a pig suit and waving a sign decrying "nuclear pork."
Foremost on the President's agenda was green technology, jobs and the Recovery Act, all of which segued into his announcement of the new Home Star program.
He did not discuss whether the program would be paid with unused Stimulus money, or whether it would require further investment of taxpayer money.
"My job is to make sure every American can find a job," the President told the crowd.
The Home Star program will include incentives for home owners to make their homes more energy efficient, upgrades like better windows, insulation and more, which would also stimulate jobs for contractors and construction workers. The improvements would also save homeowners money.
The program could make a significant difference in our national energy consumption.
According to Obama, "40 percent of the energy we use is in our homes and buildings."
The President then cracked a joke about wives making sure that contractors were hired rather than trusting DIY-minded husbands who would probably only make problems worse. This drew chuckles from the audience.
In the end, he tried to help downplay partisanship. "This isn't Democratic or Republican," he said. "It's common sense."
As he left the stage, the President came down and shook hands with several people along the front row and posed for pictures before departing out the side door.
According to reports that followed later in the day, the President made stops at Chatham Steel and Meddin Studios, with a break for lunch at Mrs. Wilkes' Boarding House on Jones Street downtown.
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