President Obama heads to Minnesota Friday where he will once again call on Congress to act in order to create jobs and help the economy. "Congress should create a Veterans Job Corps so we can put our returning heroes back to work as cops and firefighters and park rangers," Obama said at the White House Wednesday.
Obama heads to Honeywell, a Fortune 100 company that invents and manufactures technologies, where he will highlight his congressional "To Do List", focusing on areas where veterans returning from Afghanistan and Iraq can find employment. The White House says the new initiative will help up to 126,000 skilled service members obtain credentials and licenses in the manufacturing industry.
This week will be the president's first visit to Honeywell. The company boasts that 50% of their products are energy efficient, but Obama will not be talking about energy; rather the focus for his visit is veterans' jobs. And as a defense contractor, Honeywell is one such company embracing veterans upon return from duty. As part of the Obama administration's Joining Forces Initiative, Honeywell has hired 900 veterans in 2011, but the president of Honeywell has had ties to the Obama administration for years.
David Cote most recently visited with Obama in March as part of the president's Business Roundtable with other top American CEOs including JP Morgan Chase's Jamie Dimon. Cote became chairman and CEO of Honeywell 10 years ago, and was rumored as a possible replacement for the Director of the National Economic Council when Larry Summers vacated the position in 2010. Cote also traveled with Obama on his trip to India in 2010 to highlight jobs strategy and boost American exports.
"We've got to treat our heroes with the respect and dignity that they have earned," Obama said at the White House Wednesday.
But when it comes to veterans, many of them prefer Obama's challenger. In a Gallup poll out this week, 58% of veterans prefer Mitt Romney to the 34% who support Barack Obama. Gallup attributes Romney's support of veterans to his overall advantage among male voters. Mr. Obama may be looking to sway more of those veteran votes with the Friday announcement.
And following the president's event for veterans, Mr. Obama will start his June campaign fundraising, with a lunch fundraiser in Minneapolis before heading to his hometown Chicago for more campaigning. His Minnesota luncheon fundraiser costs $5,000 per ticket and the campaign expects 100 people to attend. After lunch, the president will hold two small campaign roundtables which cost $40,000 and $50,000 each according to a campaign official.
Obama will then fly to Chicago for three campaign events, including remarks at the Chicago Cultural Center where the campaign expects 350 people to attend with tickets starting at $2,500. The President also has two smaller dinner fundraisers with donors contributing $35,800 each. According to a campaign official, all proceeds from the president's fundraisers Friday will go to the Obama Victory Fund, a joint fundraising committee of Obama for America, the Democratic National Committee and several state Democratic parties.