By Mark Z. Barabak| Los Angeles Times| February 19, 2011|
President Obama paid a quick West Coast sales call for his education and high-tech agenda, dining with industry royalty at a private meeting in Silicon Valley before touring a state-of-the-art semiconductor plant in Oregon.
After visiting with a group of science fair students and peering at the image of atoms seen through an electron magnoscope, Obama renewed the theme sounded in his State of the Union address, with a nod toward his recent focus on deficit reduction.
"Even as we have to live within our means, we can't sacrifice investments in our future," Obama told several hundred guests and employees gathered at Intel Corp.'s suburbanPortland, Ore., campus Friday. "If we want the next technological breakthrough that leads to the next Intel to happen here in the United States, not in China, not in Germany, then we have to invest in America's research and technology, in the work of our scientists and engineers."
Obama has pushed for increased spending on education, high-speed Internet, high-speed rail and green technologies — even as other federal programs are slashed or frozen — as a way to create jobs and better position the U.S. for competition in an increasingly globalized economy. Republicans call "investment" a euphemism for expanding the size and heft of government and have called for drastic budget cuts.
Obama found a friendly audience in Oregon, a Democratic stronghold, and an unlikely host in Intel Chief Executive Paul Otellini, who contributed to Obama's Republican opponent,Sen. John McCain of Arizona, in 2008 and has been critical of the president's economic and healthcare policies.
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